Paper Quilt Square: Tree of Life


People in nearly every part of the world have layered and stitched together fabrics for clothing, bedding, and even armor. In America, quilts were traditionally made as a warm cover for sleeping. Patterns developed as a way of self-expression for the maker, and to use leftover bits of fabric. North Star, Double Wedding Ring, and Tree of Life are a few of the patterns deep in meaning and symbolism.

The Tree of Life quilt pattern has many meanings, including honoring generations of a family. A tree sprouts from a seed, grows, branches out, and matures. It thrives in good times and endures hardships. Often, the established tree creates a new seed to give life to the next generation. The Tree of Life pattern is a symbol of how we are connected to our ancestors as well as the future.

Trees also inspire people in different ways. To some, they represent growing up, having roots in the ground, a place to build a home, something safe to hold onto during a storm, or relief from the hot sun.

What do trees make you to think about?
Who are the people most important to you?
Who makes you smile?
Who warms your heart?
Who challenges you and makes you stronger?
They are your Tree of Life.

Print Template


What You’ll Need

    • Paper
    • Markers or crayons
    • Scissors
    • Computer printer


Step One

Print out the Tree of Life Template as many times as you wish.

No Printer? No Problem.

  • Right click or tap and hold on the image
  • When prompted, download the image or save it to your photos
  • Open your painting app of choice and import the new coloring page

Step Two

Color each template and cut each tree of life block out.

Step Three

Cut out blank paper squares the same size and decorate them with the names of the people most important to you or any messages you wish to send.

Step Four

Assemble the squares on a flat surface, like a table, refrigerator or window to create and share your paper quilt celebration!


After you have created your Tree of Life Paper Quilt, take a picture and share it on social media with the hashtag #NelsonAtkinsAtHome. We want to see your creations!