How to Sew a Bear Paw Quilt Block – Free Tutorial

Bear Paw Quilt Block by Tara Reed


The bear paw block is an interesting block but not a “let’s just whip this up in no time!” kind of block. With the number of pieces and the number of Half Square Triangles (HST) you have to trim, I’d say it’s an intermediate level block and definitely one that requires a little patience. BUT the joy in in the journey right?

This tutorial includes a chart with measurements to make 6″ or 12″ blocks (6½” or 12½” unfinished / aka before you sew the block into a project) depending on your needs.  Ready to get stared?

Seeing the Big Picture Before You Sew

Understanding how the block goes together will make all the cuts and stitching make more sense.

The Bear Paw Quilt Block is really a block made up of 4 paw print blocks (each rotated 90 degrees), a center square and sashing – or rectangles – separating the main paw prints.

You can see the main Paw Print section (figure 1) below and then how it will all come together. (figure 2)

The key to success with the Bear Paw is to choose fabrics with good contrast – either in color or shade (dark and light) so all the work you will put into creating it shows!

Free Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 1
Free Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 2

Preparing your Fabric Pieces

Sew using scant ¼″ seam allowances and press towards the darker fabric when construction the Bear Paw quilt block.

6 in Bear Paw Block Cutting directions

Decide what size block you want to create and cut your fabric according to the Chart below.

12 in Bear Paw Block Cutting directions

STEP 1: Create 4 half-square triangles (HST)

You will need SIXTEEN (yes -16!) HSTs to create your Bear Paw block.

  • Place the FABRIC 1 and FABRIC 2 squares – the sizes you cut 8 of each print – right sides together.
  • Draw a line diagonally on one square. (figure 1)
  • Stitch ¼″ to each side of the line. (figure 2)
figure 1
Half Square Triangle Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 2
  • Cut on the diagonal line you drew originally. (figure 3)
  • Press towards the darker color fabric.
  • Trim your HST to measure 1⅜″ for the 6″ block, 2¼″ for the 12″ block. (figure 4)
Half Square Triangle Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 3
Half Square Triangle Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 4

STEP 2: Assemble Half Square Units

Next you will join two HST squares to create the claws. Pay close attention to the direction when assembling – the top claws are put together differently than the side claws. You will create (4) of each as shown below. (figure 5)

TIP: Place your squares in the direction they need to be then
clip the edges to sew before moving to your sewing machine –
this will save using your seam ripper! (figure 6)

Half Square Triangle Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 5
Half Square Triangle Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 6

STEP 3: Assemble the Bear Paw Section

Free Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 7

SEW left sections to right sections, then top row to the bottom to create the Bear Claw section. (figure 7)

Repeat to create 4 sections.

STEP 4: Assemble the Bear Paw Block

Free Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial by Tara Reed
figure 8

To assemble your Bear Paw Block – lay the pieces on your table as shown.  (figure 8)

Sew each row together and press seams.

Sew the three rows together.


Be sure to save it to Pinterest and follow me for more ideas and resources for sewing, crafting and creative living.

If you make this or other projects and post on Instagram, be sure to tag me (@artisttarareed). Follow my YouTube channel for new sewing projects and tips every week.

🐻 Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!


More Quilt Block Tutorials >

Bee’s Life fabric and projects >


9 responses to “How to Sew a Bear Paw Quilt Block – Free Tutorial”

  1. kirsten Merker Avatar
    kirsten Merker

    Can I print this?

    1. Tara Reed Avatar
      Tara Reed


    2. Awesome!

  2. Shelley Avatar

    Are your block sizes shown finished size or unfinished size

    1. Tara Reed Avatar
      Tara Reed

      unfinished – they will be the size noted when you sew them to other blocks or borders.

  3. Thank you so much for you outstanding tutorial. It was extremely helpful with the way you broke down step by step. I like the idea that you did it for three different size blocks thank you
    how can I print these instructions?
    I now would like to make a few of your blocks.
    Have a great day

    1. I don’t have this as a pdf but if you are on the post you can just hit control or command + P to print to your printer.

  4. Melissa Avatar

    How is this a 12” block when finished? I followed instructions and I’m 14”, if I take border off then it’s 12” is that how?

    1. I’m not sure what happened. I tested this recently and it should sew to 12½” x 12½” unfinished. I’ll be doing a video in the next few weeks if all goes according to plan…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.