Hidden Wells Quilt Block made with 4 strips

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One of my favorite quilt blocks is the Hidden Wells block when made with 4 strips of fabric that are each cut 2½ by the width of the fabric. Batiks are a lot of fun to use for this design.

Hidden Wells Block made with 4 strips

How to make Hidden Wells quilt block with strips

Please note that the finished blocks will have bias edges and be very stretchy. Handle your blocks carefully, you can also starch your fabric to help with this.

The Hidden Wells block was originally developed by Mary Ellen Hopkins in 1989. She made the block many different ways using different amounts of fabric strips.

I had some purples and greens that I thought might go well together, take a look.

Creating the first block

  • Cut 4 – 2½” strips width of fabric
  • Sew them together with a ¼” seam allowance
  • Press the seams and measure the width which should be 8½”
  • Cut 8½” x 8½” squares
4 strip Hidden Wells quilt block in purples and greens
block with 4 colors

It is fun to pick the colors and see how the block turns out, sometimes I like it….other times I don’t. You can see in the blocks above that the colors kind of blend together.

Creating the next block

Once you have sewn the strips together and cut them into squares you’ll lay one block right side up and then place another block right side down on top of it. Pin and then stitch all around the sides with a ¼” seam allowance.

NOTE: Use the same orientation for all of your blocks, example – the green strip is at the bottom of the block that is right side up. The green strip is on the right side and when place right side down, it is on the left side.

Stitch around the entire block

Cutting the block

I decided to make more blocks using different hues. I like these better.

Use a ruler and cut the block diagonally into 4 pieces. You’ll want to cut all of the blocks the same way.

How to make the hidden wells quilt block 4 steps

I think Mr. Mickey is getting into the picture thing….or he just likes sitting on my batiks! Isn’t he cute!

Mickey the poodle standing on quilt blocks

The first selection of fabrics didn’t seem to work very well so I made two complete blocks and then mixed the diagonal sections to make completely different colors of blocks. 

If you cut strips the width of your fabric for the blocks, you should be able to cut 4 blocks from the strips.

Here are some ideas of what the blocks could look like.

How to sew the Hidden Wells quilt block with 4 strips

These were the variations that I chose to keep.

How to sew the Hidden Wells quilt block with 4 strips

Sorry to switch fabrics on you, some of the photos didn’t turn out.

When I dug in my stash for these batik strips, some of them weren’t the full width. I really like the colors in this block but as you can see, I only have enough fabric to make one block.

I think I’ll make a little placemat or something and add the leftover fabrics as a border otherwise this will become another orphan block. What do you think of that?

How to sew the Hidden Wells quilt block with 4 strips leftover fabric

You can find the original tutorial which is now correct here – Hidden Wells quilt block tutorial

Are you wondering what this block would look like in other colors? I have several other tutorials using this block that you might enjoy.

Easy to make Hidden Wells quilt block using 4 strips of fabric following this easy tutorial"
Connie with her dogs

About Connie

Hi, I’m Connie Kresin Campbell, the quilter, writer, and photographer behind Freemotion By the River. I enjoy inspiring others with my quilt tutorials and patterns. You’ll also see my sweet adopted dogs from time to time.

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  1. Deb O’Brien says:

    I love the look of the Hidden Well block and I really would like to make it. I am new to quilting, I would like to make a 12 inch block instead of the size of this one. So would I cut strips 3” by 20” to get a 12 inch block? I would appreciate if you could help me, I just don’t want to waste my material.
    Thank you,

    1. Marguerite Brown says:

      Deb, First of all, at the risk of raining on Connie’s parade…While these instructions can create a lovely quilt, they do not interpret Mary Ellen Hopkins’ original quilt correctly. Her “foot-stomping rules” require that you use 5-7 fabrics, and cut them in different widths. Assuming that you want to create the quilt featured here, I suggest that you work with 3″ strips but not be overly concerned with producing exactly 12″ blocks. I recently completed a ‘hidden wells’ quilt with 9″ unfinished squares cut from the strip sets, and the unfinished large blocks measured 11 1/2″….
      Keep in mind that you are in charge of your quilt! Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment!

  2. Horton Linda says:

    I like many of your patterns and appreciate the offer of free PDFs. I have signed onto your site. I don’t get why every time I pick additional PDFs I’m asked to subscribe again. And there are WAY too many pop up ads. I realize that’s probably supporting your site to a degree but every time I want to look at another offer here come the ads and subscribe requests. Sorry to fuss but there it is. Your patterns are lovely though.

    1. Hi Linda, you can always go to my Resource Library and download the free pdfs instead of signing up each time. I always have the password at the bottom of each newsletter I send out. Also, you will never get subscribed more than once.

  3. Sandra Ferguson says:

    Need to know how much material to bUy

  4. Michelle Powar says:

    The Red table topper is beautiful and I will make it. I Love the colors and the layout of the block’s. You Rock. You are truly blessed to work with Batiks. I loved Mr. Mickey he is so cute. . Please keep making beautiful quilts.

    1. Thanks so much Michelle and I would love to see it when done! This is such a fun block to make.

      1. Greetings!
        I am wondering how this pattern would look using a random pick of a large number of fabrics (scrappy, but all same color family). Would there be problems laying out the blocks so they would merge into a pattern, or would the Hidden Wells pattern be lost? (Hope I explained it okay)… thanks!

  5. Kathleen McCormick says:

    I love this block. I have done it a few times, and yes, I agree with so many… it may be time to revisit.

  6. I sewed this block so many years ago and really liked the results. I think it is time to revisit it. Thanks for posting it. Your purples are so pretty.

  7. Vicki in MN says:

    Love those pretty purple blocks, thanks for the tutorial Connie!

  8. Thanks for revisiting & sharing this pattern .. somehow l missed it first go around. Will be giving it a try soon … hopefully. Love that Mickey’s taking an interest in quilting .. he makes a great mascot. 🙂

  9. That really is a pretty block, Connie. I think it’s a good project for “in between” sewing when I’m not feeling iike tackling anything bigger. Then I can just save them up until I have enough to do something. Mickey is looking quite adorable.