Cheater Quilt Lesson Two: Assembling your color collages

NOV 19, 2015 updated Jun 1, 2021

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

It is time to put together the patchwork squares! We are going to use the collage tool at PicMonkey to create our patchwork blocks. 

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Go to and click on the Collage button that’s at the top right. As soon as you click it will take you to your hard drive to find the photos you want to include in your collage. I selected everything in my “Green” folder and clicked Open.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Set up the template.

The first thing you want to do is set up the template for your patchwork block. On the far left hand side there are several tools. Choose the one that looks like stacked squares called “Layout”. When you switch to the Layout tool, you can choose from many many templates for your collage. For this design we want “Square Deal” and the grid option on the far right side, which is 5×5 squares.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

The template layout defaults to having a little bit of space between each of the photos in the grid. We want the photos to touch, so to eliminate that space, switch to the Layout Tool (the icon looks like a paint palette) and move the slider at Spacing to be 0.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Now it’s time for the fun part – adding the photos! I actually like to start by letting PicMonkey randomly drop them into the template for me. At the top center of the window you will see a button that says AutoFill. Click and it will randomly fill the collage with the photos you already uploaded.

Adjust individual photos.

In the collage, if you hover over an individual photo with your mouse you will see three things pop up.

  • Compass/Multi arrow. If you click and drag when you see the multi arrow, you can move the photo around inside the square frame. This lets you center the image or push something outside of edges of the square.
  • If you want to zoom in and have something more prominent, click the photo you want to work with and click the Edit button. A tool window will pop up and you can use the Size slider to adjust the zoom.
  • The “x” lets you remove this photo from the collage. Here’s one example. For this photo of my sister, I centered her in the frame and then zoomed in so more of her green bag and t-shirt were filling the photo

Add the photos.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Balance your collage.

The next step is to look at your collage as a whole. Some of your photos will be darker and some will be lighter. Things like strong horizontal lines or circles always jump out to me. Your goal is to spread those things evenly across the block. Balance the darks and lights. Move similar shapes or textures away from each other. You might even need to swap out photos entirely because they are not playing well with the others.

  • To move a photo, click on any photo and drag it all the way to a new square in the template. That will swap the positions of those two photos (the one you are dragging and the one at that location.)
  • To delete a photo, click the X.
  • To add a different photo, switch to the Images tool (left side, looks like a mountain) and you can drag anything from the photo list to the collage. The checkmark means it’s a photo you’ve already used.
  • To add a new photo, click the Open Photos button and find it on your hard drive. Here is my green collage when I finished balancing and adjusting everything.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Make a design choice: directional or not-directional?

The last design choice is whether you want your quilt to have a directional print or a nondirectional print. Directional means that all of your photos will face upright when you are looking at the collage. This is great for quilts that will hang on the wall because you will lay out everything so it’s right-side-up. Non-directional means you want your photos to face all different directions so no matter which way you look at it, there are prints that are going each way. This is great for quilts you use and cuddle with because they don’t have a right way up. If you want a directional print, you are done with your collage right now. If you want a nondirectional print, you need to do some rotating. About half of my photos don’t really have a direction and I can ignore those.

For the rest of the photos, the ones that definitely have a right and wrong side up, think of your grid like a sudoku puzzle. In every row and every column of your grid, you should have only 1 photo that goes each direction (right-side up, up-side down, facing right and left). To rotate an image, click to select it and then click the Edit button. Click the circular arrows to rotate. To filter or not to filter? I didn’t add any effect filters to my rainbow patches, but the variations that I showed you in the last lesson each had a different filter applied. You can add a filter to each photo, but I think it makes it more cohesive to add a filter to the entire finished collage at this step. To add a filter, click the Edit button at the top of the window. You won’t be able to move or resize anything in your collage after this, so make sure you are happy with it. Then click Open in Editor.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Click the Filters tool on the left that looks like a magic wand. This will show you all of the available filters. For the variations I showed you back in the last lesson I used the Gritty, Warhol and Focal B&W filters to get those three effects.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-longSave it!

The last step is to save your collage. The save button is at the top left.

Cheater Quilt Design-a-long

Give your collage a name. I called mine GreenCollage.jpg. Then go just below where it says Dimensions and click Change. You are going to set the size of this patchwork block right now while you are saving it, so it will be just the size you need when you assemble the whole cheater quilt design. This will make it really easy to do the layout. You want each 5×5 photo block to be 12 inches square when it is printed. 12 inches x 150 pixels/dots per inch (the resolution for Spoonflower’s printers) equals 1800 pixels. So you need to change the dimensions to 1800 x 1800 pixels, by typing this in the boxes. Now when it is printed, it will be exactly 12 x 12 inches. Don’t forget to click the Save to my Computer button.


Make and save 6 photo patchwork collages.


Pick your favorite collage and share it with us! Be sure to tag it #SpoonChallenge on your social media platform of choice so everyone can see it.

Happy creating!


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