Sunday, January 30, 2011

Penrose Tiles

Here are some basic directions and links to templates and patterns that I've uploaded to Google docs. They are pdf files created by my scanner.

There are a few things to keep in mind when making a quilt from these tiles. First, there are only two blocks. They are diamond shaped blocks with two angles. The fat tile has 72 and 108 degree angles. The skinny tile has 36 and 144 degree angles. The sides are all equal. To figure out how to arrange the tiles, you can either use one of my patterns, or go to the wikipedia page on Penrose tiles and learn how they behave. They can only be arranged in specific ways if they are to completely fill out an area.

Templates for the tiles (pdf files on Google docs):

Three patterns:

Basic Penrose pattern (the one I used for the small stars)

Once the arrangement is determined, there are two rules for sewing the tiles together. The first rule is to only stitch from start to end of each edge. Do not stitch past the start or end into the seam allowance. For this reason, it is sometimes actually easier to hand piece these patterns, especially when smaller templates are used. Each edge has to be stitched separately - you cannot go from one edge to another on a machine.

The second rule is that all edges that meet at a point have to be pressed in the same direction - either clockwise or counterclockwise. This means that the edges at the adjacent points are all pressed in the opposite direction. The result is that each tile will have two edges pressed in and two pressed out. This is the only way to get these creatures to lie flat! Here is a picture of the back of a small Penrose tiling that I stitched together a long time ago. I photocopied the back and have scanned it to post here. The construction technique is similar to that of the tumbling blocks pattern.


  1. Just stumbled on your blog while searching for Penrose templates, and I see you're doing the Color Palette challenge this year too - how fun to find someone whose mind is on the same pathways! I love your work! Any chance you have ever tracked down sturdy thick plastic templates that would last a while?

  2. Discovered your blog searching for penrose tiles templates. Yours are wonderful! I am considering using EPP technique to stitch them together.
    Thank you for posting them!