Picnic Blanket Quilt – Perfect for the Beach! {Tutorial}

A few years ago – when I was first trying my hand at quilting – I found this adorable quilt pattern. The quilt pattern is called “New Wave Quilt” – and I found it, of course, on Pinterest.

New Picnic Blanket Quilt

Back then I had the idea that I wanted to make a quilt that I could take on picnics, to the beach, and to places such as Stone Mountain. I always get SO irritated when I’m enjoying a nice day out on a picnic with my husband only to get up from our picnic blanket to have wet tooshies from the ground! I was looking for a type of picnic blanket quilt that was soft and cozy on the top… and relatively waterproof on the bottom. So, I added a few modifications to the original quilt pattern to make it my own.
Last weekend, my husband and I went on a vacation to Daytona Beach. I decided to bring this quilt along to give it a whirl on the sand. It was fabulous! The sand shook right off of the plastic backing and the top of the quilt made for a cozy place to sit and hold our stuff. It was also a lot more stylish than traditional beach towels!

I posted this tutorial on my Designing Tomorrow blog back when I first made the quilt. However, I rarely update that blog. When I say rarely… I mean I update it {maybe} once every 6 months. SO — I wanted to share this tutorial here on Wee Share so that all of you fabulous readers can check it out, too!

I followed the pattern of the “New Wave Quilt Tutorial“. However, you can use any quilt pattern that you like to make this picnic quilt.

This pattern is for a lap sized quilt. So, if you decide you want to make a larger sized picnic blanket quilt, you will need to adjust the amount of vinyl you purchase to accommodate the size difference in the quilts. However, remember that you don’t want to make your quilt larger than the width of your vinyl! Piecing together the vinyl backing will compromise the waterproof quality of the quilt! 

The only additional materials needed {beyond what is required from your pattern of choice} is about 5 yards of clear, plastic vinyl. I found mine in the Home Decor section of Joann Fabrics. I chose to get my vinyl from this section because it has the largest width available (without special ordering). You can find it for relatively cheap, and with coupons, this can cost next to nothing! When I purchased this vinyl, it was on sale for $1.99/yd!

After picking out my fabrics and completing my quilt sandwich through the “New Wave Quilt Tutorial”, that is when I put my own spin on things.


  • Cut the piece of vinyl about an inch larger than the quilt on all sides.
  • PIN THE VINYL DOWN onto the back side of the quilt sandwich AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! This will keep it from moving during the next step. I am typically a no-pin quilter. I find using sewing pins and safety pins irritating and time-consuming. HOWEVER — in order to get the vinyl sewn down evenly and tightly on all sides of this quilt, you are going to want to go PIN CRAZY!
  • Sew the vinyl to the quilt sandwich about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the quilt. Be sure that the vinyl stays tight!
  • Trim the remaining vinyl from the edge of the quilt.
  • Resume the tutorial as directed. The only thing left after attaching the vinyl is to do the binding!


I do not suggest trying to do your free-motion or quilting pattern on top of the vinyl. Why? Because then the waterproof effect of your quilt will be thrown completely out the window by the little holes that your sewing needle makes in your vinyl. Not quilting the vinyl makes for a very loose backing to the quilt but you must remember — the purpose of this quilt is not for the back to be seen and marveled at by all who look at it. It’s purpose is to make the bottom/back of your quilt waterproof and easy to clean off!

Washing Directions: I love this quilt because I easily throw it in the washer/dryer to get it clean. That means I don’t have to worry about having a nasty picnic blanket quilt! Just machine wash cold or warm – NOT HOT. Then, throw it in the dryer at the LOWEST HEAT SETTING without using “no heat”. I tried to dry mine with “no heat” before — it does absolutely nothing to the cotton fabric on the front of the quilt ~ it just stays soaking wet. So, the lowest heat setting will dry your quilt top without melting your vinyl backing!

I hope y’all enjoyed — let me know if you have any questions! I’d be happy to help!


One comment

  1. Jeanne says:

    Great tutorial, Angela.Thank you! I am ready to make a beach quilt , a large one, roomy for mom, dad and the baby.Please let me know if any quilting is done trough the backing. It seems to me from the pics tha there was something like stitch in the ditch done.
    Grateful for your reply.

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