Small Quilted Gifts, like this Mug Rug, are Perfect for Teachers

The new school year starts in a few days, and as soon as I get the kids’ supplies in order, I will start thinking about teacher gifts.

mugs rug quilt gift by vivika hansen denegre

With four kids, in this house, we are always looking for a nice gift to welcome or thank the teacher, one that the kids can make and a teacher can actually use!  One of my boys’ favorite is instant cocoa. We either make our own or buy a large container. The kids fill up a pint-sized mason jar and we cover the top with a piece of fabric. They then tie a colorful cellophane-wrapped candy to the top with a ribbon and make a cute card.

This year, with the two older children off to college, I think the younger ones and I might attempt small quilted gifts. Teachers receive a lot of mugs as gifts, so I’m thinking pretty and practical mug rug would make a good complement. It’s easy to sew and takes about an hour to put together. It’s so simple to construct, I didn’t even make a pattern.

Easy Mug Rug


  • Main color fabric (blue): cut four 3½” squares and a 1½” x 7½” strip
  • Contrast color fabric (pink): cut three 3½” squares
  • Backing fabric: cut a 9″ x 14″ rectangle
  • Batting: cut a 9″ x 14″ rectangle
  • Hand sewing needle and thread
  • Knitting needle

1. Arrange the squares in three rows. Sew the blocks together in each row, pressing the seams toward the pink fabric.

2. Sew the three rows together, making sure to match the seams and stagger the rows to create the jagged edge. Press the seams toward the center row.

3. Layer the piece for quilting by placing the batting on the bottom, the backing fabric on top of the batting, right side facing up, and the top right side facing down. Pin the three layers together.

4. Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew around the outside edge of the top, leaving a 3″ opening on one side. Be sure to make sharp turns at all inside and outside corners. Trim away the excess batting. Clip the corners and inside angles to ensure easy turning.

5. Turn the piece right side out and push the corners out with a knitting needle. Press. Whipstitch the raw opening closed, and quilt your piece as desired.

If you want to add a mug marker/hanger like I did in the original directions, create a buttonhole on one side to accept it.

A very special teacher might receive this, some cocoa, and cookies! For more stitched and quilted gifts teachers will love, be sure to get our Craft Tree Teacher Gifts and More Teacher Gifts, with more than 30 patterns combined. With these books and our other Craft Tree publications, you’ll never dread teacher gift season again.

P.S. Teachers: what’s the best gift you’ve ever received from a student or family? Non-teachers, what do you like to give? Leave your comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Small Quilted Gifts, like this Mug Rug, are Perfect for Teachers

  1. I love receiving a handmade Christmas ornament. These are wonderful reminders of all of the students you have taught over the years. I add their name and year on the back of the ornament.

  2. Hi,

    To figure out the rows, think of creating a nine-patch without two of the diagonal corners. In the image above, the first row is on the left (2 squares), with the pink square on the bottom (with the button) and the blue square on the top. The second row has three squares, pink in the middle and blue on top and bottom. Moving to the right, the third row has two squares, blue on the bottom and pink on the top. That’s three rows made up of seven squares.

    This might be called a mug-and-cookie rug, as it is a little generous. To make it smaller, just cut smaller squares–but remember to factor in the seam allowance!

  3. I love this idea. I especially like how the materials are stacked because I can use the stacking on other projects. I’m not much on quilting but your idea sparked my interest. Thank you.


  4. An art teacher that my daughter had 12 years ago saw me recently and told me that she still uses the apron that my daughter sewed for her as a Christmas gift so many years ago. Being an art teacher, it is quite messy, but 12 years of use later, she still remembers my daughter’s name. Looking forward to seeing what it really looks like after all these years of elementary school art!

    Love this pattern for mug and a snack! I think I will “gift myself” one of these for my office desk!

  5. Love the mug rug – it is so cute and really quite simple to put together.

    Over the years of my son being in school I try to think of something that I would maybe like to receive myself and go in that direction.

    As you say teachers must get hundreds of mugs over the years and sweets!!!!

  6. I love the idea of making the mug rug and adding a bag of cookies, homemade or otherwise and maybe a mug as a complete little package.. …. a nice thankyou gife