★ Quilling for Beginners | How to Quill Paper Flowers, Letters and Much More! ★
Quilling Tutorials & Creative Ideas
Quilling is an intricate paper craft requiring patience, creativity and an eye for detail. Paper strips are coiled and spiralled in a variety of ways to create beautiful 3D art. Quilling is a craft that has been around for hundreds of years and is an inexpensive hobby to take up. Take a look at the photos below to see what amazing things can be achieved.
On this page I have listed what you need to get started, plus lessons in technique for beginners and a wealth of tutorials and projects to try. The idea of quilling is very simple, but it's practice which elevates the quality of your creations and makes them look neat and professional.
I hope you find this resource useful and inspiring :)
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Tools & Materials
What You Need For Quilling
- A slotted curling tool; this tool is vital and is used to curl paper strips into the coils and shapes that make up quilling patterns. You can buy one or make your own tool (see below on this page to see how to make one from a needle or from a toothpick).
- Quilling paper strips; the most common width of strip is 1/8" and you can either buy the strips pre-made or you can make them yourself. Pre-made strips will be completely uniform and consistent so will be easier to work with.
- Glue; it's best to use a good quality white tacky glue and it must dry clear so as not to ruin the look of your work.
In addition to the above, the following are tools which will be useful but aren't absolutely necessary:
- A workboard; this is a surface that you produce your quilling designs on. You can make your own with polystyrene, cork or corrugated cardboard, or you can buy one. If you cover the workboard in a thin piece of plastic sheet or wax paper (held onto the board with pins), you can keep glue off your board and prevent your quilling getting stuck to the board.
- Tweezers; good for picking up and positioning small quilled pieces.
- Toothpicks; good for applying small amounts of glue accurately.
- Straight pins; great for holding your quilled scrolls and coils in place on the workboard, and for use with the 'husking' technique (see below).
- Ruler; to measure paper strip lengths according to the pattern/instructions.
What is Husking?
Husking is a technique where you stick pins into your workboard in a particular arrangement, then paper strips are wrapped around the pins in a specific order to create the shape/pattern you want. This is necessary for intricate patterns, and is perfect when you want to recreate the exact same shape over and over again (such as with petals).
Quilling Kit, Paper Strips, Foam Board & More
If you're just starting out, a quilling kit contains everything you need to get started and so is probably the best value option for beginners. On top of that I've listed paper strips and quilling tools which are the most vital products needed for this hobby, plus there is a very handy foam shaping board and a fun mold for making 3D paper domes. I've picked the products with the highest rated reviews so you know you'll be getting the best:
Beginner's Lessons, Techniques & Basic Shapes
- Quilling 101
Including how to make a coiled heart pendant.
- Beginner's Guide
A book excerpt on how to start out in this craft.
- How to Use a Toothpick
How to make your own paper strips and use a toothpick to coil them.
- DIY Quilling Tool
From a wine bottle cork and a needle.
- Collection of the Basics
Lots of helpful tips and basic shapes to try.
- Quilling Instructions
A very good display of the shapes you can try to begin with.
- Fringed Flowers
Very pretty embellishments made by making cuts in the paper strips.
- A Breakdown of the Basic Shapes
Lots of the main shapes used in quilling broken down into photo step-by-steps.
- Multi Strip Scrolls
Fancy style of scrolls using different coloured paper strips.
- Martha Stewart Guide
Lessons on the basics, plus links to related projects.
- Techniques, Leaves, Flowers & More
Amazing collection of instructions covering the basics as well as specific shapes.
Click on 'History of Quilling' for information on this pin based technique.
A few sets of instructions on how to go about quilling letters and words.
- DIY Simple Paper Frame
Make your own frame for your work, to give a nice finish.
- Beveled Frame Template
Another frame for your work; this time with an angled interior.
Top-Rated Quilling Books
I have a major weakness for craft books, and the reason is that they are just so inspiring, and I find it highly useful to have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. Here are some of the highest rated quilling books available:
A gorgeous papercrafting resource which has step-by-step instructions for quilling techniques including plenty on 3D quilling. It also walks you through the tools and materials you need to start.
Perfect for beginners, this thorough book contains many fun patterns and ideas... and it even includes paper strips and a quilling tool.
Learn how to make your own 3D characters, such as fairies and angels, with this expert guide.
This pretty book covers the basics of classic quilling, with many filigree shapes explained and some lovely card and decorative projects inside. For beginners and more advanced quillers alike.
5-star rated book which focusses on coiling paper into many varieties of flower. There are 35 floral projects inside the book, as well as lessons on the basics of this craft.
Quilling Projects to Try
- Butterfly in a Jar
Beautiful Monarch butterfly and flowers.
- Easter Greeting Card
With a quilled egg and heart.
- Snowflake Ornament
Lovely design for a Christmas tree ornament.
- Faux Iron Gate
Very effective way of reusing toilet roll tubes!
- Papercraft Christmas Cards
Creative greeting cards and tags with quilled present boxes.
- Monogram Letter
How to mark out a letter outline and fill with quilled shapes.
- DIY Place Cards
Flower and leaf design for wedding favor boxes and cards.
- Fringed Flower Gift Topper
Giant quilled flower for making your presents stand out.
- Double Fringed Flowers
A step up in skill from the single fringed flowers.
- Free-Standing Paisley Monogram
Create a quilled cardboard letter decoration.
- Peacock Earrings
Pretty blue stud earrings with sparkly gems and glitter.
Video Quilling Lessons
Fruits of the Forest
More Craft Tutorials & How-Tos
- Floral Valentine's Day Card
Quill red rose flowers for this romantic card.
- Quilled Ladybird Rings
I like the idea for the grass too, with wire embedded in the paper for strength.
- Romantic Script
A tutorial on writing in swirly font.
- Folded Roses
Perfect for Valentine's day embellishments.
- White Husking Flower
With a delicate design within each petal.
- Bobble Flowers
Flowers made up of lots of individual coils, with long stems.
- How to Quill Apples
These would be great toppers for teacher's cards.
- Framed Cherry Blossoms
Tiny cherry blossom blooms framed together with quilled birds.
- 3D Wedding Cake
With a string of tiny roses.
- Ombre Stud Earrings
Paper earrings with rhinestones and glitter.
Flower Garden Shadowbox
Awesome Quilling Examples & Creative Things to Make
- ArtLife Tutorials
Fantastic quilling instructions including beaded honeycomb and husking.
- Christmas Ornaments, Snowflakes & More
A wonderful collection of clear quilling step-by-steps.
- Veska Abad Paper Sculpture
Cool coiled sculpture you could try to replicate.
- Using Magazine Pages
Recycle magazines to create your own paper strips.
- Manuela Koosch Blog
Interesting ideas and a wealth of inspiration.
- Anatomical Cross-Sections
These might be my favorite examples - they're brilliantly detailed!
- Embellished Wooden Letter
Creative monogram project to display in your home.
- Glittered Heart Ornament
Heart-shape covered in quilled scrolls.
How to Outline Letters & Shapes
What You Will Need:
* A piece of paper for the outline; regular weight paper would be fine for this as long as it is smooth not textured, and you can choose whatever color you like
* Craft knife/rotary cutter and a cutting mat OR small/fine scissors
* A piece of paper for the backing; You can use a regular weight paper for this too, but I would suggest that you use a heavier weight paper instead, or perhaps thin card for more support. This will depend, however, on whether or not you have a printer that can handle printing on heavy paper or thin card.
* Bone folder (optional)
* Steel ruler
* Fine paintbrush (a cheap one you don't mind damaging)
* Glue that dries clear (e.g. Mod Podge, Aleene's tacky glue, PVA)
* An outline of the letter or other shape you wish to create; This can be created on the computer and printed out, or you can draw it freehand in pencil on the piece of backing paper/thin card. Either way, the outline should be a feint and thin line so that it won't be visible on your finished work.
- Use your ruler and craft knife/cutter to cut strips from your piece of paper. These strips should be 1/4" wide all of the way along, and you should cut out as many as you will need to go all of the way around your letter.
- Start at one corner of your outline (if your letter doesn't have a corner, start at the bottom rather than the top) and lay one paper strip along the line, and mark lightly with a pencil where the first fold will need to be. Accuracy is key here.
- Carefully fold the paper where you have marked, and then check it against the outline again to make sure it's correct before you continue. If you have a bone folder you can use this (along with a ruler) to score a perfectly straight line before you fold, and then use the bone folder to rub along the fold to make it a very crisp and clean fold. If you don't have a bone folder, a steel ruler can help you make the neat folds instead.
If you get a fold wrong it would be best to start again because a messy fold will ruin the look of your quilling work.
- If you reach the end of a paper strip before you have finished the outline, cut the strip so that it finishes at one corner rather than in the middle of a straight section. This will look neater. Then you can take your second paper strip and continue on from that corner.
- Do this until you complete the outline, finishing exactly where you started.
- Use a fine paintbrush to apply a small amount of glue along the outline where your first paper strip will go. Only add the glue just inside the printed line; don't go outside the line if you can.
- Carefully place the first paper strip in position so it covers the printed line. You don't want that or the glue showing on the outside.
- Do the same for any other paper strips and leave to dry.
- That's it! You can now add paper swirls and other quilling designs if you wish.
Ideas & Inspiration
- Starry Night
Recreate famous artworks with quilling, with great results.
- Calligraphic Alphabet
Swirly alphabet display.
- Papercraft Photo
A lovely Autumn day - some parts papercut, some parts quilled.
- Ruffled Paper Strips
Add texture with a crimping tool.
- Quilled Jewelry on Pinterest
Lots of images of jewellery made by quilling, to give you plenty of ideas.
- Insect Designs
Photos showing how to create many insects using quilled shapes.
- Crafting Creatures
I especially like the Mickey Mouse quilling design.
- Artful Ladies
Portraits of women with quilled embellishments.
- Sabeena Karnik
An interview with the artist plus beautiful examples of typography.
- Quilled Map
Fantastic world map by Amber Rousse, complete with mountains.
- Jackie Huang
I particularly like the idea of putting cut-out words on top of the quilling.
Vase Decorated With Quilling
Amazing Quilling Photo Galleries
- All Things Paper
A frequently updated treasure trove of quilled creations and artist interviews.
- Quilly Nilly
Lots of great examples, especially of flowers.
- Yulia Brodskaya
Absolutely stunning works of art by this top quilling artist.
- Kathleen Usova
So colourful and detailed, these require a lot of skill and patience.
- Lisa Nilsson
Amazing quilled anatomy series.
- Inspiring Typography
Large photos of each letter of the alphabet quilled in a unique way.
- Heart Stealer Quilling
A blog full of brilliant quilling examples.
- Giant Quilling Installation
An art installation made with just giant paper strips.
- Flickr Photo Gallery
A great way to view examples of work by both amateurs and experts.
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