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Basics Of Paper Quilling A Traditional Craft

Updated on December 2, 2015

Basics Of Paper Quilling


Quilling is achieved by rolling or coiling narrow paper strips, and pinching and curving them into various forms. You can quill enchanting miniature plants and flowers, dangling earrings, or the more innovative and detailed 3-D figures and wall-sized museum installations, depending on your imagination. Just roll, scroll, and fringe your way to an exquisite design.

This craft dates back centuries when feather and porcupine quills were used to wind the coils. During the Medieval period and the Renaissance phase, monks and nuns would roll bits of gold-gilded paper, trimmed during the bookmaking process and use them to decorate religious objects. It later on became a pastime of the 18th and 19th-century young ladies. With colonization, the practice crossed the Atlantic, and quilling of candle sconces and trays came into vogue.

Requirements For Quilling

  1. Quilling paper: Pre-cut quilling paper strips are available in a myriad of colors at most well-known art and craft stores. You can even cut your own strips using a sheet of printing paper and paper cutter. The length and size of the paper will determine the final look of your project.
  2. Quilling tool with which to roll the paper: Two basic types of tools - a needle and a slotted tool are required for the craftwork. The slotted tool is recommended for the beginners since it is easier to roll paper with it. But it tends to crease the paper strips. Therefore, those who have honed the technique may prefer the needle tool. As a beginner, you can even go for a bamboo skewer, a rounded toothpick or even a cake tester, and use them to roll the paper strips.
  3. Glue: This is another essential item on the list.
  4. A pair of tweezers to handle the quilled pieces
  5. A circle sized ruler or a circle template

Quilling Shapes


Procedure To Make A Basic Tight Coil

  1. Insert one end of the craft paper strip into the slot of the quilling tool.
  2. Begin turning the tool towards you in an anti-clockwise direction (against the clock) using your right hand, wrapping the paper strip into an even plug. Guard the tip of the tool with the left thumb or index to prevent the coiled strips from slipping off the tool. Use the other fingers to guide the paper strip that it rolls uniformly.
  3. When done, turn the slotted tool a quarter turn away from you (clockwise) and pull the coil off the tool that it comes out neatly. Do not pull out the tool first, as this will open the coil.
  4. Glue the free end of the paper strip and press it onto the coil with a pair of forceps or your finger, and let it dry.

To Make Loose Coils And Other Basic Shapes

The real art of Quilling shows up when you combine a variety to shapes to create unique decorative pieces and projects.

  1. Loose coil: Roll a strip of quilling paper, as mentioned above. Release the coil immediately as you pull it out of the tool. The tight coil will unravel and relax into a loose coil. Then apply glue to secure the loose end, as above.
  2. Large coil: Use a pencil for winding the paper strip. Glue the coil before taking it off the pencil.
  3. Eye: Roll and glue a loose coil. Pinch on opposite sides of the coil.
  4. Petal: Make a loose coil. Pinch on one side of it and curl the point in one direction.
  5. Leaf: Pinch a loose coil on opposite sides, and curl the two points in opposite directions.
  6. V-scroll: Pinch the paper strip in the middle, and wind each end away from the crease.
  7. S-scroll: Roll one end of the paper strip just past center. Release and turn it, then roll the other end just past the center and release it.

Varieties Of Quilling Paper

The quilled motifs can be used to decorate gift boxes, eggs, and pictures.

  • Graduated paper: The edges of this craft paper are darker in color that gradually fades to white. The color shades provide an exquisite and unique look.
  • Acid-free paper: This is used for decorating photo frames and making scrapbooks.
  • Two-tone paper: This is another shaded variety with the darker color on one side of the paper strip and comparatively lighter shade on the other.


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    • Paramita Mallik profile image


      2 years ago from KOLKATA,WEST BENGAL

      wow very creative,will surely try this,thanks for sharing :)


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