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Quilling Tips And Ideas

Updated on April 24, 2020
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Paper crafting has been my passion since I was a child. I love sharing paper projects, ideas and products. Get more from all your paper .


Quilling Basics

Quilling is an art form that involves rolling thin strips of paper ( usually 1/8th of an inch wide) around a needle or quilling tool. The rolls of paper are glued to keep their shape. These rolls can either be tight or loose depending on their use.

The rolled papers are then pinched and and arranged to create shapes and images. The shapes are called coils. The coils are then used to make a quilling pattern.

Most of these coils are either open or closed coils. A closed coil is rolled very tightly while an open coil is rolled more loosely.

A quilling tool is helpful for beginners, But more experienced quillers tend to use needles and toothpicks to create their rolls.Coils can be pinched into shapes like squares, teardrops, diamonds and triangles.Closed coils can be pushed upwards to create a peg. Pegs create another dimension to quilling.

The most basic tool is the quilling needle. It is either a slotted tool or a closed needle tool. The slotted tool is easier to work with, but leaves a larger hole than the needle tool. However, the slotted tool is easier to work with than the needle, especially for beginners.

What Can You Make With Your Quills

There are so many projects that you can make with quilling. Start by thinking of greeting cards and wall hangings or decor. But it goes farther than that. You can make jewelery, coasters, boxes, hair ornaments and holiday ornaments. The options are endless. You can search Pinterest and the internet to create endless ideas.

How To Get Started Quilling

Once you have your basic tools, the best way to get started is to practice making basic coils.

Basic Quilling Coils

Free tutorial and coil chart to help you practice your quilling coils, Great basic tutorial
Free tutorial and coil chart to help you practice your quilling coils, Great basic tutorial | Source

Print A Coil Guide

Go to your favorite browser. In the browser search line request a coil guide.Press images. Print the guides that you want. These are perfect for beginners. As you progress, you will want to learn new coils and you get get more ideas and guides. Each image will also have a connection to a web page where you can get tutorials on coils.

Basic Quilling Tools That You Need

There are actually not a lot of basic tools that you need to get started. To actually get going in this art all you need are:

  • Colored quilling strips-Comes in all kinds of solid colors, These are thin strips of paper used to create quilling shapes.
  • Quilling slotted needle- This is a must have tool that enables you to create your loose or tight coils. The tool has a thick slotted need within a comfortable handle. The slot is where you place and start your coil and wind it into the shape that you need.
  • Precision tool glue applicator- This is a little plastic bottle with a precision tip that enables you to apply the right amount of glue at the end of your quilled piece. This is a must have for every quiller. It helps you create perfect quills every time.
  • Circle sizer board- This is a board that has precise circles in different sizes. This helps you create the circles in just the right sizes for your patterns. There are other boards that help you create circles and other shapes too.
  • Tweezers-There are different kinds of tweezers that you can get. The tweezer is used pick out the loose coils from the sizer board and keep the shape that you have created. You could use an eyebrow tweezer, but they are awkward to handle. I prefer a nice long handled rweezer with long tipped ends.

Additional Tools For You To Consider

These tools take you to the next level in your quilling experience:

  • Specialty quilling papers like ombre, dual tones, metallic and metallic edges, ect.
  • Border Buddy-The Border Buddy is a set of three tools. It has a square shape, a round and a trioangle shape. It makes a hollow quilled shape that is ofetn used in making jewelry.
  • Curling Coach-Helps you make tight coils. The quilling tool is inserted through the tool. Helps you make flat tight precise coils.
  • Fringing scissors- These scissors are a specialized scissors that have multiple blades, usually 4-5 sets. They are used to fringe the edges of flowers.
  • Quilling needle- This is another tool that is used to wind coils. It does not have a slot at the tip.Unlike the slotted needle, it makes a tighter center that does not have a hole in the center.It takes a little more patience to use this tool.
  • Quilling comb-Use for some specific techniques to make fringed flowers
  • Quilling mould-These are plastic moulds that have domes in different sizes. They form a dome of quilled paper to make jewelry and other projects.
  • Crimper- These are two rotating plastic pieces that have protrusions. The paper is rolled between the tool and you get a crimped effect.

Quilling Papers

  • Quilling paper strips are cut in different widths. The most common strip is 1/8 of an inch.Widths of 1/16 of an inch are used most often for fine details. Wider strips, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/8 inch, are used primarily for fringed flowers and 3D sculpting.
  • You can cut your own strips of paper. But each strip must be very precise and that may be difficult. If your strips are not cut at the right width every time, your project will be sloppy. To save time and frustration, it is easier to buy the stripes than try to make them.
  • When you roll coils, the amount of tension that you place when you are rolling the coil, effects how big the coil will be and /or how much it will loosen when you let go.

Precision Glue Tips

You can purchase precision glue tip bottles and load your favorite glues, They are inexpensive, but make your quilling experience faster and easier.
You can purchase precision glue tip bottles and load your favorite glues, They are inexpensive, but make your quilling experience faster and easier.

Quilling Glue Tips And Ideas

From the moment that you get started in quilling, the one thing that you need from day one, is a fine tipped bottle for your glue. It makes it so much easier to get just the right amount of glue on the edge of your coils. Those blobs of glue that you would get from a regular bottle just makes for a messy project and messy finger tips. Keep a needle or coursage pin handy in case you need to clear your tip.

Technically, any glue that you can use for paper crafts can be used for quilling.

Tacky Glue

Tacky glue is one option for quilling, but it is a little more expensive that white craft PVA glue. It does dry faster that other glues. But some tacky glues stay tacky even long after they are applied. That means that dust and other things might attach to the surface.

Craft Glue

Lots of folks like to use PVA white craft glues for quilling. Try using a quality white glue to get the best results.

Keep Your Fingers Clean

Always keep a tissue or a damp paper towel handy to wipe your fingers. Wipe often. If you leave glue on your finger tips. your coils and pieces will stick to your fingers and potentially rip.

Quilling Glue Tips

  • Avoid Glue Puddles-Make a flat line of glue to dip the side of your coil or quilling line. Use your twezzers to dip the coil or line into the glue. If you dip into a puddle , you are going to get excess glue which will be a mess on your project. Place some glue on a used credit card or on a craft mat. Flatten the glue with another card or a piece of cardboard. It is that simple.
  • All if your coil is not sticking to the paper or project- Take a piece of quilling paper and load the end with a small amount of glue. Pass the paper under the section of the coil where it is not sticking. Gently press down the coil to adhere it.
  • Place you fine tipped bottle in a shot glass with the tip down. Place a little bit of wet sponge at the bottom of the glass.

How To Remove A Glued Piece or Coil

There are times when you may need to remove a piece or coil from your project. Simply slide a long blade of an exacto knife knife gently under the piece to slice it off the surface. Once you have lifted it clean up the paper with an eraser. Use a gentle hand when doing this.

Using Sealants On Quilled Pieces

For the majority of your quilling projects, no sealant is needed. But you should seal your jewelry pieces so that they last longer and retain their shape.

  • 3D Laquer- Has a nice smooth shiny finish. Has a hard finish like Diamond Glaze with a little more flexability to it. Has a slightly yellow finish, so not recommended for white or pastel papers. You cannot see the yellow tint on darker colors.
  • Deco Art Multi-Purpose Sealer-This sealer has a smooth and shiny appearance. This sealant can be used before a top coat or glaze.It is a very thick sealer, so a little water can be added to thin it down a bit. Does not yellow or run the color on your quilled piece. Makes the piece very hard. Also very economical, but you will still need a top coat.
  • Diamond Glaze-Gives a smooth and shiny coat. Can also be used as an adhesive. Color safe and does not yellow paper. Super hard finish that stands alone or as a top coat. You ca thin it with water.

Instead of cutting the end of your paper strip, rip it. That way the paper will mesh and blend with the glue making a less visible seam.

How To Hide The Seam When Making A Coil

Pinch the coil into the shape so that the glued end of the paper is even with the pinched edge. This give a perfect seam that is hardly visible

Quilling Tips

  • A flat contact lens case is the perfect place to store enough glue to do your projects. That way, you can use the case to store glue. It is also easier to handle small amounts of glue, while you are quilling
  • Use a toothpick to apply the glue. It will hold just the right amount of glue and will be a lot less messy.
  • Put your project pattern into a page protector. That way, you can quill right over the pattern. Just make sure that you leave no residual glue on the page protector. Any dried glue can be picked off with a pin.
  • Most American papers are 24 inches long. So half would be 12 inches and half of that would be 6 inches.
  • When pulling a piece of quilling paper out of the sleeve, just pull the inside loop from the sleeve. That will make the paper stay neater in the sleeve.
  • Once the glue is dry on a quilled piece, lightly press a clear embossing stamp pad over the piece Sprinkle the embossing powder of your choice on the project, Dry with a heat gun.
  • Use small thread snippers over scissors. They are easy to handle and will cut the thin paper pieces that we use to quill.
  • Use a cuticle nipper to clean up your edges. They can easily fix an uneven edge or some stray glue.
  • Use a piece of sponge in a small round dish and keep it moist. The dish can hold your needle nose glue tip and bottle. This will keep the glue from clogging your tip. You can also use the sponge to wipe away any glue.

What To Use For Backgrounds

Avoid using a white background for your quilling project, It will call attention to every mistake and flaw. Instead, use a colored background. Your mistakes will be less obvious.

Motorized Quilling Tool

Motorized quilling tools have two tips available, both the slotted and rounded tips. They make quilling faster and easier
Motorized quilling tools have two tips available, both the slotted and rounded tips. They make quilling faster and easier

Motorized And Electronic Quilling Tools

The first thing to know is that you do not need one of these tools if you are a beginner or do not quill frequently. Do they make your quilling experience easier? I would have to say yes to that. They would be a good tool to have if you enjoy quilling, but have problems with your hands like arthritis.

Basically, these are a slotted type of quilling tools that have a motor. The motor spins the tool to create the quill form. The motors run on batteries.

There is one tool that is like a pen. It has both a slotted end and a round end. The average cost is about $15,

There is another tool that is more my personal preference, It has a platform as well as a slotted and or rounded end. They average between $7-$15.

Fringing Scissors

Fringing scissors help you make the best and easiest flowers possible
Fringing scissors help you make the best and easiest flowers possible

Fringer Tools And Ideas

There are two kinds of fringing tools available. These tools are made to be used with quilling paper only. Using card stock in these fringers will actually cause a break in the mechanism. When storing your fringer always make sure to keep a strip of paper in the fringer as to not damage the cutting blade. Never use the cutting blade without paper, This will also cause damage to the tool.To sharpen the blade, try cutting a strip of aluminum foil. Fringer bases are use to stabilize the machine making the fringing easier to perform.

The 90 degree fringer creates fringes that are straight up and down lines. It is adjustable in depth and width of the fringe accepting paper strips form 1/4" to 3/8". This is the fringer most often used by quillers.

The 45° fringer produces cuts at an angle,\\, used to form leaves and flowers. The 1/4" to 3/4" paper in most applications is folded in half lengthwise before inserting into the fringer.

Fancy Fringing Tool

If you are really into making fringed quilled flowers, there are tools that will help you get them done faster and more professionally
If you are really into making fringed quilled flowers, there are tools that will help you get them done faster and more professionally

Quilling Comb

A quilling comb is a comb with metal prongs. It is used for making both quilled coils and quilled flowers. It would remind you of what was called an afro comb. Some folks will use a comb that they have at home. And you can get similar results, but the true quilling comb will give the best results.

How To Use A Quilling Comb

Tips To Do The Combing Technique

Get A Smoother End

If you want to have a smoother seam and edge to your coils, rip the ends of the coil rather than cutting them.When the glue, you will get a smoother blend in the end of the papers.

Storing Your Quilling Supplies

Everyone has their own thoughts and designs on storing their quilling supplies. How you store your supplies are dependent on the amount of quilling supplies that you own. The second aspect of organizing your quilling supplies is the amount of space that you have.

If you are like me, you do multiple types of paper crafts, so one thing that you will want to do is to keep your quilling supplies in one designated space. That way, when you want to quill, all your supplies will be at your finger tips.

If you are just starting out, or do not have a lot of supplies, a shoe or cardboard cardboard box will so just fine.

Storing Your Quilling Strips

You cans store your quilling strips by either size, type of paper, or color. It is up to you.

Plastic multi drawer systems make a lot of sense. You can sort by color and then baggie different either lengths or types of paper. If your collection of paper grows, you can add more drawers.

Keep one draw for your tools and another drawer for your glues and sealants.

Create A Quilling Notebook

A quilling notebook is a perfect place to keep all your coil instructions, patterns and notes.

Take a three ring notebook and add some page protectors. You can add dividers with tabs that also have pouches. That way you can divide your notebook into sections.

Another neat way to keep special tutorials and information, is to use your favorite list.

Either way, you can keep all the information you need handy for future use.

© 2020 Linda F Correa

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