A Beginner’s Guide to Quilling  

Apr 23, 2023 | Art, drawing or painting, Paper crafts

Have you tried your hand at quilling? Quilling can be a lot of fun. It is a decorative paper crafting technique that can be used to make home decor items and other decorative projects. My personal favourite use of quilling is to embellish handmade greeting cards.

A Beginners Guide to Quilling


What is quilling?

Paper quilling is also known as paper filigree. It is a paper crafting technique that involves rolling narrow strips of paper into coils. The coils are then shaped and arranged to create intricate designs. The coils are usually held in place with glue.

The coils created can then be shaped into various forms. These forms could be circles, teardrops, or triangles. Shaping the pieces is done by bending and pinching the edges. You can use the shaped coils to create various designs, from simple geometric patterns to complex portraits.

A Beginner's Guide to Quilling

What Can You Make with Paper Quilling?

Paper quilling is a versatile craft form. It can be used to make a wide variety of decorative items. The quilled coils can be used to embellish greeting cards, picture frames, jewellery, wall art, and more. The possibilities are endless. You are only limited to your imagination.

Here are some fun projects you can make with paper quilling:

  • Greeting cards

Paper quilling can be used to create beautiful designs to embellish greeting cards. You can use quilling for all occasions, from birthdays to anniversaries.

  •  Gift tags

It does not matter if you make your own gift tags or use premade tags. You can add a personalised touch with quilling.

  •  Bookmarks

Paper quilling can be used to make bookmarks. The quilling is best added to the top of the bookmarks, where it will not get damaged by the closing pages.

Paper quilling is a great technique for making jewellery. You can make unique and intricate pieces, such as earrings, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets.

  • Hair accessories

Add interest to barrettes, headbands, and hairpins with paper quilling.

  • Wall Art

There are a lot of large, gorgeous, intricate designs that make stunning pieces of wall art. Some quilling art pieces can be hung directly on the wall, while others need to be framed.

  • Home Decor

You can use paper quilling techniques to make decorative accents for your home. Paper quilling can be used to make ornaments, bowls, vases, baskets, bouquets, and more. 

  • 3D sculptures

Once you master the basic quilling techniques, you can step up your game and make 3D sculptures. 3D shapes are created by layering and arranging paper quilling shapes.


The History of Paper Quilling

The exact origins of paper quilling are unknown. Some people believe that it originated in China after the invention of paper. Others believe it started in Europe during the 16th or 17th century, as a form of decorative art by nuns and monks.

It is believed that they utilised scraps of paper from religious texts. The curled pieces were used to create ornate designs to adorn crosses, chalices, and altarpieces.

In Europe, during the 18th century, paper quilling became a popular pastime for upper class ladies. Paper curling art techniques were used to create intricate designs for jewellery, picture frames, and other household items.

Paper quilling was huge in the United States during the Colonial Period (1607-1775). It went out of style for a while and made a resurgence again during the 19th century. During the early 20th century, it was largely forgotten again, only to regain popularity during the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, paper quilling is once again a popular hobby practiced around the world. Unlike the basic designs of years gone by, it has now evolved to include a wide range of techniques and styles.


Quilling for beginners

Quilling for beginners

So, is quilling art easy? Beginner level projects are very easy. If you’re new to quilling, don’t worry! Here’s a quilling art for beginners guide to get you started.

Gather Your Materials

To start quilling, you will need to gather a few basic supplies, including:

  •  Quilling paper

You can find precut quilling paper in a variety of colours and widths, from 1/8 inch (.3175 cm) to 1/2 inch (1.27 cm). If you prefer, you can also cut your own paper strips.

  • Quilling Tool

A quilling tool is needed to roll the paper into coils. You can use either a slotted tool or a needle tool, or both.

  • Scissors

You will need scissors to cut the paper strips to their desired length.

  • Glue

Glue is necessary to hold the pieces together and to arrange them. For the most part, you can use any type of clear-drying glue. Some popular quilling glue choices include white glue, tacky glue, and glue pens.

  • Quilling Board

Quilling boards are optional. However, they can help you create consistent shapes and sizes. If you do not have a quilling board, you can also use a foam board or cork board.

  • Other Supplies

Once you start learning the art of quilling, you will find that there are other tools that will make the process even easier and more enjoyable. These are a needle nosed glue bottle, a paper piercing tool, tweezers, a cutting mat, a curling coach, a crimper, a border buddy, fringe scissors, and a quilling comb.

 You can also check out these 10 Paper Quilling Tools and Slotted Quilling Tools for a full review.


Learn the Basic Shapes

Basic Shapes for Quilling Art

When first getting started in paper quilling, there are a few basic shapes you should know. These include:

1.Coil Shape

The standard coil is the most basic shape used in paper quilling. It involves rolling a strip of paper into a tight spiral. The size of the coil can vary depending on the width and length of the paper strip used, as well as the tightness of the roll.

2. Loose Coil

A loose coil is basically a standard coil that is allowed to uncoil slightly. It has a more relaxed appearance than a standard coil.

3. Teardrop

A teardrop is another one of the most common shapes you will come across when paper quilling. It is made by pinching one end of a coil to create a tapered point. A teardrop has a tapered end and a rounded end. It resembles a droplet or a tear.

4. Marquise

A marquise is created by pinching the two opposite sides of a loose coil. A marquise resembles a diamond shape. It has 2 tapered ends and 2 rounded ends.

5. Square

A square is made by pinching all four sides of a loose coil. This is the hardest of the 5 shapes to make. Quilling squares requires precision and attention to detail. The corners must be properly aligned and evenly spaced.


 Practice First

Before you start your first project, practice making the 5 basic shapes and combining them to make simple designs.  

  •  Make Some Basic Shapes

The more you practice making the basic shapes, the better they will look. Practice making several of each of the shapes until you can make them with no problems.

  • Create Simple Designs

Once you are comfortable making the basic shapes, you can start creating simple designs. Start by making an easy flower by combining several teardrops for leaves and a loose coil for the centre. You can also experiment with different shapes and colours to create more intricate paper quilling art designs.


Learn More Advanced Techniques

As you become more comfortable creating the basic shapes, start exploring advanced techniques. Some other techniques you will want to learn are:

  • Quilling on Edge

Most quilling rolls paper along its width. Quilling on the edge rolls paper along the edge instead. This technique creates a more three-dimensional effect. Quilling on edge requires a quilling tool with a slotted end. The technique requires practice and patience.

  • Banding

Banding involves wrapping paper strips around patterns. Banding can be done with the same colour to layer the design. Or you can use a contrasting colour to create an outline.

  • Quilling with Multiple Strips

You can quill with multiple strips to create larger designs.

  • Alternative Shapes

Experiment with making alternative shapes. If you are unsure of what shapes to make, check out more complex designs. These pieces often have shapes such as triangles, hexagons, and curves.

  • Make 3D Objects:

After you have mastered basic quilling, put your newfound knowledge to the test. You can combine and layer shapes to create 3D quilling projects. Some of these projects could be bowls, vases, boxes, frames, and ornaments. 3D paper quilling requires lots of planning and precision.

  • Use Other Materials

When quilling, you can use other materials to add texture and dimension. For example, you can use wire, fabric, or foil. If you can roll it up into small shapes, you can use it.

  • Experiment

Do not be afraid to experiment. There are no rules or limitations when quilling. Let your imagination run free. You may surprise yourself with the beautiful designs you are able to create with strips of paper and some glue.


We hope you had fun learning the basics of quilling and how to get started

Paper quilling is a fun and rewarding art form anyone can enjoy. All you need are a few basic supplies and some practice. Once you understand the basics, you can create beautiful and intricate designs that will impress your family and friends.

So, what are you waiting for? Give quilling a try today. And share your works on our Facebook Page. I would love to see your quilled designs. 

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