Paper Quilling

A Guide to Making Paper Quilling Art for Your Cards

Have you ever heard of paper quilling? Paper quilling is a technique under paper crafting, which involves rolling and shaping small strips of paper to make designs. Because paper quilling art comes in different sizes, big or small, you can use them to decorate your cards. With paper quilling, you can enhance your cards easily by making unique layouts using only a few supplies!

If this paper crafting technique has piqued your interest, you’re in for a treat! Today, we’ll be talking about the history of paper quilling, how to quill paper, and paper quilling ideas for your cardmaking projects! 

What Is Paper Quilling? 

Paper quilling, or paper filigree, is the process of shaping, rolling, and coiling paper to assemble different designs. These designs can be images or patterns that you can use to make 3D paper art, decorations, or embellishments for other crafty projects, like scrapbooks, cards, and journals. You can put them on paper, in a box, or in a frame. 

Paper quilling is a fun and relaxing hobby because not only are its materials inexpensive, but it’s also easy to make! To start your own quilling, all you need are some: 

  • Thin strips of paper – These strips should be sized between 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch wide. They can be any kind of paper – newspapers, magazines, colored paper, or kraft paper. Ideally, they should not be too thin or too thick but just heavy enough to be durable and light enough to be rollable. 
  • Scissors – If your paper strips aren’t pre-cut, you can use scissors to cut them into strips. 
  • Glue – To help your paper quilling art maintain its shape, you need to apply glue as you roll them so the layers stick together and do not unfurl. 
  • Quilling tool – This can be as simple as a needle, pencil, toothpick, or a specialized slotted quilling tool with a slit to insert your paper in. Having a metal rod or a stick to curl your paper with would make the quilling easier. However, you can also use your fingers! 
  • Quilling molds – They have shaped molds that come with a corkboard to help your coiled papers stay in shape. You can use a sewing needle or a pin to secure your paper quilling art while waiting for the glue to dry. 

What Is the History of Paper Quilling?

The exact origin of paper quilling has yet to be identified. However, during the 15th century, French and Italian nuns were highly involved with paper quilling art. They used it to decorate religious items like book covers and reliquaries. This was done to mimic the look of beautiful metallic ornaments, so they rolled the paper filigree into elegant patterns and painted it in gold instead. 

Nowadays, paper quilling is used in many paper crafting projects, from jewelry to DIY house decor items. It’s a paper crafting technique beloved by many, and it’s no wonder why it remains relevant today! Paper quilling looks stunning, is inexpensive in terms of materials, and can even be made by beginners like you! 

How to Quill Paper for Beginners

Now that you know paper quilling and its history, are you ready to start on your first quilling project? Here is a step-by-step, five Ps guide on how to begin your paper quilling art as a beginner: 

  1. Prepare Your Materials

Of course, you can’t start quilling without your materials! When you pick the type of paper you’ll use, it is better if you buy pre-cut strips of paper. As a beginner, you are more likely to be redoing and recoiling paper many times, and you wouldn’t want to spend the majority of your time learning by cutting strips, wouldn’t you? 

Try also to imagine the type of patterns and colors you’d want your first project to have, so you can prepare everything you need beforehand. 

  1. Practice the Basic Paper Quilling Shapes

When you have the paper strips all ready, it’s time to get the ball rolling (pun intended)! You can start by practicing the basic shapes of paper quilling. Not only will this help you improve your coiling and rolling skills, but it will also familiarize you and give you more options on what kind of designs you can make. 

There are two types of quilling shapes: coils and scrolls. Coils are closed circular objects, while scrolls are usually open-ended or have overlapping two or more circle rolls, like an actual scroll! 

The types of coil shapes depend on the tightness and looseness of the rolls and the shape that they make. There are tight coils, loose coils,  teardrop coils, marquis coils, and heart-shaped coils. 

On the other hand, scroll shapes include loose scrolls, c-scrolls, s-scrolls, spirals, and heart scrolls. You can combine these different types of paper quilling to make gorgeous mandala patterns, detailed images, or abstract shapes – your imagination is the limit! 

  1. Print a Paper Quilling Pattern

After mastering the basic quilling shapes, you can now start on your first project! To guide you and give you inspiration, we recommend printing out a FREE paper quilling pattern. As a beginner, it’s hard to structure and make one from scratch. These handy printables will take the load off for you. Once you get the hang of it, you can go without them and start creating impressive projects from scratch! 

  1. Prioritize Smaller Projects

If you’re just starting, it will be easier to start with a smaller project. It will take less time and materials, and you’ll have the satisfaction of finishing your first project!

  1. Play With Small and Large Coils

Playing and alternating with small and large coils will result in interesting patterns. To learn how to quill paper in different sizes and looseness, simply do the following:

  1. Take a strip of paper and place one end into the slot of the quilling tool. 
  2. Use your fingers to roll the paper tightly around the tool until you reach the end.
  3. Slide the rolled paper off the quilling tool and shape it into your desired shape. 
  4. Apply a small amount of glue to the end of the paper strip and press it down to secure the shape. Hold it for a few seconds until the glue dries.
  5. Repeat the process until you have all the rolls you need to make the shape or design you want. 
  6. Use glue to attach the quilled shapes together to create your design. You can create 3D designs by layering shapes on top of each other!
  7. Let dry, and voila! You now made your first paper quilling art!

How to Use Paper Quill Art on Your Cards

You can use your paper quilling art to make shapes and designs of all kinds, from animals to paper-quilled flowers! These quilled designs are great for adding 3D accents, focal points, and embellishments to your cards. After all, they are another great material to use besides your regular stamps and dies.

Additionally, you can pair your quill art with sequins and watercolor backgrounds. You can make initials and balloon-shaped paper quills for birthday cards. For holiday cards, you can make tiny trees with ornaments. You can also complement them with washi tape or use them on their own. The possibilities are endless! 

Discover the Magic of Quilling and Upgrade Your Cards!

All in all, paper quilling is a wonderful craft that can make your cards even more special. What’s not to love? It’s easy enough to learn, and it uses inexpensive items, so it can be accessible to everyone, beginners or pros alike! Give paper quilling a try the next time you have a unique birthday or holiday card to make. 

You can add more life and charm to your cards by adding unique designs of paper quilling. Who knows, you might just develop a passion for artistry with this technique! If you’re looking for other cardmaking ideas, check out our other tips on decorating your cards with washi tape and how to use embellishments. Happy crafting!

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