If you want to learn how to do quilling, or if you’ve just been wondering ‘what is quilling?’, we’ve got ten fantastic projects, designed by Sarah Jackman-Read, to get you started with this versatile papercraft technique. Check out our handy cardmaking glossary if you’re new to papercrafting!
What is quilling?
Paper quilling is the art of taking long, thin strips of paper and coiling, curving and fringing them into shapes that are used in paper art and card making. Aside from being one of the most soothing papercraft techniques out there, quilling is a hugely versatile technique and it’s enjoyed something of a comeback in the past decade, with paper art and quilled designs appearing on posters, on high streets and in high-profile advertising campaigns.
What do I need to start quilling?
First, you’ll need some quilling strips and a quilling tool. But what are quilling strips and, for that matter, what is a quilling tool, you ask? Quilling strips are thin pieces of paper that are curled, using a quilling tool, into shapes then combined to create raised patterns and designs on your cards and papercraft projects.
A quilling tool will grip the quilling strips, so you can easily curl them into shape. Quilling tools are inexpensive to buy and are sold at most craft stores. You can also buy quilling boards, which help you to make different sized curls.
Most quilling effects can be achieved with a few inexpensive supplies…
- Quilling papers
- Quilling tool
- PVA glue
If you like the ideas in this post, why not try a Beginner quilling kit to get started?
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From learning how to make quilled flowers to creating a fantastic quilled flamingo, take a look at Sarah’s top ten quilling projects that are ideal for beginners. There are all sorts of things you can create, and they often look more complex to make than they actually are!
10 best quilling ideas for beginners
If you’re completely new to quilling, try these easy ways to get started
Quilling tight circles
One of the easiest quilling designs to create is a simple, tight circle, secured into place with PVA glue. This shape is created by placing quilling strips into the slotted end of a quilling tool then wrapping the strips around the tool before removing it.
Here, Sarah has combined a tight circle embellishment with woven strips of quilling papers, to decorate a gift.
Quilling loose circles
To create these fun, quilled balloons, simply start to create a tight quilled circle, as in the project above, but instead of gluing the ends, let the tension in the circle release a little, to reveal a swirling circle design, before gluing the loose end into place. Pinch one end of your balloon, slightly, to give it more shape, then concertina a small strip of paper and glue it onto the pinched end. Add thin strips of papers to represent the balloons’ strings, too.
This versatile shape can be used for lots of different designs. Here, Sarah has used it to create leaves on this pretty wreath card. To create the shape, simply pinch the glued end of a loose circle to form a point.
Sarah made the wreath’s flowers by snipping strips of coloured papers to create fringing, wrapping the strips around a quilling tool, gluing them in place then folding the fringing back to form a flower head.
Quilling squares and hearts
To make the square cake tiers on this wedding card, pinch into points two opposite sides of a quilled loose circle, turn the pinched circle 90 degrees then pinch two more points into the remaining rounded sides. To create the sweet little quilled hearts, fold a quilling strip in half, open it out to form a ‘V’ shape, then curl the ends inwards.
To make the diamond shape, simply create a quilled square then apply slight pressure on two opposite corners.
Here, Sarah has used a mixture of teardrop and diamond shapes, to create a quilled flower embellishment for a tag.
Similar to the heart designs, you can shape the ends of a folded quilling strip, so that they curl outwards. Sarah has used this scroll technique to create stems and leaves on this floral card. The flower heads have been formed by surrounding a small, loose circle with loops of quilling strips.
As well as using quilling on cards, you can also make some fantastic quilled jewellery, like this quilled necklace. Start by die cutting a shape into card then wrap a strip of quilling paper several times around the outside. Make a variety of small, loose circles in various colours, to fit inside the shape, then add 3D gloss on top, to seal it.
How to quill your A, B, C
Once you’ve mastered a few quilling shapes, why not combine them to create a decorative, framed design? From abstract patterns to intricate wildlife and fairy-tale designs, let your imagination run wild. Draw out your chosen letter and carefully glue the edge of quilling strips around it. Surround the letter with your choice of quilled shapes to create this colourful decoration.
Here, Sarah has created a personalised project that would look great in a child’s bedroom.
Let your imagination fly with quilled birds
Use quilled shapes to build up characters on your cards, such as birds or other wildlife. This striking flamingo is made from a series of loose circles and teardrops in various sizes, as well as strips of quilling paper folded in lengths for the neck and legs. You could pair the quilled flamingo with our fabulous tropical bird patterned papers, which are free to download.
Start quilling greetings by using the scroll method. Write your sentiment in pencil, first, then cut strips of quilling paper, curl the ends and glue into place along the edges.
Find more quilling ideas
So, you wanted to know how to do quilling and now you know how quilling is done! If you want even more ideas for this fun technique, you’ll find loads of inspiration on our Pinterest Quilling board.