7 Tips for the Paper Quilling Beginner

Paper quilling, also known as paper filigree, is the art of shaping paper into intricate and interesting shapes. This is achieved by rolling strips of paper and pinching or curving them into various forms. A completed quilled project may look complicated, but the basics of this paper craft are actually not hard to master. If you have ever wanted to give paper quilling a try, here are seven tips for getting started!

Various paper quilled shapes

1. Quilling paper

Paper quilling starts with rolling paper strips, and so naturally, the No. 1 item on the supplies list is quilling paper. You can buy packs of pre-cut quilling paper in most major art and crafts stores, but you can also cut your own strips of papers. The length and size of the paper will determine how the paper quilled project eventually looks.

2. Tools

Paper quilling tools
Comparing quilled shapes made with the needle tool and the slotted tool

In order to paper quill, a needle-like tool is required. A slotted tool is usually recommended to the paper quilling beginner because it is easier to roll paper with it. However, the slotted tool tends to crease the paper strips. Those who are more experienced in paper quilling may prefer the needle tool. Even though it is slightly more tricky to use, many crafters prefer the needle tool as it tends to result in a neater, crease-less paper roll.

Tools for paper quilling

Glue is another essential item on the supplies list. It is also helpful to have a pair of tweezers to handle the quilled pieces and a circle template to measure the coils with.

3. Basic shapes

Basic paper quilling shapes

The most basic shape of paper quilling is the rolled paper coil. By pinching and adjusting the tension of the paper coil, different quilled shapes are made. Some of the most basic paper quilling shapes are shown in the picture above.

4. A simple card idea

Paper Quilling card

Once you have practiced and are happy with your paper quilled shapes, it’s time to make something with them! You don’t need a lot of shapes to make something fun with paper quilling. Even the simplest of the quilled shapes can be used for a project. For example, in the card pictured above, five simple loose coils were used for the monkey’s juggling balls to make a fun greeting card.

5. Other creative applications

Paper Quilling card

Paper quilling is frequently used for making greeting cards or in wall art, like decorative canvases or framed art. Some folks even make wearable art-like earrings  out of their paper quilled shapes!

Personally, I like to combine paper quilling with my other paper crafts, like die cutting and rubber stamping. For example, in the picture above, I combined paper quilling with a vellum cutout of a jar that I had cut with my electronic die cutting machine.

6. Resources

Paper quilling instructions and idea books can be found in many book stores. Some paper quilling books that were written for kids have great instructions that can be used for beginners of any ages. Even though they were intended for a young audience, children’s paper quilling books are not only easy to understand, they are usually filled with quick and easy projects that are great for any beginner.

7. Practice, practice, practice!

Paper quilling takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice but the results can be very rewarding. The more you practice, the better you will be at it.

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Susan Conklin Zwayer

I love to quill and combine my quilled projects with my cut ones.

Susan Conklin Zwayer

I love to quill and combine my quilled projects with my cut ones.

Susan Conklin Zwayer

I love to quill and combine my quilled projects with my cut ones.

Carmen Lucero

Thanks Jin!! You definitely should teach more classes!!


Carmen L


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