7 tips for Quilling for Beginners

Paper quilling is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper into coils or scrolls, and arranging them to form intricate layers or filigree. As an art, quilling used to be extremely popular in the 1970's and 80's, gradually faded in between, and has made a brilliant comeback in the recent years. Paper quilling is not a very difficult skill to master - you can get a lot done just with a few simple tools. Here we've rounded up a few tips quilling beginners of all ages will find useful.

1. Quilling Paper

Quilling paper is undoubtedly the most important supply for a quilling project. Although you can buy strips of pre-cut, colorful Quilling paper from art & craft stores, you could also use computer paper, craft paper, construction paper, and scraps of just about any paper to begin with, including brightly colored junk mail. A couple of quick tips to get you started:

- Start by choosing a paper-quilling pattern to get an idea of the length and size of paper you need

- If you don't have colored paper, you can also color the coils after the design is complete.
Just run your paint brush over the top edge of each coil and scroll with the required color


2. The quilling tools

Coming to the tools you'll require for quilling, a slotted tool works perfect for beginners because of its ease of use. But if you want to avoid the crease that this tool leaves in your finished paper strips, opt for the needle tool.

A few other must have supplies for paper quilling are:

- Glue
- A pair of tweezers to pick and move around the quilled pieces
- Circle template for measure the coils
- A work-board


3. Start with basic shapes

Start with the basic shape, i.e. the rolled circular paper coil. Build upon this basic shape as you master the skill further to create a variety of shapes like the teardrop, paisley, marquis, slug or tulip. You can pinch, squeeze, and adjust the tension of the rolled paper coil until you get the quilled shape you desire.

Here are a few handy tips for creating the basic rolled paper coil:

- Insert the strip of paper into the slot of your tool and then with your thumb and forefinger on either side of the paper strip, hold it with even tension while you turn the tool backwards or forwards.

- When you reach the end of your paper strip, take it off the tool. Make sure you don't wind it too tightly, else you may find it a bit tricky to take it off the tool.

- If you want to make a loose coil shape, you can let the paper coil expand before remove it from the tool but if you want a tighter coil, don’t let it expand before you take it off.


4. Go beyond the shapes

Once you have created the interesting shapes, go ahead and play around with them. You could:

- Use them to decorate a greeting card

- Make attractive, hand made jewelry

- Create framed art to add a dash of color and creativity to your walls

- Create three-dimensional figures and miniatures

The possibilities are endless!


Creating a flower is one of the easiest quilling projects that can help you get the hang of things. Just follow these steps:


- Cut two thin strips of colored quilling paper to make the center of the flower. Cut a wider strip - twice the width of the thinner strips - for the flower petals.

- Using a toothpick or quilling needle, make a tight roll of the thinner strip. Glue the end part of the thinner coiled strip.

- Add glue to another thin strip and roll it around the first roll. Glue the end part of strip to make a tightly rolled center for the flower.

- Now make cuts all along the wider strip half way down its breadth. Add glue to one end of this strip and roll it around the tightly rolled flower center we made in the first step.

- Glue the end of the wide strip. Once the glue is dried up well, use your thumb and fingers to fold the petals outward. That's it - your flower is ready!


5. Combine it with other craft

Get a bit more adventurous and use your quilled shapes in combination with other paper crafts to create even more interesting pieces of decorative or gift items. You can use your quilled shapes to add more life to:

- Paintings & wall decor

- Decorative paper buckets

- Hand made jewelry boxes, and other do it yourself projects.

As mentioned before, the uses of quilling are endless - all it requires is a bit of imagination!


6. Use the available resources

Paper quilling instructions and guides can be found in many book stores.

Beginners of any age can start with books written for kids which have great instructions. Besides being very easy to understand, children’s paper quilling books come loaded with quick and easy do it yourself projects that helps any beginner practise and have fun.

The internet is also buzzing with some pretty useful blogs and online tutorials on quilling


7. No substitute for practice

Yes, practice is the key word. Like any art, quilling requires plenty of practice to master the skill. So if you want to quill it like the pros, you need to practice as often as you can. Try more complex shapes, and creative patterns and have fun along the way.

P.S. If there are kids at home, quilling is a fun way to keep the little ones engaged.

Now that you've read these tips, go ahead and quill your way to creative glory. Once you have mastered the skill, you could probably create your own tutorial!