Quilling, or paper filigree, is the art of creating intricate shapes from strips of paper. The technique is simple: After a long, narrow ribbon of paper is rolled around a needlelike tool, the strip is slipped off, arranged with your fingertips into the desired shape, and then glued to a background of contrasting paper, fabric, or wood.
Quilled motifs such as flowers and hearts express sweet sentiments for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, but they also add an elegant touch to cards for any occasion.
In this tutorial, we'll show you how to make the shapes necessary to create several types of quilled cards.
Don't let the elaborate effects fool you; quilling is simple. You need only a few basic crafts items.
Clockwise from top: A round-headed pin is useful for precise glue application. A slotted quilling tool lets you create coiled shapes with ease. Fine-pointed tweezers are essential for tiny shapes. Use small sharp scissors to cut fringe.
Quilling paper comes in a variety of colors and widths; most of our projects can be made with standard precut strips. If you prefer, use a paper cutter and medium-weight paper, such as vellum or stationery, to make your own; construction paper is too heavy and will not roll easily.
Experiment with basic techniques before starting a project.
Loose Circle: Create a tight circle, but do not glue. Instead, lay it on a flat surface, and let it expand. When satisfied with the shape and size, glue the end of the strip to secure.
Loose Scroll: Form a loose circle, but do not glue closed.
Marquise Fashion: and glue a loose circle; pinch each end.
Connected Scrolls: Make several loose scrolls; position with unrolled ends pointing the same way. Curve each over rolled end of next scroll; glue.
Open Heart: Fold a strip in half, and crease. Roll each end toward center.
V Scroll: Crease paper at center; roll ends outward.
S Scroll: Form an S shape by rolling one end toward center, and the other in the opposite direction.
C Scroll: Roll both ends of a strip toward the center.
If you want to design a frame or border for your card, create a freehand pattern that incorporates several of the basic shapes you've learned. Alternatively, you can purchase a published pattern, many of which are available in clip-art books.
Here, we arranged a series of fleurs-de-lis, each made from three V scrolls of graduated sizes, and one teardrop. Form and glue individual shapes, using the pattern as a guide. Then use a ruler to draw a rectangle on the card. Dab points of glue on undersides of quilled shapes and position them, standing on edge, along the pencil line. Hold in place for 15 seconds to allow glue to set.
Fringed flower shapes are used in the quilled floral cards. To make a fringed flower such as a daisy or a zinnia, scallop the top of a strip of paper, and then cut fringe. (To create flowers with centers, glue together two strips of paper, each a different width and color, end to end; then fringe.) Roll entire length of paper into a tight circle, as shown here.
Bells are used to make the quilled lily-of-the-valley card. Roll and glue a tight circle. Using your finger, push center of circle to create a cone. Secure the end with glue. If desired, spread a light layer of glue over surface of bell; this will help the bell keep its shape. Or spread glue inside to hide the glued area. Positioned along four leafy stems made from strips of green paper to complete the lily-of-the-valley.
Quilled script is used to make the scripted valentines. You can write a message in your own hand, adapt one from a calligraphy book, or create one on a computer. Lay short strips of quilling paper along the curves of each letter you want to form. Shape ends with quilling tool, or use scissors to curl paper as you would a ribbon; cut strips to correct length. Trace message onto paper. Glue at intervals, one letter at a time. Turn quilling paper on edge; use tweezers to hold it in place for 15 seconds to allow glue to set.