What is Quilling?
Quilling is the art of rolled paper. It’s a dynamic medium that allows anyone — young, old, beginner, expert — to explore different textures and techniques. Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy to learn and once you get the hang of the basics, you’ll be off on your quilling journey. You can read our other articles to catch up on the basic history of paper quilling.
Quilling does not require a lot of materials. Materials can be purchased at any hobby or craft store. You can buy a kit (a great option for beginners) or make use of what you might already have lying around your craft room. Most kits are very inexpensive.
What do I need?
When you purchase a quilling kit, you will find that it likely comes with the following materials:
● Pre-cut paper
● Slotted Tool
● Precision Glue Bottle
Of course, if you choose to make do with what you already have, you’ll just have to prepare your paper by cutting it to size. Also, you’ll want a way to really have control over the glue bottle. You will not need very much, so having a precise tip for the glue to come out of will help immensely. Finally, the slotted tool is very helpful when it comes to rolling the paper itself. You might be able to make do without it, but it is highly recommended. The slotted tool allows for more control and ensures a tight, uniform roll.
Now that you have your materials, let’s get started.
How to: 7 Quilling Techniques
Quilling only requires that you roll strips of paper tightly. By using the slotted tool, you have a good handle on the rolling of the paper and can control the uniformity of the coil. We will begin discussing the various coil types and techniques.
● Tight Coil
A tight coil is just as the name suggests: rolling the paper as tight as possible, allowing no gaps or space between the layers of the paper. Place the end of one strip of paper into the slotted tool and roll as tightly as possible. You want to ensure that the coil stays even and level. Avoid the “tornado” effect, which happens when the coil is too loose or the rolling is uneven. The best part, if you mess up, it’s very easy to start again! Keep the pad of your finger at the top of the slotted tool to help with controlling the roll and preventing the tornado effect.
When you have reached the end of the strip of paper, place just the tiny bit of glue on the end and secure it onto itself. You will need less glue than you think, which is where a precision tip on the glue bottle comes in very handily. Once glued, you have your first tight coil!
● Loose Coil
The loose coil uses the same technique as the tight coil. Begin the same way by placing the end of one strip of paper into the slotted tool and roll as tightly as possible. Again, by using your thumb and forefinger, you can help control the roll and keep it as even as possible.
Once you have rolled the entire strip of paper, remove the slotted tool, and then carefully allow the coil to open up. A good technique is to keep hold of the center of the coil, and then allow the outer rings to loosen. When you’ve loosened the coil to your liking, place a small amount of glue on the end and secure it onto itself.
● Teardrop Coil
The teardrop coil begins the same way as the tight and loose coil. You can have a tight or loose teardrop shape. Roll a strip of paper to your preference (tight or loose), and then when you are ready to glue, use less glue than you think. Note where the seam is, and begin to pinch the coil at the site of the seam. Gently use your fingers to help manipulate the center of the coil downwards, away from the pinched seam, and you’ll have a teardrop-shaped coil.
● Curved Teardrop Coil
The curved teardrop coil is an extension of the teardrop coil. Create a teardrop coil, and once you have the desired teardrop shape, use the end of the slotted tool to help curve the top of the teardrop. Curve just the tip of the teardrop to create a paisley-like shape.
The marquee shape begins with a loose coil. Roll a coil and then open it up to allow it to loosen and have space between its layers. Glue it unto itself (using less glue than you think, of course!) and pinch at both ends. You may need to gently guide the center of the coil to not pinch it. This coil shape will resemble an eye, especially with the center of the coil imitating a pupil and iris.
● Curved Marquee
The curved marquee, also known as the slug, is a variation of the marquee shape. Begin by creating the marquee shape with a loose coil and glue. Pinch both ends, and then use the slotted quilling tool to help curve the tips in opposite directions.
● Square and Diamond
The square and diamond shapes use similar techniques. Create a loose coil, glue, and then pinch each side as you would like the marquee shape. You will end up with four corners, or four pinches. The easiest way to do this is to pinch each side of the coil with both of your hands simultaneously, rotate 90 degrees, and then repeat. The diamond will have a taller shape, whereas the square will have more equal sides.
Now that you’ve mastered these techniques, go forth and create your quilling masterpieces. The tweezers will allow you to gently place each of your shaped coils into what promises to be a beautiful work of art.
Show me How to Roll Paper
The art of quilling, for beginners! We recommend this fun, very easy, 9-min video showing each quilling technique above. The Crafty Lumberjacks give a super easy quilling tutorial for beginners. Plus, they combine their designs to make the most out-of-this-world art piece!