I'm happy to have an opportunity to "blend" my two favorite subjects — children's crafts and quilling — in one post. Today I'm giving some tips for kids' quilling, based on my personal experience.
But before you read on, you may want to check out the basic quilling instructions.
Doing quilling helps in developing fine motor skills, creativity, patience, and diligence. But most importantly, it's just another way to have fun with your kids! So, here are my observations and recommendations.
1. An obvious one: children's quilling doesn't have to be perfect :) Encourage your children to do quilling no matter how messy it turns out.
2. For preschoolers, prepare coils in advance and let them press and pinch the coils making quilling shapes. Of course, they also don't need you to assemble their quilling pictures :)
3. Use wide strips, i.e. about 1/4-3/8'' (0.6mm-1cm) in width.
4. Don't spend money on buying relatively expensive pre-cut paper: wide strips for children are easy to cut at home and do not require a special sort of paper.
5. Make a suitable quilling tool with a thick tip and large convenient handle. I made mine from a discarded pen and a wooden toothpick. Usually a toothpick fits the opening of a felt-tip pen, so after carefully cutting a slit in the toothpick insert it into the pen and here we go — a nice convenient slotted tool is ready.
6. Wide strips from a heavy paper can be easily rolled with fingers, without the need to use a tool.
7. Explain to the children that it's OK if they fail to roll a neat coil. Don't let them be disappointed, just unroll it and try to make another one.
8. Pick suitable subjects and motifs for kids' quilling: animals, flowers, butterflies, food, vehicles and tools for boys, funny faces, etc. Look into Klutz's "Twirled Paper" for ideas and inspiration (reviewed here).
9. Don't be afraid of spilling the glue: spread it over the base, not the quilling shapes as usual. Another method is to pour some glue onto a sheet of paper or cardboard, or into a small plate and let children dip their quilling shapes in it. Older children can apply the glue directly onto the shapes.
10. Don't limit your kids to quilling in their projects. Let them combine different media and techniques, you'll be surprised what wonderful little pieces of art they come up with.
Finally, there's something I'd like to emphasize: it's common to think that paper quilling is for girls. I totally disagree with this statement, boys enjoy doing quilling as well. The choice of a subject may be different, though :)
The pictures above show work of my three kids: a boy (4.5) and two girls (6 and 4.5).
And this simple flower was created by my daughter when she was 5 years old: she rolled the coils, formed the shapes, and glued them, all without my assistance. I prepared 1/4" wide (6 mm) strips for her to do this easy quilling project.