Tutorial: An introduction to paper quilling
As you probably know, paper quilling or paper filigree can be used for creating greeting cards, decorating objects and even building three-dimensional sculptures.
This is a getting started quilling guide, where I'm showing the basics of paper quilling by the example of making a simple flower. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
There are special tools and papers for quilling, but let's manage with only things everybody has usually at hand:
- sheets of double-sided colored paper (A4 or Letter size)
- wooden toothpicks/cocktail sticks, or a slotted tool
- metal ruler
- crafts knife
- white craft glue (PVA)
- template with circles
- cutting mat or board
- nice colored or patterned paper for the base
1. Make marks of 3 mm (1/8 inch) along the short edges of a paper sheet. Always start measuring from the same edge, since the last mark may turn out shorter, than needed.
2. Cut strips using the craft knife and ruler. Try cutting a few sheets at a time: clamp them with office clips or clothes pegs. Press the ruler thoroughly and make sure the knife is sharp. Cut with one movement, applying strong pressure onto the knife and being careful not to cut your fingers (and table). You get colour paper strips 3 mm (1/8 inch) wide and approximately 30 cm (11 inches) long.
3. For a petal take a strip and roll it tightly around a toothpick. You might want to make a slit in the toothpick, it holds the end of a strip and makes the start easier.
4. Gently pull the roll off the toothpick and put in into the circles template. Choose a circle of 1.5-2 cm (5/8 to 3/4 inch) in diameter. Release it, the paper unrolls up to the size of the circle. Don't hold the roll for a long time, it won't unroll otherwise.
5. Glue the end of the strip and let dry.
6. Take the coil out and pinch it on one side. You've just got one of the basic quilling shapes (see at the end of this article), which is called a "teardrop". There are about 20 basic shapes, but the idea is always the same: roll and pinch.
7. Make 5 more "teardrops" in the same manner — the other petals of the flower.
8. And now let's make a leaf. Repeat steps 3 through 5, then take out the coil and pinch two opposite ends simultaneously. This shape is called an "eye".
9. We'll use another shape for the second leaf for a change. This shape is called, strangely enough, a "leaf". Do everything as if you were making an "eye", but after pinching shift the hands in opposite directions without releasing the shape.
10. Now making the center of the flower is easy: just roll a coil and leave it as is. To make it smaller use a smaller circle in the template (about 1 cm or 3/8 inch). It's called a "loose coil", by the way.
11. Arrange the elements, mark their position on the base, then apply a thin layer of glue to the bottom of the shapes and attach them to the base.