License to Quill: Best Tools for This Mesmerizing Paper Craft

Quilling, the art of transforming coils or scrolls of paper into beautiful designs, can be surprisingly minimalist: All you really need to try it are strips of paper, glue and a skewer or toothpick.

But once you start, it's easy to get hooked, and you'll inevitably want to see just how far you can push your creativity. Because that's what crafting's all about!

The tools below can help. Once you find out what they can do for your projects, you'll want them ALL.

Slotted Quilling Tool

This tool makes it easier to put a quilling strip into the slot. All you do is roll the tool and create a coil without the paper sliding around. The slot does leave a slight crimp in the center of each spiral, which may not be to your liking.

Needle Tool

With the needle tool, you curl the paper around the point and into a tiny, perfect coil — without a crimp. The only con? It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, and to make coils quickly.

Paper Bead Tools

These look and work like the slotted quilling tool, but can accommodate wider cuts and multiple strips of paper at once. And they're fast!

Quilling Paper

You can't quill without paper, of course, but many crafters don't pay attention to the quality. And that's too bad, because the better the paper, the more beautiful the project. Look for specially designed quilling paper in a range of colors, widths, weights and finishes.

Still can't find what you need? Cut your own strips using a ruler, self-healing mat and utility knife.

Quilling Forms

Thanks to quilling's burst in popularity, there have been a spate of new tools. The best of the bunch are quilling forms, which let you design and roll more free-form projects.

Stacked Forms

These gizmos let you create paper rings in a variety of sizes, so you don't have to buy or store dowels to stack your coils. They're great for creating outside shapes that you fill in later. You can buy stacked forms or use half-inch quilling paper and a bead roller to make your own.

Needle Forms

Image via Erin Curet

These bamboo forms, originally used for knitting, allow quillers to create small rings of many sizes, including very tiny ones. That's good news for quillers who make jewelry, like the earrings in the photo below, and other decorative artwork.

Image via Erin Curet

Cookie Cutters

Image via Erin Curet

Yes, you can raid your baking drawer and use cookie cutters for quilling. Look at the photo above and ask yourself: Does the great state of Michigan inspire you? If so, go for it.

Quilling Molds

If you're into 3D quilling, then you need quilling molds. You gently place a tight coil over the appropriately sized mold and glide the paper downward to make a dome. Once you take it off the mold you can continue shaping it or apply glue on the inside to hold it together.

Image via Erin Curet

Placing two paper domes together can create beads or spheres or other fantastic designs.


If you're working with paper, you need scissors. Thread snippers, a must for sewing projects, make excellent tiny cuts.

You'll also need fringing scissors for making paper flowers. Yes, you can use regular scissors, but the five blades in these specialty scissors create small strips that work perfectly for ornamental blossoms. 


Image via Ann Martin

If you're quilling with kids, you'll want a quilling crimper to create zigzag shapes you can gently roll into loose coils.

Quilling Comb

If flowers and landscapes bring you quilling bliss, you'll want a quilling comb. This tool creates intricately laced loops that you can weave into a variety of patterns.

Quilling Guides

Quilling guides can be a huge help for newbie quillers or kids who want to try their hand at this paper craft. Simply slide your slotted quilling tool in the guide before inserting the paper, and you're ready to roll. The flat surface helps coils stay put without springing open unexpectedly.


You'll need angled ones for gluing or placing small pieces into your coils. Otherwise, you'll go crazy!

Circle Sizers

Just starting to quill? Then get a circle sizer. Its recessed spaces can help you make the consistently sized shapes you need. Some come with a ruler, others have extra openings.

Quilling Glue

This may be last on our list, but it's definitely just as important as paper and other tools. The choice of glue depends on you, but you want one that's easy to use with a needle-nosed bottle and that dries relatively quickly.

Ready to take your quilling to the next level? Then let the fun begin!

Images via Little Circles unless otherwise noted

January 29, 2019
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License to Quill: Best Tools for This Mesmerizing Paper Craft