Swirl, curl, and twirl all with — wait for it — paper! Quilling, also known as paper filigree, is the art of shaping paper into intricate designs. It’s done by rolling strips of paper and pinching or curving them into various forms. Multiple pieces are then glued together to create gorgeous 3D art on cards, canvases, and more. Pick up this paper craft with these six beginner’s tips.
1. Use real-deal quilling paper
Paper quilling starts with rolling paper strips. So, naturally, the No. 1 item on the supplies list is proper paper. You certainly can cut your own strips, but buying them ready-to-go is better for beginners (and so. much. easier.). You can pick up packs at your local craft store. If you're starting with a specific project in mind, make sure to check your pattern first to see if you need a specific length and size. Or, if you're just experimenting, pick up whatever sparks your imagination at the store and go from there.
2. Choose the right tools
You’ll need a small hand quilling tool in order to curl your paper. There are two options: slotted or needle. Both of these have a rubber handle with a thin metal shaft coming out of it. The former has a small slit in the top that you use to secure your paper, while the later does not. A slotted tool is a little easier to use, but it may also crease your paper a bit. You’ll also need to grab some glue, and possibly a pair of tweezers for placing your coils on the project.
3. Learn some shapes
The most basic shape of paper quilling is the rolled paper coil. To make other easy shapes, you simply pinch the paper and adjust the tension of the coil.
4. Try a simple card
Once you've played around a bit and are happy with your quilled shapes, it’s time to make something with them! Start small by adding some little shapes to a pre-made card. (For example, maybe you replace juggling balls with coiled paper to add a 3D touch.)
5. Go ahead and get crazy
Greeting cards and wall art are quilling staples, but you should definitely think beyond the basics! What about using the coiled shapes on earrings? Or adding them onto other paper crafts, like die cuts or collages?
6. Practice, practice, practice
Paper quilling takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice, but the results can be truly spectacular. And like every craft ever invented, the more you practice, the better you'll get — so have at it!