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An Introduction to... Quilling

Monday, 29 December 2014  |  Vicky

Quilling board and quilling paper

The Christmas break is a great time to try a new craft. This year we’re wrapping, twirling, coiling and folding paper to create works of art, jewellery and homemade cards – that's right, we’re quilling. Despite being quite an old craft, quilling is a technique that’s pretty underused and is definitely less talked about than scrapbooking, crochet and other crafts which have gained a contemporary edge in recent years. The technique itself is pretty simple but can appear incredibly confusing, so we’ve written a short post that explains everything, and will make you into a paper professional in no time.

Coloured quilling paper

Paper

While quilling paper is much like any other coloured paper, the advantage is that it comes ready cut in strips, so you don’t need to sit for hours cutting out lengths of paper. Usually sold either on its own or in packs with frames and boards, the paper is available in a wide range of colours and widths, and is threaded through the quilling pen to create the necessary coils.

Quilling pen and quilled shapes

Quilling Pen

The quilling pen looks like any other pen, but with one difference – the nib is actually a metal cylinder with a slit cut into it, and this is where you thread the paper when beginning to create a coil. It acts as a support for the centre of the coil, and makes it easier for you to wrap the paper around itself without losing your grip and dropping the whole lot. Quilling pens are also often double ended, with the opposite end equipped for use with embossing.

Quilling boards and frames

Quilling Board

A quilling board is an incredibly useful piece of equipment that will make your quilling life so much easier; made up of a series of recesses in different sizes and shapes, it allows you to insert your quilled paper to ensure that each shape is a uniform size. They’re especially useful if you’re creating something like a repeating pattern or flower, where the shapes and petals should be as similar to each other as possible. On many boards, there are numbers printed next to each shape – these tell you how long your strip of paper should be when you start coiling, and takes all the guesswork out of the process. 

Above: Paper artist Natasha Molotkova

Above: Le Quillery