What you will make:
Quilling is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper into coils or scrolls, and arranging them to form elegant filigree. In this project, you’ll learn how to use a toothpick to roll coils and scrolls, then pinch, shape, and arrange them into decorative patterns. White or colored paper can be used—even pieces of brightly colored junk mail work well. Quilling can be done with simple tools and supplies, and almost anyone will get beautiful results. Save those scraps of paper and have some fun quilling!
Here’s what you need:
- Paper for making narrow strips: computer paper, craft paper, construction paper, etc.
- Optional: Craft knife, paper cutter, tweezers, markers, beads, and ribbon.
- To help size coils: Small lids, curtain rings, or washers
- Pencil and ruler
- White glue (Elmer’s, PVA)
- Wax paper
- Other quilling winders: Round pencils, sewing needles (1 or 2 mm), knitting needles, T-pins, or a cocktail stirrer
How to Make Quilling Coils and Scrolls
Read all of the steps before starting
Step 1: Cut Paper Strips
Quilling is most often done with 1/8″- (3 mm) wide strips of paper. Beginners will find that ¼”- (6 mm) wide strips are easier to handle, and younger children will do best with ½” to 1″ (12 – 25 mm) wide strips. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut twenty or more strips. You can also use a paper cutter or trimmer for cutting strips, and some inexpensive paper shredders make ¼”-wide strips.
Tip: As an aid in cutting strips, download and print a paper strip cutting guide on colored or white computer paper.
Step 2: Winding Coils
There are over thirty basic quilling shapes. Most of these shapes are based on a simple closed coil or use the technique of winding. In this project, you’ll learn how to make these twelve shapes.
To wind a coil, you will need a round toothpick and a strip of paper.
- Moisten your thumb and index finger. Place the top of the paper strip against the index finger.
- Put the toothpick across the top of the strip near the top. With your thumb, curl the paper over the toothpick. This will start the coil.
- Without moving the toothpick, use your thumb and index finger to wind the paper.
- When the paper is completely wound, carefully slip it off the toothpick.
Tip: If you can’t find a round toothpick to use as a winder, wrap a little masking tape around a square toothpick. Other things to use as quilling winders are round pencils, sewing or yarn needles (1 or 2 mm), knitting needles, T-pins, or a cocktail stirrer. Children may find a round pencil easier to use as a winder.
Step 3: Sizing and Gluing Coils
Skip this step if you are making an open coil, one of the scrolls (heart, V, or S), or the V.
Spread out a sheet of wax paper to put your glued coils on. Use a white glue that dries clear, and apply a dab with a toothpick on the inside of the coil’s tail end. Hold the coil loosely and let it expand to the desired size. Then press the glued spot against the coil and hold for a few seconds.
Your coils can be sized more easily by using a sizing aid. Anything ring-shaped will work—washers, curtain rings, small bottle caps, etc. You can also make a wooden frame for sizing by gluing two toothpicks across two more toothpicks. Use a small round object of the target size to space the toothpicks. Buttons and coins work well.
Step 4: Shaping Coils
Each of the basic quilling shapes starts with a winding; then they are sized, and some are glued. Pinching and curling are used to form other shapes from simple closed coils. Practice making each shape before trying a quilling project.
Follow these instructions for making eight basic coil shapes: