Recently I have decided to begin expanding the creative areas of my life. To do this, I decided that I want to try at least one new thing a month and feature it here on Tales From Home. Quilling is a form of papercraft art that grabbed my attention right from the start. In fact, I bought a quilling kit quite a while ago and learning to use it was part of my New Years Resolutions! With this in mind, I figured Quilling was the best choice to introduce this new monthly feature to the blog.
Learn Something New with Kristin
Feature 1 – Quilling
What is Quilling?
Quilling is a form of art made with small strips of paper. It can also be called paper filigree and involves folding, rolling and manipulating paper into various shapes. These shapes can then be glued to a backing or turned into 3-d art which can stand on their own. I have even seen people make jewelry, though I wonder at the longevity of such pieces.
Although there are some advanced techniques to create different shapes the basics are very easy to pick up and learn. Using different sized paper strips can even create different effects. Quilling even has a pretty neat history, during the Renaissance it was used by monks and nuns to decorate the covers of books. Later on, it was practiced by upper-class ladies in the 18th century
What Equipment do I need?
Thankfully this is a pretty accessible form of art! The basics needed for paper filigree are simple and cheap.
- Strips of paper
- Something to roll it with (even a toothpick will work in a pinch)
- A backboard
- Some glue (Elmers will do just fine)
However, after trying the craft I will say it is much easier with a slotted quilling tool and some angled tweezers.
As with most craft’s, there are many advanced tools that can be bought to create different effects with your paper. For my attempt, I bought a starter kit. The starter kit had everything I needed to create my sign minus the canvas I used as a backboard and was very easy to use. It even came with a variety of colored paper strips.
How do you do it?
Quilling is very easy. It’s a bit harder without the slotted tool but it can be done. The easiest shape to make (other than a circle) was a teardrop shape, which also works well as a petal or a leaf. To make a teardrop simply roll a circle and then pinch one side. Cut off the excess paper and glue down the edge to keep the shape together. My starter kit came with a small glue bottle to spread the glue but I honestly found it easier to use the tip of my finger.
You can make an eye shape by pinching both sides of a circle. Eye shapes work well for leaves too. You can make a curly-queue by rolling a circle tightly and then letting it unroll a little bit. Leaving a bit of a stem on the curl-queue works well if you are trying to make vines.
I found it best to lay the shapes out first before gluing them down (the tweezers come in really handy for this) Once you are ready to glue down our shapes simple pick them up with the tweezers, dip them in a bit of glue and stick them on your board.
What did I learn?
- Quilling is time-consuming – I honestly didn’t expect this sign to take as long as it did! Rolling tiny bits of paper and shaping them just right was a trail of patience. As I went along and got the hang of it, however, it did go faster. I have a feeling this is a craft that becomes much easier with practice.
- It requires very little artistic skill, it’s something everyone can learn – Sure if you want to create a masterpiece you will probably do better with some basic art skills and getting the shapes right takes some practice. But it’s a very forgiving form of art. You don’t need to be great at drawing and it’s very easy to correct mistakes simply by pulling off the paper before it dries if you don’t like the way it looks.
- There is no limit to what you can make – It is paper glued to a base. Paper comes in so many colors and patterns that what you make with quilling is entirely at the mercy of your own creative vision. I have seen door signs, cards, wall decorations and earrings made from paper filigree. With this craft, the sky really is the limit.
What would I do Differently?
I like the way my little spring sign turned out. It’s colorful and bright which seems perfect for the season it represent’s. However, if I made it a second time I would probably attempt to make the word ‘spring’ show up as negative space, with the flowers on the outside of the letters. That of I might space the letters out a bit more to make them easier to read.
Still, as a first project, it didn’t turn out half bad and I will certainly be using my little kit to try some more quilling in the future. If you are looking to add some creative hobbies to your life and don’t want to spend a fortune getting started then paper Filigree is definitely one to try!