- 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
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:
Open: Wind a strip, but stop about 1" (25 mm) from the end. Let
the coil spring open. Do not apply glue.
Closed: Wind a strip to the end. Before gluing, allow
the coil to expand to the size you want.
Tight: Wind a strip to the end. Glue the end without
letting the coil expand. Hold it firmly until the glue sets.
Large: Use a pencil for winding. You may want to glue
the coil before taking it off the pencil. For even larger coils, use
Teardrop: Wind and glue a loose coil. Pinch one side
of the coil.
Eye: Wind and glue a loose coil. Pinch on opposite
sides of the coil.
Petal: Wind and glue a loose coil. Pinch one side of
the coil, and curl the point in one direction.
Leaf: Wind and glue a loose coil. Pinch on opposite
sides of the coil, and curl the two points in opposite
- Step 5: Making Scrolls
Each of the scroll shapes starts with one or more windings.
Pinching and curling are also used to form the shapes. Practice
making each shape before trying a quilling project.
Heart scroll: Pinch the paper strip in the middle. Wind each end
toward the middle. The coils are allowed to spring apart and are
usually left unglued.
The scroll may be glued where the coils meet.
V scroll: Pinch the paper strip in the middle. Wind each end away from the
crease. A closed V scroll can be made by gluing the middle of the V together.
S scroll: Wind one end of the paper strip just past the center. Release and turn
the strip. Wind the other end just past the center, and release.
V: Fold a very short strip of paper in half. Curl the ends away from
- Step 6: Using Coils and Scrolls
The real art of quilling is when you combine a variety of
quilling shapes to make pictures and decorations. Make six eye
coils or teardrop coils and glue them together to form a flower
with a tight coil center, or make a vine
with a strip of green paper and several teardrop coils. The
possibilities for combinations are endless.
Assemble your designs on wax paper, using a toothpick to apply the
glue. After a design is complete, you can use it to decorate anything—
a gift tag, card, picture, pendant, napkin ring, jewelry box, etc. Use
glue to attach your decoration.
Tip: For your first coils, start with 1/8" paper
strips that are 4" to 6" long and form closed coils that are
3/8" to 1/2" in diameter. The closed coils can be shaped into
teardrop, eye, petal or leaf shapes and combined to form any number
- Step 7: Quilling Projects
Choose the quilling project pattern that you want to use. Each
pattern lists the width, length, and color of the required paper
strips, the shapes used, and an outline of the pattern. Make the
shapes and assemble the design. These projects are just some simple
examples of how to use quilling. After you complete these projects, you
can come up with your own ideas and designs. One of the favorite
uses of quilling is as a border on a mat or to decorate
calligraphy. It can also be used to create three-dimensional figures and
miniatures. Quilling's uses are endless!
Note: All of Aunt Annie's quilling projects are designed for
a toothpick winder, except for the chick in the Creatures project. It
uses a pencil as a winder for the head and the body. Younger
children will find these projects easier to do with a round
pencil winder. When using a pencil, make the strips for the
snowflakes ¼" wide and double the suggested lengths.
Tip: If you don't have colored paper, color the coils
after the design is complete. Just go over the top edge of each coil
and scroll with the color needed.
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The
Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter size paper (8.5"x11" or A4).
When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
That's it! Have fun quilling!