Quilling for beginners

Quilling for beginners

Quilling, or paper twisting, is the art of creating three–dimensional or flat products from long narrow paper strips twisted into spirals (they are also called modules, rolls). It is believed that it was invented in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. According to legend, the Mediterranean monks cut off the gold trimmings from the book pages and twisted them in a bizarre way to make decorations for temples.

Despite its apparent simplicity, this is a very interesting activity that requires perseverance, scrupulousness, and opens up huge spaces for creativity. You will be able not only to decorate the usual things with unusual decor, but also to create unique interior items and small things. Try it and see for yourself: quilling will make your life brighter, more comfortable.

Types of quilling

There are two directions: Korean and European schools. The first is characterized by complex three-dimensional compositions consisting of many small details. All elements are always performed manually, without using any tools, and are combined into one thinnest pattern. European craftsmen usually use a special rod and stencils for twisting paper modules-rolls. The compositions are laconic and consist of a small number of elements. Depending on the technique, there are several types of quilling.


Strips and finished elements are fixed on the basis of pre-planned lines. This technique is also called graphic quilling. The contours of the drawing can be outlined in separate strips or closed completely or partially with rolls of different colors and sizes. A cut-out silhouette is also often taken as a basis. The finished drawing turns out elegant and airy. Thus, you can even create a landscape:

Volumetric quilling

Implies the creation of three-dimensional figures and objects. From the strips, several dozen rolls of various shapes are pre-twisted, and then connected together in a certain order. As a result, the product looks lacy and weightless.


This is a kind of volumetric quilling. The elements are twisted from micro-corrugated cardboard. It bends easily, holds its shape well and is much more convenient to work with than ordinary paper. The characteristic ribbing gives the product a beautiful texture.

Husking, alternate side looping

In this technique, all elements are twisted on the basis of a loop. To give the details the desired shape, the masters usually use a stencil. Most often, hosting is used for laying out plant drawings.

Bee hive

The essence of this technique is that the empty space is filled with curlicues from one long strip of paper, and not from short segments, as it may seem at first glance. Curls are made tight or more or less loose, depending on how much they should eventually straighten out inside the contour. An example of the work can be seen in the video:

What is made of quilling?

You can twist anything from paper strips: from simple toys for kids to complex art panels. So, what can you do in the quilling technique?

Design inscriptions and drawings on postcards, invitations, wall panels
Decor for scrapbooking
Seasonal and festive decorations
Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry
Funny toys and souvenirs
Interior items: organizers, candlesticks, stands, caskets, photo frames, storage boxes, vases and various little things that help organize the space and delight the eye


Quilling is good because it is available not only to adults, but also to kids. This kind of needlework is able to captivate the whole family. You will spend a lot of time creating interesting, beautiful crafts and compositions.

What is needed for quilling?

For paper spinning, you will need the following materials and tools:

narrow paper strips;
thick paper or thin cardboard for the base;
awl for torsion;
transparent glue (pencil or PVA) and toothpicks for its application;
scissors with sharp tips;
tweezers – needed to hold the strips during gluing;
ruler-stencil with cork base;
pencil – will help to form an element of the desired shape;
pins – to secure and align the roll in the stencil;
comb with long teeth;
crimper – necessary for paper corrugation.
Special paper – colored on both sides, plain or with patterns. It is available already cut into strips of different widths – from 2 mm to 7 mm.
The optimal density is 120-140 g / m2.
The recommended strip length is about 30 cm.

What is needed for quilling?

Of course, it is most convenient to use a ready-made set. But if some unusual detail is needed for the composition, then you can cut strips of double-sided paper, although this is quite a laborious task. In this case, you will need a breadboard knife and a special mat.

The base can be not only paper or cardboard. Often the elements are pasted directly on the surface to be decorated – a photo frame, a jewelry box, an album cover, etc.

The torsion awl is your main tool. At the end of the needle there is a special fork where the tip of the paper strip is inserted. This significantly facilitates and accelerates the process of twisting the rolls.

A special stencil ruler with holes of different shapes and sizes is necessary to create a large number of identical elements. With its help, the details are smooth, clear and neat. The cork base of the ruler allows you to fix the elements with pins when they are laid out.

To finish the work, you may need multi-colored floss, ribbons, eyes, spouts, beads and other decorative elements.

Basic shapes of parts

Before you start creating a masterpiece, be sure to learn how to do the basic elements of quilling. They are usually divided into two groups:

rolls are closed parts in which a paper strip is twisted into a spiral, and its tip is planted on glue;
scrolls are open–type elements that represent curls with a free tip.

Quilling compositions are made mostly from rolls, which explains the variety of such elements. Let’s tell you in more detail how to make their basic forms.

Basic shapes of parts

Tight roll. Insert the end of the strip into the “fork”, twist the paper as tightly as possible around the rod in an even spiral and fix the second tip with glue. The larger the desired diameter of the roll, the longer the paper strip will be required. If you need a three-dimensional detail, gently press down on the middle, you will get a cone.

Loose roll. Twist the strip around the rod, remove it and place it in the hole of the desired size on the ruler. Holding with your finger, let the roll straighten out and only then fix the second tip with glue, helping yourself with tweezers.

Eye. Make and align the loose roll. Now take the workpiece by the opposite tips and flatten them slightly. It is important that the curls inside do not jump out in different directions. Press harder, giving them the shape of an eye. Glue the free tip.

Rhomb. Twist the eye. Turn the workpiece 90°. Squeeze the remaining rounded sides, giving the details a diamond shape.

Square. It is performed in exactly the same way as the rhombus, but all sides of the figure must be perpendicular and equal to each other.

A drop. Make a loose roll. Without removing it from the stencil, carefully move the center of the spiral to the side with tweezers or a rod. Take out the roll, squeeze it from the “empty” side (opposite to the displaced center) and form a drop tail. It’s great if the tail and the bent edge match.

Arrow. Twist the drop. Press the rounded side inwards with your finger or pencil and smooth the folds so that the lines are clear.

Sheet. Twist the drop. Press the tail, make it sharper and clearer, and then bend slightly to the side and down, slightly squeeze the rounded part of the element on the sides.

Triangle. Make a drop. Take the part by the tail and at the same time press on the lower rounded part. Finally, form three clear corners by pressing hard with two fingers on the adjacent sides.

Tulip. Twist the loose roll and remove it from the stencil. Press the upper side slightly inward with a pencil, clamping the edges. Fix the tip.

A semicircle. Make a loose roll, take it out of the stencil. Press one of the sides hard with your finger and align. If you press harder and sharpen the formed corners, you will get a crescent moon.

As we have already said, scrolls have loose tips, and their shapes differ only in the size and location of the curls.

S-scroll. Twist half of the paper strip into a tight roll to one side. Twist the remaining part of the strip into a tight roll already in the other direction. Now slightly loosen both spirals. The tips do not need to be fixed. The finished element should resemble the letter S.

V-scroll. Bend the strip in the middle. Now twist each half into a tight roll in the opposite direction from the fold. Dismiss. The finished part should have the shape of the letter V with beautiful curlicues at the tips.

Heart. It is performed exactly the same as the previous scroll, only the spirals are twisted towards the fold line. The curls should look at each other. To give the details the correct shape, use a stencil.

Curl. With the help of a rod, the strip is twisted into a tight roll, leaving the “tail” free. Next, take out the tool and let the scroll unfold freely. The blank should resemble a comma.

A twig. Bend the strip so that one part is about 2 times shorter than the other. Twist the tips into small rolls and dissolve.

Scrolls are used mainly for decorating compositions. They give them lightness, grace and a finished look. More details on how to make the basic elements of quilling are shown in the video

Quilling technique

As an example, let’s look at how to make a small panel with a floral pattern.

Take paper strips of several colors, for example, pink – for flower petals, green – for leaves, yellow – for the middle of the flower and curls.

First we will make the petals. To do this, you need 5 “drop” elements of pink stripes. To make them the same size and shape, use a stencil.

For the leaves, take strips of green, preferably short. Twist them into diamond-shaped rolls. It is not necessary to sharpen the corners. If the elements turn out to be different in size, it’s okay: such “leaves” look more natural. Make five large leaves and five smaller ones.

From one yellow strip, twist a tight roll. From the rest – make any scrolls to your liking. Now that all the elements are ready, it’s time to glue them to the base. You can apply an approximate arrangement of details on it in advance with a thin, hard pencil. This will simplify the work.

Apply a thin layer of glue to the middle of the flower on one side and press it tightly to the base.
Attach the petals and leaves in the same way. Arrange the curls as your imagination tells you.

Put the work on a flat horizontal surface and let the glue dry well. That’s all.

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