About Quilling

Quilling, also known as paper filigree, is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper and then shaping them to make the most exquisite designs, Projects can range from simple gift tags and cards to pictures, jewellery, three-dimensional models or the decoration of boxues. - The UK Quilling Guild

One of my quilling class student working on basic scrolls

(You could read more about the history of Quilling here http://quilling-guild.weebly.com/the-history-of-quilling.html )

To start quilling, you'll need the following:

1. Paper strips. 

They come in different colours and sizes. Some even have metallic surface for shining effect (specialty papers). For beginners, it's advisable to start practice using the standard 3mm wide quilling strips. These ready cut paper strips can be found from craft or art stores. They can be as long as 17", or even 24", depending on the brand. (I bought my first set online because our local stores do not sell them. Now I'm selling some basic quilling supplies locally online HERE .) Alternatively you can cut your paper manually. Do take note of the weight of paper. Ideally it should falls between the range of 80-110gsm to allow easy rolling.

From left to right: circle sizer, slotted tool, needle tool, fine tip tweezers. These are my first set of quilling tools and I still use the very same slotted and needle tool now.

2. Slotted tool and needle tool

The slotted tool and needle tool are used for curling the paper strips. The slotted tool grabs the end of the strips and you wind the paper into a coil by turning the handle. As for the needle tool, instead of turning the handle, you curl the strip around the needle. It is easier to work with the slotted tool (especially for beginners) but the needle tool could produce smaller center coils. These tools are available commercially but one can always find alternative tools. For self-made slotted tool, click here http://azlina-lin.blogspot.com/2010/07/handmade-bamboo-stick-quilling-tool.html and instead of buying a needle tool, you can always use a pin or round toothpick as substitute. But if you ask me, I would really recommend investing in a good slotted or needle tool as it lasts and it makes your rolling process easier. Finally, do remember that our fingers are F.O.C.!

3. Others

As for the circle sizer, it is basically a ruler to help you form uniform size coils and also for measurement of length of paper strips. Now I use a work board that comes with circle template (as shown in the following photo). There are a few corked work boards designed specially for quilling in the market. I used the quilling designer board from Lake City. Or you can always make one yourself, or use a self-healing cut mat or paperboard or styrofoam as long as it can help protect the surface of desk that you work on.

The fine tip tweezers will come in handy when you are working with smaller coils or scrolls. Other things that you'll need are glue, scissors (although most of the time we tear the strips for intended length) and straight pins (to hold your coils or curls when working on a pattern).  

(UPDATE: Read this piece that I wrote http://quillpaper.blogspot.com/p/faqs-by-beginners.html to help you plan what to get before you start quilling)

And it is worth practicing on some of the basic quilling shapes that form the foundation of this art. You can download the official shape chart by the North American Quilling Guild (NAQG) here http://www.naqg.org/accreditation/NAQGshapeChartFinal2010.pdf

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