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Introduction to Paper Quilling

Introduction to Paper Quilling

Paper quilling is the art of rolling, shaping, gluing and decorating strips of paper. This craft is also called paper filigree or simply quilling. You do need a tool called a quill to create the basic coiled shape to the paper. You then glue the paper at the top and shape the coils to form various designs, such as flowers, leaves and other different decorative designs.

This decorative method of using paper dates back to the Renaissance, when nuns used the coiled paper designs to decorate book covers, bookmarks and religious items. At this time the most commonly used type of paper was the gilded edges of the pages of books. The nuns coiled the small strips of these gilded edges to try to imitate the iron latticework of the time period. It was an art practiced by ladies in the 18th century and was one of the techniques that young girls of wealthy households were required to learn as part of their studies. The colonists brought the art with them when they emigrated to America. Most of the quilled paper designs that have been preserved are of religious artwork.

The art of quilling did die out for a time, but has recently become a very popular craft. This is because of the low cost of the paper supplies needed to make different designs to decorate invitations and boxes and especially pages of scrapbooks, with the increased interest in scrapbooking.

The tools you need to get started in quilling are very basic – strips of paper, something to wind the strips around and glue. The strips of paper can be cut in widths of 1/8 inch to I inch, but most people use 1/8 inch strips. You can choose the paper in whatever weight you want, but the standard is construction paper, which comes in a variety of colors. The winding tool can be a toothpick or a needle, but you can also visit a craft store to buy a specially designed quill.
Other tools that you need include sharp scissors for cutting the paper and a ruler to ensure that you cut all the strips the same size. You can cover a piece of corrugated cardboard with wax paper, rather than use the top of the table, This will keep the glue from getting onto the table. You should also have a damp cloth close at hand for wiping the glue off your fingers.
Some of the simple designs you can start out with include:

– A V-shape design which involves folding the strip of paper in half and rolling the ends of the outside of the paper around the quill. You have to roll the paper away from the inner crease.
– Feelers involve rolling only part of the strip of paper. You leave the rest of the strip straight. You can make this design by folding the strip in half or by using an in-folded strip.
– Coiling the paper either loosely or very tightly around the quill can make a peacock eye. You can form a petal in the same way by bending the pinched part to one side.