Quilling with Adelina is a series about the art of quilling. In this series Adelina will write about a variety of topics, from the basics to quilling to pro tips!
My first quilling attempt was a little green frog with white bulky eyes. I believe I was the only one in the house who saw a frog in it – by the way, I had to make the black dots in the center of the eyes with a marker, I didn’t even know how to use two colors in one coil – and it was, of course, full of… glue. Call it a muddy frog, I don’t mind and I am not ashamed to admit that my first quilling pieces were terrible.
I am now aware that I didn’t know many things back then. If I had taken into account these 5 tips, perhaps I would have done much better from the beginning. But you know what they say, better later than never. So here we go:
1. Start with a basic outline of your project
It doesn’t have to be an artistic photo – I’m not that good at drawing either – but rather a sketch of the general shape. Whether it’s a flower or a bird, a tree or a bee, whatever you have in mind, put it on paper. I believe you can even Google for some sketches, print them and use them as a guidance outline. That should help you have a better image of how to split tasks. What shapes will you need, what colors, what sizes, how many – you get the point.
2. With the sketch in mind, set up all the pieces
Bring all your shapes to the table before you start assembling them. This strategy will allow you to set up a rhythm for rolling paper, pinching and crimping it and ultimately gluing it to create all the shapes you need for your project. Once you are done with it, you can leave aside the monotonous part of rolling paper and focus on the most exciting part: bringing the puzzle pieces together.
3. Do not try to make everything from quilling
Depending on the complexity of your project, you might try to skip some steps. If it’s a large flower with lots of leaves you can reduce its volume by drawing the leaves and creating the petals from coils. Or if you are trying to create a sort of landscape, you can draw the background or the shadows of the objects, to make it more real. Feel free to add other paper pieces or even fabric pieces into the scene. I once made an origami lily (yes, I eventually learned how to make them) and decorated its petals with tiny quilling shapes.
4. Precision lies in… tweezers and toothpicks
These two little instruments will help you handle even the tiniest coils and apply glue in the tightest places, without putting too much of it on your fingers. The tweezers are also great for shaping the coils because you fix one end (the one where you put the glue) with it and pinch the other end to give it the desired shape.
5. There are tools that can help you keep the proportions
Sometimes, even when you cut the paper strips equally, you might roll some of them tighter than others. Or you might allow some of them to loosen up more than others. In the end, you might have several pieces of the same shape but different sizes. You can easily overcome such problems by using a circle sizer ruler and a mini mold. The first one will allow you to control how much the coils will loosen and the second one will allow you to curb your coils just the right way. Have a look at them and you will convince yourself!