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!
Good quality paper is essential for great quilling pieces. You might have an improvised needle, shaky hands or bad glue and still make something ok if the paper strips are good. Yet if you are missing this one, chances are you won’t make something to proudly show others – trust me, been there, done that too…
So here are a few questions you might have, as a beginner, and the answers that I found, through time:
What kind of paper can I use for quilling?
Quilling is all about rolling paper so any kind of paper could work. Of course, it would have to have straight, even edges and a certain thickness – that way, your coils will look even. As you will soon discover, you can buy pre-cut paper strips, in different colors and sizes, or you can make your own strips. If you are starting out, I would advise you to spend some time to make the strips and practice with the cheaper paper. Once you become more confident, you can start buying it, so you will only focus on the crafting, not the supplies.
If you do a little research, you will be amazed of how many options you have. Paper can be in plain colors or with metallic shades, pearlized or vellum, gilded-on-edge or parchment and even in graduated colors. Sizes vary from 1/16 inch the narrowest models up to 1 inch! With practice and by trying different options, you will notice that dedicated quilling paper is softer yet a bit heavier compared to computer paper.
Can I and should I cut my own paper strips?
Of course, you can! In the world of quilling, you are allowed to make as many mistakes as you can… Just kidding, making your own paper strips is possible and many prefer to do so. I am lazy and I have never done it, I prefer spending some money on the pre-cut models rather than spending so much time with the paper cutting. Plus, I get to use all those fancy models I previously mentioned, which doesn’t apply to cutting strips from computer paper.
You should cut the strips by yourself if you do not want or afford to spend more on paper or if you are not satisfied with the quality of the paper available at the local craft stores – though nowadays you can go online and order from Lake City, Paplin, Quilled Creations, J.J. Quilling Designs and many more! Heck, you can even subscribe to online stores and hunt down offers as soon as they show.
What do I need to make my own strips?
If you are determined to take this path, you should know that there are different ways to do it:
- You can use computer paper, measure, mark the strips, and cut them with a pair of scissors or with a cutter and a ruler;
- You can use lined paper and cut the strips with the scissors or the cutter;
- You can use computer paper and a paper shredder;
- You can use computer paper and… a pasta machine with linguini cutter!
Whatever you use, make sure you also have a dedicated storage space so they won’t tangle or crumble together.
How do I store my paper?
The key with storing quilling paper is to give it space. The more you try to squeeze it in a tight bag, the worse it will get. Storage options vary, however, depending on how much space you have available:
- Transparent plastic drawers, the kind you use for storing thin folders;
- Transparent plastic bags, with labels;
- Plastic containers sectioned on the inside;
- Wire hangers, especially if you have pre-cut paper strips glued on one end;
- A binder ring if you are having different pre-cut paper packages;
- A binder clip;
- Several cardboard boxes.
Anything else I should know when ordering paper?
Actually, yes! Make sure that the packages you order are labeled as acid-free. This special treatment that the quilling paper gets guarantees that it will keep its color through time. Especially if you are planning to craft something to last for years, like a photo frame, you will want an acid-free paper.