Quilling with Adelina: The First Steps To Quilling – Instruments, Techniques And Shapes

Quilling Board

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!

So the internet is full of amazing quilled figurines… You have been drooling over them for days before you decided you want to wow your friends and family with such crafting. Nevertheless, as I soon discovered – and so will you – watching is the easiest part. Getting started can be tricky, especially if you do not have the right instruments. Here is what practice has taught me:

  • For starters, you only need a few basic tools, not everything that you see online;
  • Sometimes, especially when it comes to paper, making your own strips could be better;
  • If you have the tools and you master the basic shapes, everything else is just practice and creativity;
  • Moreover, you really need to have fun throughout the process!

If you are just starting out you really need the following three instruments:

The paper strips – you can buy them or make your own strips. Packages vary depending on dimensions (1/8”, 1/16”, 1/2″, 1/4″ and even 3/8”) and colors. As a beginner, you might want to start with a common width, 1/8”, and a multi-colored package.

Quilling paper and needle

The curling tool – you roll the paper strips with it. The rockies should go for a slotted tool since the slotted end of this instrument allows them to fix the paper easier than with a classic needle tool. Once your hand will get used to it, however, you can try the quilling needle or improvise with a hat pin, a corsage pin or even a round toothpick – whatever you find around the house.

The glue – this is the final ingredient that gives those curled paper strips stability and binds them into amazing crafts. Options are countless and the basic rule is to pick something that dries clear. Through testing, in time, you will be able to pick your favorite quilling glue.

I, for one, am still working with the slotted tool. I find it more comfortable, even though it sometimes bugs me to destroy coils because I am accidentally taking out their centerpiece. Also with the strips, I still buy them, despite that I could make my own strips, with a manual paper shredder.

What I bought extra, however, are the following tools:

  • A small corkboard to avoid handling the glue and everything else straight on my desk;
  • A ruler with circle sizer to create paper strips of equal sizes and to control how much the coils will loosen up;
  • A thin brush to handle the glue – I initially bought a special glue applier, with a thin metal head, but it rusted after I haven’t used it for a few days;
  • Some straight pins to keep together different shapes when I am creating more complex designs on the corkboard;
  • Tweezers to better handle the tinniest quilling shapes;
  • A quilling comb so I can try new techniques and do more than rolling papers.

Quilling tools1

Once armed with the basic tools, you can experience the basic shapes:

Coil – the paper strip tightly rolled around the slotted tool and glued;
Scroll – the paper strip taken out of the slotted tool and allowed to expand;
Loose circle coil – the paper strip taken out of the slotted tool, allowed to expand, and then glued at its loose end;

The loose circle coil is the most interesting and versatile shape because you can create so many other forms out of it: teardrops and eyes, leaves, triangles, squares and the exquisite crescents.

A small pinch here, a small pinch there, and you have created an interesting form. Bring several interesting forms together and you have a butterfly, an owl or a hedgehog. Things are only now beginning to look interesting!

Quilling board image by Dewni

Written By

Adelina is a writer with a huge passion for quilling.

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