Beginners Guide to Quilling Art

Sample 3D quilling miniature

What is Quilling?

Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted and otherwise manipulated to create shapes which make up designs to decorate greetings cards, pictures, boxes, eggs, and to make models, jewellery, mobiles etc. Quilling starts with rolling a strip of paper into a coil and then pinching the coil into shapes that can be glued together. There are advanced techniques and different sized paper that are used to create 3D miniatures, abstract art, flowers and portraits among many things.

Quilling is relatively easy to learn compared to most other crafts, and with the resources available today, it can be learned by almost everyone.


Quilling is such a versatile art that you can use it anywhere. You can make quilled greeting cards, photo frames, name tags, invitations, scrapbooks. You can also use shapes made by quilling to decorate a box or a flower vase. Or simply you can take a beautiful sheet, make a quilling pattern on it and get it framed to be hanged. The list of its uses is endless. The creativity is yours. You can also make 3D models by quilling as the coiled paper is strong enough and does not get squashed.


Slotted tool

The slotted tool is the most important quilling tool as it makes curling coils much easier and faster. The quality of the coil is noticeably higher compared to a coil that was curled with a toothpick or hand. For younger children, it is recommended that a Curling Coach be used with the slotted tool.

Needle tool

The needle tool plays a supporting role in the craft. It is used primarily to apply glue to hard-to-reach areas of the coil or quilling design.


Tweezers are used to make delicate coils to prevent warping and unraveling. They keep the coils the same size which is important when making something with duplicate coils, like flower petals. Tweezers are also helpful in inserting paper in tight spaces.

Circle sizer ruler

The circle sizer ruler is not essential in making coils into a desired size after curling. The ruler on the side is used to measure each strip to ensure they are the same length before curling.

Curling coach

Curling coaches make a great complement tool for slotted tools and are recommended for younger kids and people who like to quill 3D miniatures. It makes curling the strips much faster and easier than if they were curled with just the slotted tool.

Crimper Tool

This tool is used to make crimped quilling strips. It helps to create different patterns.

Paper types

Quilling paper is available on the consumer market in over 250 colors and dimensions. It can be divided into various categories, like solid colored, graduated, two-tone, acid-free, and other assorted parcels of quilling paper. It is available in various dimensions, such as 1/8”, ¼” and 3/8″ or 3mm, 5mm, 7mm and 10mm paper parcels. 5mm being the most widely used size.


As the name clearly indicates this is a paper that is completely acid free. The quality makes it an outstanding choice for making scrapbooks, rubber stamping, and creating frames for pictures. It assures your project will last a lifetime, without any side effects on the framed picture or album.


This type of paper provides an exceptional look to decorative quilling projects. The edges have a solid color that gradually fades to white. When using a graduated paper, a quilling ring begins with a dark shade but ends up being faded to a lighter side. On the contrary, some graduated papers begin as white, or a lighter shade, and then slowly fades into a solid, darker color.


This is another important type of quilling paper. It is quite similar to the graduated quilling paper in its use. The look consists of a concrete color on one side and comparatively lighter color on the other side. With two-tone paper the color remains same, however the intensity of color is different. The main use of this quilling paper is to provide a desired level of softness to the quilled subject. It possesses the capacity to quill many papers in a single spiral.

OTHER THINGS NEEDED: You would need a pair of scissors for cutting the paper. A damp sponge or washcloth is helpful to keep your fingers free of glue and to moisten the strip when you start a coil. Tweezers that will help you pick up or place the smaller pieces into position.

These are the basic requirements for quilling. You can try decorating name tags, envelopes, cards, paintings etc. using quilling and make your stuff more attractive.

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