Adventures in….. Paper Quilling.

Posted: January 12, 2012 in The Garage

Quilling, sometimes known as paper filigree, seems to have started in around the fifteenth century somewhere in the Mediterranean area, where poorer religious types used it as a means of decorating reliquaries and holy pictures. Basically, strips of paper torn from the edges of bibles were wound round goose quills to form coils of paper, which in turn, were pinched into various shapes and forms and then glued in to place to resemble gold filigree jewellery. As the art progressed, it was also used to decorate walls in place of expensive paintings and coats of arms and examples of decorated tea caddies, furniture and three dimensional work etc can be viewed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

If I’m absolutely honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to attempting this week’s craft. Not that I’ve got anything against it; It’s quite the opposite – I think paper quilling is absolutely stunning! It was just the thought of my ham-fisted self trying to do anything that’s so incredibly intricate and fine. Needless to say, I’ve spent much of the first half of this week acting like the Queen of Prevarication – finding time to complete all those really important household chores like ironing socks and dusting lightbulbs etc, rather than settling to the task in hand…… but today I plucked up the courage to have a go, locked myself away in the dining room for a few hours and finally came up with my second week’s offering.

Paper Quilled Hand by Giraffe & Zebra

No! I didn’t do the hand – If only I could; It’s beautiful isn’t it?

My first tentative steps were much more humble and involved admiring the gently curving, rainbow coloured paper strips, that are quite striking in themselves, and then staring in despair at my beginner’s quilling tool.

I’d been looking at  ‘The Craft of Quilling’ (Janet Wilson ISBN: 0 85532 797 9) for my initial inspiration, which said that it’s a good idea to start by making some samples. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to have a go at making a few paper coils and shapes which turned out to be not half as bad as I thought it would be – so then I decided to really go for it…

The basic shapes I made.

A fist full of quilling strips, some PVA glue and a short while later and I’d produced my first ever completed piece.

My first ever piece of paper quilling.

I’m going to use it as a Mother’s Day card – I’m over the moon with it! And now I can honestly say that the very mention of the word ‘quilling’ no longer fills me with fear OR trepidation; It’s brilliant! I’ve had so many ideas for projects I could use it for in the future; I just need to find some time to sit down after the next 50 weeks before I get the chance to really give it the time it deserves 😉

The glue's still wet but I couldn't wait to take a picture!

Why not have a go yourself? Or seasoned quillers may like to try an advanced project like this gorgeous 3D Lion.

Three Dimensional Quilling

The full PDF instructions for this project are available to download free at


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