Quilling (also called paper filigree) is an easy paper craft that requires minimal tools. It produces amazing results which can be used for decorating birth announcements, wedding invitations, and greeting cards. Quilled papers can also be used to decorate small boxes, or made into jewelry or refrigerator magnets. Large, composite projects can be framed and presented as stand-alone art.
The art of twirling paper started during the Renaissance when nuns decorated bibles and religious texts with swirly strips of paper. Back then, they used feathers (quills) for writing and it is believed that they rolled the strips of paper around the quill – thus the term “quilling”.
When paper became more readily available, upper-class ladies would quill the same way they would embroider. Scrolled and rolled papers were used to decorate screens, cabinets, baskets, coasters and the like. Elaborate quilling artwork from the 1700’s can be found in museums.
Quilling requires very few tools. For a beginner, you will need strips of paper, a slotted quilling tool, and glue. However, as with any craft, you begin to desire more tools as your projects progress in complexity. For example, serious quilling enthusiasts will use a circle template, a cork board, pins, forceps, scissors, and a quilling fringer.
- see full explanation of quilling tools and supplies here
Unlike origami, quilling is very easy to learn. Once you’ve spend an hour doing it you can launch into other projects without further instructions. Books will give you creative ideas and specialized techniques, but the basic quilling method is all that you need to get going.
Quilling Book Review
Noteworthy and Different
Check out this amazing “Architectural Quilling” project by Allison Patrick. And she’s not even an expert quiller. Read more here.
It’s not all sugar ‘n spice and everything nice. Quilling has even made it to Noah Scalin’s skull-a-day blogspot. It’s a great idea as a Halloween decoration, and of course, for those who love skulls.