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Paper quilling
Quilling Shapes
3D Lion

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 that make up designs to decorate greetings cards, pictures, boxes, eggs, and to make models, jewelry, 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.


Although its exact origins are a mystery the art of quilling is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt by the nuns. More recently quilling has been practiced as an art form in Renaissance France/Italy as well as in 18th century England[1] During the Renaissance, French and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items. The paper most commonly used was strips of paper trimmed from the gilded edges of books. These gilded paper strips were then rolled to create the quilled shapes. Quilling often imitated the original ironwork of the day.[2] In the 18th century, quilling became popular in Europe where gentle ladies of quality ("ladies of leisure") practiced the art. It was one of the few things ladies could do that was thought not too taxing for their minds or gentle dispositions. Quilling also spread to the Americas and there are a few examples from Colonial times.[3]

Many quilled art can be found on cabinets and stands, cribbage boards, ladies' purses, a wide range of both pictures and frames, work baskets, tea caddies, coats of arms and wine coasters. Storage boxes, larger than most jewelry boxes with drawers and/or tops that opened, quilled lock boxes, and more popular is quilling jewelry in recent times became a trend for fashion lovers, as they can be very light and easy to carry on them. Some items were specially designed for quilling with recessed surfaces. Quilling was also combined or married with other techniques such as embroidery and painting.[4]

Today, quilling is seeing a resurgence in popularity. It is sometimes used for decorating wedding invitations, for Christmas, birth announcements, greeting cards, scrapbook pages, and boxes. Quilling can be found in art galleries in Europe and in the United States and is an art that is practiced around the world.[5]


Quilling is relatively easy to learn compared to most other crafts, and with the resources available today, it can be learned by almost everyone. Basic quilling techniques can be learned almost anywhere and there are several videos online to teach how to start quilling.[6] There are more exotic styles of quilling that aren't commonly taught, but can be learned through books that teach the specific style.[7]


Slotted tool[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Crimper Tool

This tool is used to make crimped quilling strips. It helps to create different patterns. it is used to curl the sheets

Paper types[edit]

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.[8] 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 a comparatively lighter color on the other side. With two-tone paper the color remains the same, however, the intensity of the 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.


  1. ^ "The History of Quilling". The Mighty Quill. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  2. ^ "The History of Quilling". The Quilling Guild. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  3. ^ Finding antique quilling. The Quilling Guild.
  4. ^ "Quilling paper and book art". Pin Interest. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  5. ^ Alli Bartkowski (2005). "History of Paper Quilling". Quilled Creations. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  6. ^ Art and Craft:Basic quilling shapes for beginners, Simple Quilling Ideas
  7. ^ "Quilling Books from Quilled Creations". www.quilledcreations.com. Retrieved 2015-08-13.
  8. ^ Alli Bartkowski (2005). "Quilling Papers". Quilled Creations. Retrieved 2008-03-03.

Further reading[edit]

  • Papp, Melinda Florian; Papp, William James, Rolled, Scrolled, Crimped, and Folded: The Lost art of Filigree Paperwork, New York: Florian Papp, OCLC 473586647 - 50 pages of information and pictures of antique works of art.

External links[edit]


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