Paper Quilling Tips for Beginners

Eight Tips to Help You Become a Paper Quilling Pro

hands shaping a quilled design on a sheet of paper

Ruth Jenkinson / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Paper quilling, also called paper filigree, is a papercraft that has been popular since the 15th century. This paper art has experienced a resurgence in popularity during the last couple of years.
You can find paper quilling incorporated into scrapbooking, cardmaking, monograms, paper flowers, jewelry and even into pieces of wall art. It is incredible how you can make complicated shapes and patterns from simple paper strips and glue!

Although the hobby is relatively easy to master, beginners may find the following tips and tricks helpful on their paper quilling journey.

  • 01 of 08

    Use Pre-cut Paper Strips for Your First Projects

    quilling paper strips
    MirageC/Moment/Getty Images

    Use pre-cut paper quilling strips for your first projects. Your initial attempts will have better results if you use precise machine-cut papers. Once you are comfortable with basic paper quilling techniques, you can cut your paper strips and explore your creativity by experimenting with more advanced methods.

  • 02 of 08

    Start With Small Paper Quilling Projects

    Paper Quilling earrings
    By Dewni

    Start with smaller sized projects first. You can quickly become overwhelmed when trying to tackle a craft project that is too complicated or too large. Small projects can promote feelings of success and accomplishment and can be the building blocks the help you master your skills one step at a time. Once you have mastered the basics, you can attempt complicated projects with ease.

  • 03 of 08

    Use the Right Paper Quilling Tools

    paper quilling tools
    Lesley Magno/Creative RF/Getty Images

    It's important to choose your quilling tools thoughtfully. You don't need to buy any expensive tools to create paper filigree art initially—a toothpick or bamboo skewer will roll paper strips adequately. If you are bitten by the paper quilling bug and wish to continue, you should purchase a slotted quilling tool and a needle tool.

    You can place the strip of paper into the upper slot of the slotted tool, giving you more control when rolling the paper strips. A needle device is a sizeable tapered needle with a long wooden handle. It helps you keep a steady hand when rolling strips of paper into various shapes. Both tools are quite helpful when you are working on large, complicated paper quilling projects.

  • 04 of 08

    Have a Light Touch When Using Glue with Paper Quilling

    hands shaping a quilled design on a sheet of paper
    Ruth Jenkinson/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    When gluing your rolled paper shapes, always remember to use glue sparingly. Too much glue can quickly ruin your project, which you may have worked on for hours. You can avoid the hassle of starting a project over with a little bit of caution. You can always add a bit more adhesive if necessary, but you cannot remove excess glue. Remember the design rule "Less Is More."

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Paper Quilling Patterns

    chinese traditinal pattern

    Some beginners find using a premade quilling pattern quite helpful when first starting out. There are hundreds of paper quilling patterns available for purchase or free to download on the internet. These printable patterns can guide beginners and help them build their skills.

    All you have to do is place the printed pattern under a sheet of waxed paper and follow the suggestions. You will quickly have a quilling masterpiece that you will be proud to give as a gift or display in your home.

  • 06 of 08

    Master the Basic Paper Quilling Shapes

    quilling shape board

    Learn the basic shapes before working on a paper quilling project. It can be quite helpful to make a master page of basic paper quilling shapes.

    Glue different shapes to a piece of cardboard to use as a reference sheet when working on various projects. The guide serves as both a reference and an inspiration source.

  • 07 of 08

    Paper Quilling Circle Sizing Board

    circle sizing board
    By Dewni

    A circle sizing board is a tool you definitely will find useful. It is a sheet of plastic that has predrilled holes of various shapes and sizes. Use the holes to help you roll the paper quilling shapes.

    The circle sizing board will help you will always have consistency in your paper quilling shapes. This board is a tool you won't want to be without and will use again and again.

  • 08 of 08

    Acetate Sheet

    package of acetate sheets
    Dick Blick Art Materials

    Build your paper quilling rolled shape onto a sheet of acetate. It is strong enough to give your glued quilled shapes stability. After the glue has dried, you can pull your quilled piece up off the sheet without damage. Just wash the leftover adhesive from the acetate sheet and reuse for your next project.

Paper Quilling Closing Thoughts

These are just a few tips to help you get started on your paper quilling journey. Remember that it will take awhile to master the craft, so be patient with yourself and practice. You will find that if you keep at it, you will amaze yourself with your progress. You will soon be making pieces of quilling art that are beautiful and will be treasured by you and everyone you give a paper quilling project as a gift.