Paper quilling is the art of rolling up strips of paper to produce decorative shapes. Here’s how to use it to create lovely Christmas cards
What is quilling?
Quilling has been practised for centuries, but it’s only in recent years that a choice of narrow paper strips have been readily available for use in this craft technique. Quilling paper strips are available in 3mm, 5mm and 1cm widths, or you can cut your own from a sheet of paper, either using a ruler and craft knife, a guillotine or a paper shredder.
Use the different widths and lengths of paper, then once they are rolled into coils they can be shaped into squares, diamonds, triangles, hearts, teardrops hearts and swirls.
You can buy specialist quilling tools, which have a protruding dowel with a slot to slip your paper strip into to start coiling. The tools are available with different depths to match the width of paper. The protruding dowels also differ in width so you can vary the size of the hole in the centre of the coil.
But don’t worry if you don’t have the specialist tools for quilling, you can improvise by wrapping the paper round a cocktail stick, which is what we’ve done for our project
Practice rolling strips of paper into coils using a cocktail stick. Twirl the stick with one hand, keeping the strip in place with the other, keeping it tight until you come to the end of the strip.
Slip the coil off then use another cocktail stick to apply a little glue to the open end. To make a relaxed coil, wind first onto the cocktail stick, then leave it to loosen, wind a bit more, leave to loosen and so on.
Experiment with the relaxed coils to make different shapes.
How to make the paper quilling shapes
Fold a strip in half, twist one end round a cocktail stick then roll loosely by hand until you have created one half of a heart. Repeat this step on the other end, rolling the strip in the opposite direction.
For all three paper quilling cards, you will need
- Strips of paper
- Cocktail stick
- PVA glue
How to make a mint green snowflake paper quilling card
We used 5mm-wide strips and a 15 x 10.5cm grey card blank
You will need
- 12 x 30cm mint green strips
- 6 x 30cm mint green strips
- 6 x 20cm grey strips
- 6 x 15cm mint green strips
- Roll six tight coils from mint paper, glue and set to one side. Roll six loose coils, glue then pinch them to make diamonds.
- Apply a little glue to the edges of the six diamonds and stick them together to form the snowflake. Glue six tight coils in between each diamond.
- Repeat to make the medium snowflake, using grey paper to make the tight coils.
- Finally make the tiny snowflake and glue all three snowflakes to the front of the card.
Top tip: Using a pair of tweezers can help when picking up your coils and gluing them in place.
How to make a white snowflake paper quilling card
We used 1cm-wide strips, a 10.5cm square lilac card blank and a 8cm square piece of mint green paper.
You will need
- 14 x 30cm white strips
- Roll five tight coils, glue and set to one side. Roll five loose coils, glue then pinch them to make eye shapes.
- Glue all five eye shapes together to form the snowflake. Then glue the five tight coils in between each eye shape.
- Roll a further four loose coils and pinch to make them into teardrops.
- Glue the snowflake to the centre of the mint green paper and a teardrop in each corner. Then glue to the front of the lilac card front.
How to make a blue, white and grey snowflake paper quilling card
We used a combination of 1cm-wide and 5mm-wide strips, a 15cm square pale blue card blank and a 10cm square piece of metallic blue paper.
You will need
- 6 x 30cm white strips (1cm-wide)
- 6 x 20cm blue strips (5mm)
- 1 x 10cm blue strip (5mm)
- 6 x 20cm grey strips (5mm)
- Roll three tight grey coils, and three tight blue coils, glue and set to one side. Roll six loose white coils, glue then pinch into teardrops.
- Roll the shorter strip of blue paper into a tight coil, glue, then stick the white teardrops around the edge. Then glue alternating grey and blue coils in between the six teardrops.
- Make three loose grey hearts and three loose blue hearts. Glue the coils of the hearts to the snowflake, so the points of the hearts face out.
- Stick the snowflake centrally on the blue metallic paper, then stick to the card front.