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Paper Ornaments. What is quilling?

Paper Ornaments. What is quilling?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Although our lives are dominated by technology, so that many things we do not have to do ourselves, handicrafts are experiencing a renaissance, and many knitting techniques come back to us from the past.

This is exactly the case with quilling or paper filigree – a papermaking technique that was born in Europe as early as in the fifteenth century. According to legend, monks from the Mediterranean Sea used to cut golden edges from the pages of books and twist them in a fanciful way to create ornaments for temples.

Quilling literally means “to wind on a feather or tube,” and owes its name to the bird feathers whose tips were used to twist the various elements of a piece. Today, this technique is becoming increasingly popular with people who want to do something creative and imaginative.

Where to start?

Quilling is the art of creating volumetric or flat products from long narrow strips of paper twisted into spirals (also called modules, rolls).

Like any other knitting technique, this one also requires the right tools and materials to work with. You will need:

  • narrow strips of paper – they are available ready-made, with different widths (from 2 mm to 7 mm), the optimal paper weight is 120-140 g/m², the recommended length of the strip is about 30 cm;
  • thick paper or thin cardboard for the base;
  • quilling needle – at the end of the needle there is a special groove, into which the end of the strip of paper is inserted. This makes it much easier and faster to twist the rolls;
  • transparent glue and toothpicks to apply it;
  • scissors with sharp tips;
  • tweezers – to hold the strips while gluing;
  • aruler-template with holes of different shapes and sizes, it is necessary to create a large number of identical elements;
  • cork stand;
  • pencil-helps form the piece into the desired shape;
  • pins – for attaching and aligning the rolls in the template;
  • long-tooth comb – used in the husking technique;
  • conical molds;
  • crimping iron – necessary when you want to achieve unique effects by crimping strips.

Types of quilling

There are two main trends in the art of quilling: the Korean (Eastern) and European school. The first is characterized by complex volumetric compositions, consisting of many small details. All elements are always made by hand, without tools, and combined into a single pattern. European craftsmen usually use a special awl and templates to twist paper modules-roles. The compositions are usually simple and consist of a small number of elements.

Depending on the working technique used, there are several types of quilling:

  1. Volumetric consists in the fact that spatial figures are created from paper. First single elements are made, and then they are combined into a whole and give the desired form.
  2. Husking – with this technique small details are created, which are arranged in a paper mosaic on a plane. All the pieces are twisted at the base of the loop. A technique used to create postcards, portraits, floral motifs, etc.
  3. Contour – finished pieces are attached to the base along pre-planned lines. This technique is also called graphic quilling.
  4. Corrugated Quilling – is a type of volumetric variation that uses corrugated strips of paper to create forms and figures.
  5. Beehive – The blank space is filled with rolls of one long strip of paper rather than many short ones.

What can you make with the help of quilling?

You can twist anything from simple children’s toys to complex artistic compositions out of strips of paper. So what can you do using the quilling technique:

  • designer inscriptions and drawings on postcards, invitations, murals;
  • decorations for scrapbooking;
  • jewelry – earrings, necklaces, bracelets;
  • fun toys;
  • home decor items: organizers, candle holders, coasters, caskets, photo frames, storage boxes, vases, and various small things that help organize your space.

Quilling has a positive effect on the development of hand motor skills – a great benefit for both children and the elderly. In addition, it helps to exercise concentration and attention. At the same time, it is a handicraft that does not require a lot of money, and allows you to create unusual and delightful works.

Main photo: AntonellaD/

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