Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Take a Break: Quilling (paper curling)

With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, the next several posts will focus on activities to enjoy and share.

Also known as paper curling or paper filigree, the origins of quilling are not known. It most likely started in China or Egypt shortly after the invention of paper. It’s a technique that’s been around for many centuries but came to the forefront in the 15th and 16th centuries, when European nuns used the torn edges from bibles and goose feathers to quill and decorate religious articles. The term “quilling” comes from the practice of wrapping paper around goose quilles. To learn more about the history, go to Paper Quilling.

The quilling tool is not very expensive and it will make it easier in the long run. However, to get started, and to see if you like it, use a pencil, knitting needle or thin crochet hook. I can remember “quilling” paper around a pencil, using a scrap of paper from an old test, in grade school, while I pretended to be listening to the teacher. Pre cut quilling paper is also available, but you can cut your own 1/8 or 1/4 inch strips. Most patterns give instructions on the length and size of paper you will need.

As with most craft projects, there are now all sorts of things on the market-quilling boards, special glues etc. However, the basics are simple, long strips of paper are wound around a tool, released, push into a desired shape, and then a tiny dab of glue is used to keep it from unraveling. Putting several of the coils together can form a flower, animal or anything you choose. You can even make letters using quilling techniques.

Quilling Instructions

An Introduction to Quilling Video

Paper Quilling Resources: Includes a variety of projects to try as well as instructions.

Quilled Valentines and Cards from Martha Stewart

Quilled Valentine Heart Pattern: Note that there are lots of other free designs at this blog.

Snowflake Quilling Video: As part of making the snowflake, good instructions on making heart shaped paper scrolls.

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