Paper Quilling: Basic Techniques, Shapes and Designs

Updated on May 15, 2016
lady rain profile image

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and travels. She spends her weekends doing papercraft models and painting.


Paper quilling is also known as paper filigree. It is based on the technique of rolling narrow strips of paper into coils which are then arranged to form a decorative pattern. This form of art originated in England and has been practised for many centuries. In Europe, it was first used as decorations in churches and on many religious items until the late nineteenth century.

Paper Quilling for Kids and Adults

Nowadays paper quilling has become a hobby for people of all ages around the world. Most of the quilling materials are readily available in craft shops and online stores.

Paper quilling is easy to learn. The best thing about it is that you only need a few items to get started with this great craft activity. If you enjoy doing hand made paper crafts and making your own creative handicrafts but have never done paper quilling before, why not give paper quilling a go? Who knows, one day you could be the maker of the best paper quilling art designs in the world.

Paper Quilling Materials

There are specific tools and materials for paper quilling. Some of the materials required in this tutorial are:

Quilling paper

You can find strips of quilling paper in craft stores and also online from eBay and They usually come in many different colours and have widths of 3mm to 5mm.

Quilling Tool

This is usually available in craft stores where you can find quilling paper. The quilling tool is used to wind the strips of paper into a coil. If you do not have a quilling tool, you can also use a toothpick, needle or a satay stick. The quilling tool can make quilling a lot easier if you are a beginner.

Craft glue

Any PVA glue or transparent glue for paper craft can be used.


You will need this for applying the glue onto the quilling paper.

Strips of colourful quilling paper and quilling tool
Strips of colourful quilling paper and quilling tool | Source

How To Roll A Coil With Quilling Tool

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Insert one end of quilling paper into the slit of quilling tool.Roll the strip of paper to form a coil.A finished open coil.
Insert one end of quilling paper into the slit of quilling tool.
Insert one end of quilling paper into the slit of quilling tool. | Source
Roll the strip of paper to form a coil.
Roll the strip of paper to form a coil. | Source
A finished open coil.
A finished open coil. | Source

How to make an open coil

To begin, slide one end of the quilling paper into the slit of the quilling tool and roll it around the tool to form a coil. If you are using a toothpick or satay stick, press the toothpick onto the paper until the end of the paper starts to curl up slightly. Then wrap the paper around the toothpick and roll the paper into a coil.

Release the coil and it will unwind freely. This is called an open coil.

Closed Coil Shapes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Loose CoilFlower PetalFlower PetalTriangleArrowTeardropFlameOvalLeafCrescentHolly Leaf
Loose Coil
Loose Coil | Source
Flower Petal
Flower Petal | Source
Flower Petal
Flower Petal | Source
Triangle | Source
Arrow | Source
Teardrop | Source
Flame | Source
Oval | Source
Leaf | Source
Crescent | Source
Holly Leaf
Holly Leaf | Source

Making a closed coil

To make a closed coil, roll a paper strip in the same way as described above. Let the coil unwind. Then using a toothpick apply a little glue at the end of the paper strip to close the coil. This is called a closed coil.

You can then use your fingers to press the closed coil into any shape you want.

To make a tight coil, apply glue without allowing the coil to unwind.

Be Creative

You will need a bit of practice before the coils turn out looking perfect. Try to make coils with different shapes and colours. When you have made enough coils, arrange them on a sheet of drawing paper to form a pattern or any design you have in mind. If you are happy with the pattern and would like to show it to your family and friends or have your masterpiece displayed, apply a little glue to the coils to make them stick onto the drawing paper. Let the glue dry before displaying your quilled design.

Once you have mastered the basic techniques of paper quilling, you will have hours of creative fun producing beautiful quilling designs and patterns.

Happy Quilling!

Assemble the coils to form designs
Assemble the coils to form designs | Source


Additional Paper Quilling Tools

The quilling board is a useful tool for making closed coils of the same size. Other tools that are used in paper quilling are tweezers, needles and scissors.

A quilling comb is used for making evenly spaced loops in a coil. Instructions on how to use a quilling comb are found in this tutorial:

Questions & Answers

  • Where in Western Australia would I find quilling equipment?

    Officeworks and Lincraft sell quilling supplies in some of their stores.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    2 years ago

    Wow! my 1st time learn this art! Thank you. Will find time to do it.


  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    5 years ago from North Central Florida

    Great job. I have written about quilling here also. I am a novice and still learning so much.

    This is well done. Pinned

    Angels are on the way to you . ps

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Such a great introduction to quilling--thanks!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    now i am also making this quilled jewelry

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    this is beautiful. i love this very much

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    7 years ago from Australia

    pstraubie48, it is never too late to fine-tune your knowledge on paper quilling. In fact, you might find it a lot easier to re-learn this skill now. Happy quilling!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    7 years ago from North Central Florida

    Hi Lady Rain...

    I so wish that I had seen your articles before I decided I would undertake this new skill. Thank you so much for these and I am bookmarking this.

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    vox vocis, paper quilling is not difficult but it requires a bit of practice and patience. I am sure you will be able to perfect it with a bit of dedication and effort. Hope everything goes well for you.

  • vox vocis profile image


    8 years ago

    Great hub! Now that I have the full list of quilling tools, I can start, too. I've never done paper quilling before, but after having read so much about it, and after seeing wonderful works done in this technique, I decided to give it a try.

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    mariasial, I really enjoy paper quilling. You should try it too. Thank you for stopping by and reading my hub.

  • mariasial profile image

    maria sial 

    8 years ago from united kingdom

    well i never heard about it as a art before it ... nice informative hub

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    randomcreative, paper quilling is such a great craft and the quilled designs can also be used as part of another craft project. Thank you for commenting.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    This is a great resource for people who want to get started with Paper Quilling! Thanks for all of the "how to" photographs.


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