• Darcy Edl

Quick Quilling

Today we want to share a short video showing how to create the quilling shapes we used to make this simple card. I have enlisted the help of our paper quilling expert, DJay, and if you would like to see some of her work, click on the Quilling link at the top of our webpage.

We used the following tools to make these flowers and leaves:

Tweezers (DJay rates this as the most essential tool in quilling.)

Quilling Tool

Magnet Clip

An Ordinary Comb

Circle Sizing Guide


Now, you're probably asking, what type of glue is best? DJay recommends a fast-drying clear glue such as Sobo or PVA. I will be honest; I use PVA for almost everything related to crafting. It has incredible hold, doesn't warp your paper, dries super fast, and is transparent when dry. The drawback to it drying so fast is that you better get it right almost immediately. Unlike other craft glues, like the excellent Gina K. Connect Glue, there is very little time to move the layers around to line things up before the bond starts to set, so be aware of that.

I also buy a big bottle and pour it into smaller applicator bottles. Tiny is my preferred size applicator tip in all crafting types because I get a lot more control and have fewer moments where I have excess leaking out the sides of my project. Sidenote, you noticed that DJay has a magnet clip as one of the tools we're using, that's to help keep track of the pin that you need to keep on hand to unclog the glue tip when you forget to cover it. Pretty handy!

It's time to start quilling. Choosing your paper length is a process of trial and error. You want to choose a size that creates many loops in your circle, but not so many that you can't manipulate it into a shape. Once you play with a strip or two of paper, you will quickly know if a little more or a little less is right for you.

Next is the thing that I learned the most about while watching DJay work is about tension. Make sure you are just feeding the paper through your fingers to wrap around the quilling tool. Too much pressure will teach the strip to curl, and you will lose your opportunity to manipulate it to get the desired veining. After removing the coil from the sizing tool, DJay smoothes the strip's end with the applied glue, which leads to another tip. Try not to use scissors to cut your quilling strips; tear them. A torn edge is easier to blend and harder to notice in your finished product.

Use the Sizing Tool to make sure all of your petals are the same size. If you don't have a tool like the one we're using, you can use things like coins to ensure your shapes are the same. Remove the coil with your tweezers close to where your paper ends and apply a small amount of glue. Here is where we will focus on getting your veining to where you want it, so please watch the video at the bottom of this post.

This tutorial aims to show people who don't know how to quill simple and basic techniques. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and I had never even heard of Paper Quilling until I met DJay about five years ago. The art that DJay creates is years of learning, and many paper quillers have slightly different techniques. As with anything, practice will make you better and more confident!

In the video, we think it's important to show the entire process, even though some of it is incredibly basic. However, there are small tips like this one; after DJay gets done gluing the flower center, she removes the tight coil from her quilling tool, flips the device around, and uses the other end to push in the tightly rolled piece layers. Sometimes when you remove a tight roll from a quilling tool, it pulls the layers out a bit; this technique solves that problem.

Now on to making the leaves using this ordinary comb. DJay likes to stress that it is unnecessary to run out and spend money on items you already have around the house. The comb is the perfect example. Start by creating a small loop to wrap around the comb's end and then looping down the next tooth each time until you use all of the quilling strip. DJay pulls the quilling strip taught each time she pulls the paper through the comb's next tooth; this ensures that the leaf's veins will be uniform from top to bottom. Once the paper is used up, be sure to glue the end before removing your piece from the comb.

The leaf should slide right off of the comb, pinch, and push the leaf to make it as slender or broad as you wish. Djay now uses the handle of her quilling tool to curve the tip of the leaf. It's this little attention to detail that will set your quilling apart. Now, you could leave it a rounded leaf or change it up even more by pushing your fingertip into the round end, creating a V-shape, and adding more detail.

Next, we have a slightly smaller flower with heart-shaped petals. DJay uses a smaller circle on the sizing tool and has ripped off about three inches in the quilling strip's length. For this tutorial, we used 1/4 inch wide quilling paper so you could see the process better. However, if you're going to mail your project, you might wish to use 1/16" or 1/8" strips and use a bubble wrap envelope. We all know that USPS can be brutal on anything with dimension, so I usually save my quilling cards for "in-person" gift-giving.

You will notice for this flower Djay has created a tighter roll, and by manipulating the coil like the first flower, the veining ends up being closer together. Additionally, she changes this flower petal shape by using the quilling tool to push the petal's rounded part inward to make a heart.

A slight amount of pinching and pulling is required to get the desired uniform shape for all petals. Each of our examples has six petals, but of course, you can make your flower any way you want. She also uses a bit less quilling strip to create the smaller center.

Now you have two flowers and leaves to add to a lovely card and send to someone special! I put this card together using the Kaleidoscope Layering Die from Birch Press Designs, and the sentiment is from the Encouraging Greetings Stamp set from Pretty Pink Posh.

We hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and ask that you leave a comment at the bottom of this page if you liked it. Remember that we have some inspiring giveaways here at Cactus Collaborative, and all it requires is that you subscribe to our email list. We don't bombard you with emails; we only send something when we think there is stuff going on that we think you might want to know.

We wish you all a day full of inspiration and creativity! Please stay safe!