Archive for the 'Quilling How-To' Category

Mar 17 2012

Ready Made Framing Options for Quilling

Having your quilled art custom framed can send a quality piece over the top, but it can also be quite expensive, especially if you are framing a piece for a gift or to sell. 


Regular off the shelf frames are a much less expensive option, but since they are made to hold a thin photo, most cannot accommodate the thickness of the quilling paper.  As a result, many crafters resort to framing their pieces without the glass.  This way the depth of the frame is no longer an issue, but the quilling loses the protection from dust and curious fingers that the glass provided.


There are some excellent tutorials available for those who wish to modify a frame so that it can be used with quilling, but for those of us less handy, there are off the shelf frames available that work great with quilling; you just need to know what to look for.


Shadowbox Frames

shadowboxCommercial shadowbox frames are now readily available in most craft stores and come in a wide variety of sizes and finishes to compliment your artwork.  Some of these frames can be quite deep, however, and you will want to keep your finished piece in mind when making your selection.  If your quilling design is mostly flat without a lot of layers or pieces glued on an angle (such as flower petals), your quilling may sit too far back from the glass and appear to get lost in the frame.


Fixed Glass Frames

fixed glass frameI have found several styles of frames where the manufacturer has affixed the glass to the front of the frame providing a clearance anywhere from 1/4-in to 3/8-in for your quilling, which is enough for your single layer quilling pieces.  An added benefit is that the frame itself is more decorative, unlike the standard rounded wood molding used in making most shadowbox frames.


Frames with Hidden Depth

If the frame you like isn’t a shadowbox or fixed glass frame, there are three other things you can look for to see if it will accommodate your quilling.


multiple mats1.  If the frame comes with multiple mats that have been spaced a part, there may be enough room for your quilling.  When evaluating the frame to determine if it would be right for your particular piece of quill art, keep in mind that the mats can be altered or completely removed if needed.


mat with decorative edge2.  Some frames (especially larger ones meant to hang on the wall) come with a more elaborate mat that has a raised decorative edge that outlines the inside of the mat.  The frame has been designed to accommodate the depth of this edge.  If the depth of your quilling is less than the depth of this raised edge, your quilling will fit.


3.  I’ve saved the best tip for last since it was my biggest revelation.  Check the back of the frame.  If it has a slide latch at the bottom that fits into the frame, put it down and walk away – there is only enough room for a photo. 

back of frames

If, however, the frame has a back door, open it up and take a peek.  The depth of the filler that the manufacturer has packed into the back of the frame (usually cardboard, but may be foam) is the depth inside the frame available for your quilling.  Sometimes it is very little and the frame can’t be used, but quite often there is enough space for a flat quilled piece, and every now and then, you’ll find a ton of space.  This is something that you just can’t tell by looking at the frame – you have to open it up and see.


With these tips in mind, it takes me just a few minutes to look through a store’s frame selection and see if they have anything I can use.


2 responses so far

Nov 27 2011

Packaging Quilling Ornaments for Sale or Gifts

I have participated in many craft shows over the years and have found one that I really like sponsored by the South Cobb Arts Alliance.  Unlike traditional 1-2 day shows where you set up your booth and then personally sell your merchandise each day, this 11-day show is set up like a Christmas house.  You bring your items for the initial set up, work two 3-hour shifts, pick up your unsold items, and they mail you a check for the items that you did sell.  It is wonderful!


The only down side is that you are not there to watch over your items.  That is where creative packaging can be a big help.  Along with my “captured ornament” series, this year I am offering three different quilled ornaments for sale.  And while I know that paper ornaments are quite sturdy, I really didn’t want to put them out without some type of protection.  I would hope that adults would treat them with proper care, but the tables are low enough that little ones might be tempted to reach for them.


To solve this problem, I created a simple gift box for each ornament and then placed it inside a plastic sleeve (like those used for cards).  Packaged with the box open, potential buyers can see exactly what the ornament looks like.   


I make the gift boxes from heavy scrapbook paper or card stock.  I like using a nice printed paper for the top and a solid color for the bottom.  I purchase the paper during the year when I find it on sale, that way the boxes cost next to nothing.  My boxes are roughly 3-in x 3-in square, but you will want to make yours sized to fit your ornaments.  Just be sure to make the lid a little bit larger so it will fit over the bottom (trust me — I speak from frustrated experience).  I also make the lid height a little bit shorter than the bottom height so that the box is easier for the recipient to open.  There are several good scoring tools on the market (I use the Martha Stewart one, but Score-Pal is very popular, too) that make creating these boxes a snap.  For those who would like detailed instructions for making these boxes, I have posted a step-by-step tutorial.


For an added touch, I cut a piece of white quilt batting to fit inside the box.  I purchased an inexpensive roll of batting at my local JoAnn store (using a coupon, of course!).  I’ve probably made five dozen boxes and still have plenty of batting left for next year.  This gives the gift box the feel of an expensive jewelry gift box.  I did find, however, that my white snowflake did not show up well on the white batting, so I cut a piece of pale silver tissue to sit on top of the batting underneath the snowflake. 


Since my ornaments are for sale, I include my custom hang tag which contains basic quilling information.  This tucks away neatly underneath the batting.


Even if you don’t participate in craft shows, you might want to give this idea a try.  Think of how delighted your friends and family will be to receive your quilled ornaments inside their own little gift box.


3 responses so far

Aug 14 2011

Metallic Quilling Papers

metallic-quilling-papersEven though it is scorching outside, I’m busy working on inventory for a big Christmas show I participate in each year.  With this in mind, I decided to quill some metallic cross ornaments to add to my offerings.  I remembered some metallic papers I purchased from Quilled Creations and thought they would be perfect (Metallics Sparkling Quilling Paper, Silver & Antique Gold).


These are really nice, heavy papers that hold their quilling shapes well, but, as I soon found out, they can be a bit tricky to work with.  Here are some general tips I discovered while quilling my ornaments:

  1. It takes longer for the glue to set when creating your coils and assembling your pieces.  You have to be patient!  Hold the glued end of your coil down longer than you think is necessary — and then hold it just a little longer.  Use pins to hold your pieces as you glue your design together to speed up the assembly process and help ensure a secure bond.
  2. quilled_plain_cross1

  3. On the plus side, because this paper is “slicker” than regular quilling paper, it is super easy to remove excess glue and have a really clean piece of quill art when you are done.
  4. Because it is a heavier paper, you can really see the glued seam on your coils, even when gluing down a torn edge.  I have found that burnishing the seam with a clean toothpick does wonders in smoothing out the seam and making it much less noticable.



quilled_cross_side_view1The biggest thing I learned is that while the papers themselves are metallic and look great from the side, the edges are quite dull.  As you can see, this cross quilled from Antique Gold look like is it made from a plain brown paper (Figure 1), but the sides of the cross are nice and glitzy (Figure 2).


quilled_gold_crossTo solve this problem, I used a gold metallic pen (I used one made by Krylon) and colored the edges (Figure 3).  What an amazing difference!  Now I have a stunning gold quilled cross ornament to sell at the show.


The same holds true for the silver metallic paper which has a dull gray appearance when quilled.  Just run a silver metallic pen over the edges to turn them a dazzling silver.

8 responses so far

Sep 14 2010

Create a Custom Mat for Your Quilling

Step 1 - Purchase suitable frame

Step 1 - Purchase suitable frame

I create a lot of quilling for sale and for the most part, I like to frame it under glass.   Since I have no idea where my quilling will find a home, I feel better knowing it has that extra protection.  Custom framing is expensive, but there are ready-made frames out there with enough depth for the quilling if you look for them.

Step 2 - Assemble painting materials

Step 2 - Assemble painting materials

I found a wonderful double-matted frame that had plenty of room, and with a 40% coupon, it was a good price.  The only problem was that both of the mats were white and they didn’t add any punch to the quilling.

I wanted the inside mat to be black to match the frame and really set off the quilling, but having a custom mat cut around here is at least $10.  So I put on my creative thinking cap and decided to paint the mat. 
Step 3 - Paint mat with acrylic paint

Step 3 - Paint mat with acrylic paint

I used a quality craft store acrylic paint (Americana Lamp Black — but any quality acrylic paint should do nicely) and a good paint brush left over from my ceramic days.

When I took the frame apart I discovered that the two mats had been glued together with a cardboard spacer, so I pulled out my craft knife and cut them apart.
Step 4 - Assemble the pieces and frame your quilling

Step 4 - Assemble the pieces and frame your quilling

I painted the smaller inside mat, being careful to apply the paint smoothly so that the brush strokes wouldn’t show.  Once dry, I glued the two pieces back together and finished framing my quilling.

I think it looks great and really highlights the quilling.  Plus, it saved me the cost of having a special mat cut.  And since I was framing three pieces, the savings really added up.
Don’t be afraid to alter ready-made photo mats to enhance your quilling.  Besides painting the mats, you can cover them with fabric, decorative papers, or even stamp on them.
Here are the three pieces of quill art that I framed using this technique.  You can see how the black on the inside mat really shows off the quilling.
Downloadable PDF quilling patterns (ePatterns) containing complete easy-to-follow instructions, full color photo tutorials, and all pattern templates are available for these three folk art quilling pieces.  Visit the Quilling Patterns section for more information. 

6 responses so far

Jun 06 2010

Quilled Puzzle Piece Magnet

quilled-cherries-puzzle-magnetI really appreciate all of the feedback I receive from my newsletter subscribers and blog readers.   One request that I hear quite often is for more quilling projects made from recycled materials, which is great because I enjoy creating them!
Several weeks ago, I stopped by a local thrift store and found a handmade cookbook from 1971.  You know the kind — the recipes were all typed with a real typewriter then the pages were mimeographed and bound with a metal prong file clip into a book for the club members.  It was awesome and all for only $0.50.  What a bargain.
Along with the retro cookbook, I have had an old children’s puzzle in my supply stash for quite awhile (ever since the all important “last piece” went missing).   When I looked in my inspiration bin and saw the cookbook and puzzle pieces, I knew I had the ingredients to cook up this week’s project — a quilled kitchen magnet.
Since your materials will differ (we are trying to use what we have, remember), I offer these general instructions as a guide for making your own Quilled Puzzle Piece Magnet.
You will need
Chipboard puzzle piece
Background paper (scrapbook paper, old wallpaper, etc.)
Recipe (from old book, newspaper, magazine, etc.)
Quilling paper, 1/8″ wide
Basic quilling tools (discussed earlier)
Spray adhesive
Sandpaper or emery board
Permanent fine-line marker, black
Distress ink (I used Tim Holtz’s Tea Dye)
Cotton swab
Spray acrylic sealer (optional)
General instructions
  1. Turn your puzzle piece so that the plain chipboard side is facing up (this will be the front of your magnet) and place it onto your background paper (right side of paper facing up), trace around the puzzle piece and cut out.  Spray the front of the puzzle piece and the back side of the cut-out background paper with spray adhesive and adhere the two together. 
  2. Tear the recipe to fit the puzzle piece and glue in place.  Clean up the edges of the puzzle piece by sanding them with the sand paper or emery board.
  3. Dab the cotton swab on the ink pad and highlight the edges of the puzzle piece and torn edges of the recipe.  Using the permanent marker, make stitch marks around the edges of the puzzle piece. 
  4. You are now ready to add the quilling.  Here is where you can get creative matching the quilling to your chosen recipe.  Since the one I selected was “Cherries in the Snow,” I added ripe red cherries with green leaves.  This design would also work well with a cherry pie or tart recipe. 
  5. Spray the puzzle piece with an acrylic sealer (optional), glue a magnet to the back, and you’re done.
Quilling Tip
If you want THE gift for a special holiday that is sure to touch the recipient’s heart, make a copy of a handwritten recipe from a cherished family member and use it on the magnet, matching your quilling to the recipe.  If your family is anything like mine, be ready for a big hug and have an extra tissue handy.

8 responses so far

Jan 30 2010

Enhance Your Quilling with Blending Chalks

Fig 1

Fig 1

Blending chalks are an excellent choice when you want to add a bit of color to your quilling.  Made by several manufacturers, they come in a wide array of colors from soft pastels to bright jewel tones.  Some even have a bit of shimmer mixed in (Fig. 1).

Chalks are easy to use and, unlike inks, are quite forgiving.  Small sponge applicators (similar to those used for eye shadow) usually come with the chalks.  Replacements can be a bit pricey in the craft stores, so you might want to look into the make-up applicators available at discount or beauty supply stores.  You can also use cotton swabs, cotton balls, and tissues to apply the chalk.
Fig 2

Fig 2

You can apply chalks directly to your finished quills.  This allows you to add color without splicing strips together.  For the leaf (Fig. 2), I applied a darker green to the lower portion of the shaped marquise and yellow to the top with just a touch of red on the tip.  In the photo, a plain leaf is on the left for comparison.

Quilled flowers can be enhanced with chalks as well.  Dark colors of chalk look striking on flowers made with light colored papers while light chalk colors can really make darker flowers pop. 
Fig 3

Fig 3

Yellow was added to the center of this star flower (on the right) giving it a warm glow.  A plain star flower is on the left for comparison (Fig. 3).
My favorite use of chalks is to highlight the background papers used with my quilling.  I love the look of torn paper edges and think they add a nice texture to a finished piece.  Sepia and brown colors will give your background papers a worn, aged look. 
Fig 4

Fig 4

Adding a color that blends or contrasts with your quilling is a great way to add interest and draw your eye into the quilling, just like when you add a mat to a piece of framed art  (Fig. 4).

Don’t limit yourself to just chalking the edges of the quilling background.  When I created this Valentine’s Day card for my husband, I brought the red chalk in from the edges and made it a part of overall design. 
Fig 5

Fig 5

The chalk highlights the subtle texture of the background paper without taking anything away from the true focus of the card — the quilled floral heart wreath (Fig 5).

Give blending chalks a try — I think you’ll find that they can give your quilling an added depth and beauty.

Tip:  Blending chalks are actually quite inexpensive and last a very long time.  They are softer, however, than the sidewalk or blackboard chalks you might have played with as a child and they crumble easily.  Also, I found out the hard way that the individual pieces of chalk are not glued inside their trays and will fall out if dropped, making a mess on your carpet if you are not careful.


If you would like to quill your own Floral Heart Wreath, a 12-page downloadable PDF quilling pattern is available.  Check out the Quilling Patterns section of the blog to learn more.

5 responses so far

Jan 15 2010

Quilled Stencil Rose

quilled-rose-stencil-framed21In my last post (Groovy Birthday Wishes) I talked about the very popular technique of filling in an outline with quilling to form a design.
Normally, your piece of quilled art would be glued on top of your background surface like I did with the boot.
But, what happens if you place the quilling under the background, cutting out pieces to reveal the quilling?
You get a very striking piece of art that almost resembles needlework.
The method is quite simple:
  1. Find a stencil that you like and lightly trace it onto the card stock you will be gluing the quilling shapes to.  Remember, this paper will show through the coiled pieces, so you’ll want to choose a nice neutral or coordinating color that will go with your design.
  2. Trace the stencil onto the paper you want as the cover for your quilling and cut it out with a craft knife.  (Note: the piece is easier to frame if the bottom card stock and the top cover sheet are the same size.)
  3. Roll your quilled shapes to fit slightly over the outline and glue to the card stock.  Once finished, glue the top paper over the guilling, lining up the cut out stencil with your quilling and covering up any rough rough edges of the quilled design.
  4. Frame your masterpiece and wait for friends to Oooooh and Ahhhh over your latest artistic endeavor.
Quilling Tip:  This would make an awesome home decor DIY project.  Add coordinating art work to a room that has a stenciled border.  Use the same stencil for wall art and a coordinating pillow.  Or create a stencil from a fabric pattern already in the room and bring it up to the wall with your own quilled piece.

5 responses so far

Dec 29 2009

Groovy Birthday Wishes

groovy-card2I was browsing through the bargain bins of ribbon and found a funky retro paisley design in yellow, green, and orange that simply screamed mini skirt and go-go boots. 
I wasn’t a teen during the Mod 60’s, but I do remember having a pair of white go-go boots when I was in kindergarten (thinking I was quite the femme fatale) and watching Hullabaloo and Shindig on TV.
groovy-card-inside2I used the ribbon as my inspiration for a fun retro birthday card featuring a quilled go-go boot.  The boot was created using an “outline & fill-in” quilling technique.  You can use this technique to create any design you wish by following these simple steps:
  1. Draw an outline of the desired design, or find inspiration on the web.  Resize the pattern as needed and print it out for your work board. 
  2. pinned-boot2Tear several strips of paper (I find 6″ to be a good length) and quill them into loose coils.  Starting at either the top or bottom of your design, pinch the coils into shapes that fit within the outline of your design.  Glue the quills together where they touch and pin into place. 
  3. Continue filling in your pattern with pinched loose coils.  If you are creating an elaborate design, you may want to “draw” lines within the pattern using paper strips or “paint” with your quills by changing the color of the quilling paper used for the coils.
  4. Glue a strip of paper along the outside of your quilled piece to finish off the edge and complete your design.
Quilling Tip:  Try coloring books and needlework patterns for designs with simple outlines.

3 responses so far

Aug 24 2009

Quilling Tip — Hiding the Paper Seams

When I am working on a piece of quilling, I don’t like to see the seam where the end of the paper strip is glued to the coil.  To me it looks unfinished and I try to avoid showing these seams when I can.  Picky?  Perhaps, but I think it gives the quilling a more polished appearance.  I have been using three tricks for years to help minimize the tell-tale seam left behind when making quills from loose coils and thought I would share them with you.
Fig 1

Fig 1

1.  Tear Your Paper Ends

Make sure that the end of the paper strip you glue down is torn so that the fibers blend into the coil.  If you glue down a cut edge, the seam is much more noticeable.  You can see the difference in Fig 1.  The coil with the cut end is on the left and the one with the torn end is on the right.
Fig 2

Fig 2

2.  Coil Shaping Tricks

There are two ways to hide the seams when making shaped coils (teardrops, marquises, squares, etc.).  The first method is to pinch the coil into the shape so the glued end of the paper is even with the pinched edge.   This gives a beautiful finish to the coil.   In Fig 2, the teardrop on the left has been pinched with the end at the tip where it all but disappears.  The teardrop on the right was shaped with the end clearly visible on the side.   Shaping my coils with the end at the tip is the method that I use 99% of the time.   However, if I know that the seam will be covered by another paper strip, such as a rose bud covered with a paper stem, I pinch the teardrop with the seam at the bottom.
Fig 3

Fig 3

3.  Hide Seams During Assembly

When possible, glue the seam ends or sides of your coils to each other when assembling your quillwork.  For example, if you are creating a flower from marquise coils, glue the tips with the pinched ends together for the center.  If you are combining a coil and a scroll (Fig 3) glue the seam end of the marquise inside the fold of the scroll. 
Fig 4

Fig 4

When gluing two loose coils together, try and turn the coils so that as one coil ends, the next one seems to begin, like an S-scroll only in two pieces (Fig 4).  

I’m sure these hints are old news to the seasoned quillers out there, but I hope they help those new to the art take their quilling to the next level.  Remember — it’s all in the details. 

4 responses so far

Jul 18 2009

How To Glue Your Quilling to a Background Surface

Unless you are creating a stand-alone, 3D paper sculpture, you will probably be attaching your finished quilling to some type of backing. This might be a card, scrapbook page, or a piece of mat board that you intend to frame. No matter what the surface, you will want to glue the quilling securely and cleanly with no glue showing to detract from your art.
There are several methods for applying the glue to the back of your quilling.
glue-by-dippingSpread a very thin layer of glue as large as your quilllwork onto a flat surface like a plate or plastic lid. Using a pair of tweezers, pick up your quilling, touch the bottom edges of the paper to the glue, then place it on the desired backing. A thin glue (such as Elmer’s) works best for this technique. If you normally use a thick, tacky glue for quilling, you might try thinning it with a drop or two of water. You want the glue thin enough to spread thinly and evenly over your flat work surface. A foam brush helps to spread the glue. If the glue is too thick, the loose center of the coils will stick to the gluing surface, pulling them apart and ruining your piece. This method works especially well when tendrils and vines are part of the design. Once you have the glue on the back of your quillwork, you need to attach it exactly where you want it. If you try and slide your quilling into the correct placement, you will leave glue smudges. Any glue you see will turn shiny and even though it is clear, it will be noticeable.
glue-with-paintbrushYou can also use a small paintbrush to paint the glue onto the back of your quilling. Use care in touching only the bottom edges of the paper with the glue to avoid unwanted globs or smudges. Again, a thinner glue is easier to spread with the paintbrush. Tweezers are useful to help hold the quilling and assist in placement when glued.  
glue-with-toothpickI actually don’t use either of these methods. I spread glue on the back of my quilling using a toothpick. I pick up a little glue on the tip of the toothpick and roll the toothpick over the quills. Depending on the design, I apply glue to the tight rolls and centers of the quills to allow a little more “wiggle room” when placing the quilling on my background. If glue is not over the entire back, I can slide the quilling just a tad if needed without the glue showing. If I do end up with a bit of glue on the background, I slightly moisten a fresh toothpick (you don’t want it dripping) and gently wipe up the glue. 
Quilling Tip:  Make sure your background surface is ready before you apply glue to the back of your quillwork. You don’t want the glue to dry before you have a chance to attach the quilling. If not, you will have to apply more glue which increases your chances of having glue showing on your finished art.
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