Archive for the 'Quilling Inspiration' Category

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.

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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.

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Nov 16 2009

Snowflake Ornament Quilling Card

christmas-quilling-class-snowflake-cardsI want to thank all of the ladies who attended the Christmas quilling class at the Marietta Community School.  I hope you had a great time because I know I sure did!
Our class project was a Christmas card with a detachable snowflake ornament.  I am very proud of the snowflakes the students quilled.  This group photo of the students’ cards shows their talent and creativity.  The snowflakes are not glued to the front (which is why they may appear to be crooked), but swing loose which makes for a fun surprise when the recipient opens the card.
snowflake-card-holeWhen creating the card, I punched a 1/16″ hole in the card at the top of the circle background.  This allowed me to thread the snowflake’s hanging loop through to the inside where I secured it with a piece of tape.
snowflake-card-inside1Many of us are on a tight budget, but you don’t have to trim your gift giving list this year.  These cards are perfect when you need a little something this holiday season for co-workers, as a hostess gift, or for members of your book club.  You can whip up a batch quite inexpensively, but I guarantee they’ll be appreciated and make a lasting impression.    
Quilling Tip:  I used a printed paper that reminded me of a starry night as the background for my snowflake, but many combinations are possible.  A quilled wreath would be great attached to a card featuring a home’s front door.  A quilled snowman could grace a card showing children playing in the snow.  Or quill a stocking and attach it to a card that shows a fireplace with a roaring fire.

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Oct 18 2009

Quilling with Kids — Ms. Pumpkin Head

My youngest daughter would tell you she is craft-challenged when it comes to the actual execution of a project, but she is as crafty as they come and has great ideas.  The other day we were discussing Halloween and she suggested that I quill a face for a pumpkin.  I’m thinking, “OK, I can quill some yellow triangles for eyes ….,” which didn’t seem too exciting so I put that idea away. 
quilling-pumpkin-headWhen Jen asked me if I had made the pumpkin yet, I knew I needed to take another look at the possibilities.  And then it hit me — I could quill real features for the pumpkin, just like a Mr. Potato Head!


I used a tiny gourd-type pumpkin found at the grocery store.  There is no pattern since you would have to adjust the quilling shapes to fit whatever size pumpkin you had, but here is a list of the coils I used:
  • Eyes:  Tight coils starting with black for the pupil, then blue for the iris, and finishing with white.  The eyelashes are fringed from a 3/8″ wide strip.
  • Nose:  Teardrop
  • Mouth:  Two half-circles on top with one large half circle on the bottom.  Glue them together and pinch the sides.
  • Ears:  Two curved teardrops; larger on top, smaller on the bottom.
I accessorized this stylish Miss with jump rings for earrings and a blue bow tied to her stem to match her eyes.  I glued the features directly to the pumpkin using Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue, but any strong, thick glue should do fine.
This would be a great project to do with children.  If you need further inspiration, simply surf the Internet for additional photos of decorated pumpkins.  Turn your pumpkin into a scary monster with jagged teeth or a beautiful princess with a crown.  You could color your pumpkin first with markers before gluing on the features if you’d like.  The possibilities are endless.  Just pull out your quilling papers and let your imagination go wild!
Quilling Tip:  The idea isn’t just for pumpkins.  You can quill faces for all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  How about a yellow squash bird or an eggplant clown with a big red nose?  This is one time when it is fine if children play with their food.

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Oct 09 2009

Quilled “Boo!” Halloween Card

Next week I am teaching my first basic quilling class with a Halloween theme.  It will also be my first Mommy & Me class (mother & daughter pairs), so I am really looking forward to it.  For each class, I provide my students with three original quilling patterns along with all of the materials necessary to complete three projects.  After making the basic shapes for their take-home chart, we complete one of the projects in class.  They can then keep quilling at home with the other two projects… and get hooked on quilling (I hope)! 
I was looking around the web for inspiration and ran across a card that spelled “boo!” using a chipboard letter “b” and exclamation point “!”.  For the letter “o” they used jack-o-lantern stickers.  It was so cute and I knew it would be just perfect as one of the class projects since each pair could make the card together, with the Mommy quilling one of the pumpkins and the child quilling the other.  I wanted to put a photo of the inspiration card on this blog, but it is on a major site and I honestly couldn’t figure out who to ask, so I am including the link here so you can click over and take a look.
I am very happy with how my quilled Halloween card turned out. 
Being creative doesn’t have to be expensive.  All of the supplies for this card came from my own stash, except for the ribbon that was on sale this week at Michaels.  Use what you have to make quilled cards for each season.  The lucky recipient will thank you for it.
Quilling Tip:  The idea of using objects for letters is not new.  An arching black cat would make a perfect “h” in Halloween.  And a quilled witches broom could be the “l”, or used as an exclamation point.  You could even quill the spider from the last post and use it for the “o”  in “Boo!” instead of the pumpkins.  Just make its body out of a larger loose coil and shorten the legs, making him more of an “o” shape. 
If you have been inspired my card, please take a moment and leave a comment.  I would enjoy hearing from you! 

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Sep 08 2009

Steampunk Quilling ATC

Published by under Quilling Inspiration

steampunk-quilling-atcI have decided that this is the year I am going to quit saying, “someday,” and start doing the things I have wanted to do.   When I had the opportunity to go to Dragon*Con this past weekend with my daughter, I went.  In the organization’s own words, “Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US.”  I have no idea how many attendees there were, but the event took over four hotels in downtown Atlanta.  It was unbelievable — the costumes were amazing, the panel discussions enlightening, and the celebrity guests were quite charming.  I personally spoke to Patrick Stewart (that’s right, Jean-Luc Picard himself), Bonita Friedericy (General Diane Beckman from Chuck), and John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox, Enterprise — but my daughter recognized him as the coroner on True Blood). 
But, what really caught my attention were those dressed in “steampunk” costumes — women in beautiful Edwardian dresses with bustles and men in fun leather riding coats complete with goggles.  And they carried the coolest brass-looking gadgets.  Steampunk denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used (1800s), but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.  Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of “the path not taken” technology, such as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical devices, presented as if they were in common use today.
I had run across a little bit of steampunk art on the internet several years ago, but had no idea how far this art had come.  If you have the time, Google steampunk on the internet, or look at steampunk art on or  For the artist, it is a wonderful mix of found art — brass parts, watch gears, and cool keys.
I was exhausted when I got home, but had to make my own version of steampunk art the next day.  I created an ATC (artist trading card) with paper punched gears rimmed with crimped quilling paper — I used both 1/8″ and 1/16″ wide paper and used my gold leafing pen to color both sides so it looked like crimped metal.  The keys were clipped from some scrap collage paper I had in my stash.  I found the old typewriter key font online which really went with the theme.  I added a small piece of torn handmade paper for texture and glued all of the pieces to parchment card stock mounted onto chipboard for stability.
I have spoken about creative inspiration in several of my previous posts.   The next time you are inspired by the events in your life, create your own ATC. They are the perfect size for creating miniature works of art that allow you to capture the moment without spending a lot of time.  I will definitely be making more ATCs in the future.

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Aug 31 2009

Quilling Inspiration — Modify a Quilling Design to Suit Your Needs

Published by under Quilling Inspiration

Shortly after sending out my first newsletter, I received a lovely comment post from Rick Whitman,
“Thanks for sharing your ideas. The rose pattern came just in time as I’m working on a wedding invitation and was looking for a fill in. I used a strip of variation paper (shaded from red to white and back to red) and it came out beautifully.” 
Needless to say, I was thrilled to know that someone had actually created a rose from my pattern and I asked her if she would send me a photo. 
Fig 1

Fig 1

Rick had matted a wedding picture of her husband’s greatniece who married Mr. Rose (hence the roses), along with the front and inside of their wedding invitation.  She then quilled beautiful flower sprays to decorate the mat, duplicating the flowers used in the bridesmaids’ bouquets.  She did a great job and I can only imagine how pleased the bride will be to receive such a loving reminder of her wedding day.

Fig 2

Fig 2

Rick took the pattern I provided and changed it by using the variegated paper (Fig 1).  I think that it softened the rose and made it a better fit for her overall design.  She used the rose pattern again in her floral spray at the bottom of her piece (Fig 2), but changed the center teardrop of the rose to a marquise and omitted the rose leaves.  

You don’t need to copy a pattern exactly — use it as a jumping off point to quill the piece that you see in your own mind.  Change the colors, change the shapes, change the background … there are so many ways to change a pattern to make it your “own.”  You may think that you are not creative enough to come up with original patterns, but I’m willing to bet you can.  Creating an original pattern is as much a skill as anything and skills can be learned.  Start by making changes to an existing pattern.  Then make a few changes to the changes.  Pretty soon, you will see your own quilling style, your own creative voice, emerge. 
You can read more about Rick Whitman, and see some beautiful photos of her quillwork, on Pat Caputo’s Whimsiquills blog.

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Jul 10 2009

Make Yourself a Quilling Idea Box

Published by under Quilling Inspiration

Creative ideas — we all have them, but do you capture them for future use?  If not, you are losing a very valuable crafting resource.  
Flashes of inspiration can occur anytime, anywhere. You may be browsing through a home decorating magazine and spot a color combination you wouldn’t normally choose. It catches your eye and you begin thinking that the colors would look striking on a handmade card. Or you see a floral arrangement that is quite out of the ordinary. You begin imagining it recreated in quilled flowers. It is such a good idea that you are sure you will remember it later. But, sadly, you probably won’t.
Last year, when I decided to get serious about my quilling, I realized just how many ideas I was losing track of. Sometimes the idea would return at a later time when I happened upon the same set of circumstances that sparked it in the first place, but I know that many are gone for good. To save as many ideas as possible, I created an idea box.
At a local office supply store I purchased a sturdy 3″x5″ card box, along with a set of tabbed dividers and cards printed in fancy colors (just because they made me smile). An unused recipe box you have tucked away or found at a yard sale together with scrap card stock cut to size could certainly be used and would be a great way to recycle. The tabbed dividers had the names of the months printed on them, so I turned them around and used the back. I wrote the names of the categories I wanted on some blank peel-and-stick labels I had, cut them to size, and stuck them on the tabs. Some of the categories I use are 3-D Quilling, Ornaments, Floral Ideas, Greeting Cards, Christmas, and Bits & Pieces, for ideas that don’t seem to fit elsewhere. You should customize your tabs to fit your own ideas.
idea-cardThe beauty of this system is that it not only allows me to capture a brief description of my idea, but to include a sketch, crude as it may be, or attach the actual picture that provided the original inspiration. I scanned one of my cards to show you what I mean. It’s not “pretty” and I certainly had no idea at the time I made it that anyone else would ever see it, but I think it accurately demonstrates my point.
Remember, with this system you aren’t designing your project, just jotting down enough information to jog your memory at a later time. This is meant to be a quick and easy tool used to capture the spirit of the idea before it is lost, not necessarily the details. If the process turns into a chore, you won’t use it. 
I encourage you to make your own Quilling Idea Box and keep it near your work space. When you have an idea, jot it down. When you need inspiration at a later date, simply open your box and look through your cards. I have no doubt that you will see a note that will start your creative juices flowing.  
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