May 12 2009
The first thing you want to do is to tear a strip of paper to the desired length. Tearing the paper creates a frayed end that is less noticeable when glued down than a cut end. Your pattern instructions will tell you how long your strip of quilling paper needs to be. For practice, a 4″ strip is a good size.
Now that you have your strip of quilling paper, you will want to loosen the fibers to make it easier to create a smooth roll. Look at your paper and find the “right” and the “wrong” side (explained earlier here). Now, gently run the wrong side of the paper strip over your quilling tool or thumbnail. The paper will start to bend with the smooth side out which is what you want. When using your quilling tool of choice, be sure to roll the paper in the same direction it is now bending.
Instructions for using a slotted quilling tool should come with the package, but it is quite easy to use. Simply insert one end of the paper into the tool (just enough to catch in the slot) and turn the handle. I roll paper away from me, so I insert the strip with the smooth side facing me and the curl of the paper that we created by loosening the fibers is toward the floor. If you are more comfortable rolling paper toward you, insert the paper with the wrong side up (the curl in the paper ends will be towards you) and roll towards you. Either way, use your other hand to guide the paper, keeping the edges aligned as evenly as possible. Use an even tension on the paper strip when rolling your coil.
Quilling with a needle tool, pin, or toothpick, is a bit trickier and may require more practice, but certainly can be done by a beginner. Place the end of the paper between your thumb and index finger and pinch the paper edge around the shaft of your tool and start rolling the paper. If you have difficulty in beginning the roll, try moistening your finger tips or the tip of the paper. As with the slotted tool, if you roll away from yourself, start the paper with the smooth side towards you; if you roll towards yourself, start with the “wrong” side towards you. The beginning of the coil should be tightly wound to ensure a small round center. Loosen your tension slightly as you roll to the end of the strip.