May 11 2009

Let’s Start Quilling – Tools of the Trade

Published by at 6:55 pm under Quilling How-To,Quilling Tips

Are you a paper crafter who has never quilled before?   Are you curious and want to find out if you’d like it, but cringe at the thought of purchasing even more crafting supplies that might end up unused and forgotten in some drawer or plastic bin?

If this sounds like you, then fear not.  Basic quilling supplies are few and very inexpensive.  In fact, you probably have many of the supplies currently on hand.  If you find that you enjoy quilling and want to do more (and I truly hope you will), then you can go wild and build up your stash of quilling tools, papers, and embellishments.

Three Must-Haves for Quilling: Paper Strips, Glue, Curling Tool
  1. Quilling Paper Strips. As I mentioned in a previous post, the most common width of paper strip used in quilling is 1/8″. However, other widths are available. Narrower strips (1/16″ ) are used for fine, detailed quilling, while wider strips, 1/4″, 1/2″, and 3/8″, are used primarily for fringed flowers and 3D sculpting. My advice is to purchase one package of 1/8″ multi-colored strips. You will appreciate the variety of colors you have to choose from as you make your first designs.
  2. Glue. Any good quality white tacky craft glue that dries clear will work fine. Over time you will notice some slight differences and no doubt choose a favorite, but for now, use what you have on hand.
  3. Curling Tool. You will need to use something to curl your paper strips. A corsage pin, hat pin, round toothpick, needle quilling tool, or slotted tool can all be used. With the pins, toothpick, and needle tool, the paper strip is curled by rolling it around the center shaft. A slotted quilling tool grabs the end of the quilling paper and you wind the paper into a coil by turning the handle. There are pros and cons for each type. The needle tools make a smaller center to the coil, but starting and rolling the coil can be a bit tricky. The slotted quilling tool leaves a tell-tale bend in the paper at the center of the coil, but is by far the easiest tool for beginners to use. My advice is to buy a slotted tool with a long cushioned handle. Once you get the hang of quilling, you can branch out and try the needle tool or finger rolling. If you simply refuse to spend another dime on supplies, then try the toothpick. It is easier for paper to grab onto the wooden surface than the smooth shaft of the needle tool or pin.

A quality slotted tool manufactured by Lake City Craft Co. is available from Scrapbook Super Center where you will also find their brand of quilling paper (just enter “quilling” into the search menu). Custom Quilling  carries a larger variety of quilling tools and supplies from several major manufacturers.

(Note: Please avoid the strips that are sold in a tube. They are very difficult to work with and I don’t want you to become easily discouraged.)

Other Useful Quilling Tools and Supplies
  • Workboard. You can purchase one of the many nice ones available on the market today, or make your own from a sturdy piece of corrugated cardboard. A good size is 6″x8″, but any size will do as long as it is larger than your quilling pattern. Cover the front of the workboard with a piece of wax paper or clear plastic sheet cut to size and held in place with a few straight pins.
  • Straight Pins. Besides holding the workboard covering in place, pins are used to hold your coils and scrolls on the board as you work on your quilling pattern. This allows you to “dry fit” the pieces and make any adjustments before gluing.
  • Ruler. You will usually want to measure the length of your paper strips so you can form shapes that are uniform in size. Your quilling pattern instructions will tell you the length of the strip needed to form each coil or scroll.
  • Tweezers. Some of the individual shapes you create will be pretty tiny. You will find tweezers quite helpful in achieving perfect placement of your coils and scrolls into your quilling design.
  • Toothpicks.  Besides being an all around handy tool to have in your crafting arsenal, toothpicks are excellent for aplying glue to your quilled shapes.
That’s it — all of the quilling tools and supplies you need to get started. So gather them together and come on back.
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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Let’s Start Quilling – Tools of the Trade”

  1. Joanaon 28 Jun 2009 at 12:53 am

    hola! mira yo queria saber dond puedo conseguir los instrumentos para quilling, porq estoy en cordoba, Argentina y no consigo ni las tiras ni el intrumento…las tiras las hago con cartulina de 3mil de ancho y 30cm d largo..
    bueno espero resp..gracias un beso!

  2. Charlotteon 01 Jul 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Hi, Joana!

    I’m afraid that I do not know where you can purchase the quilling tools in Argentina. There is a great quiller living in Brazil by the name of Regina Ribeiro ( You might try contacting her for more information.

  3. Benaiferon 14 Feb 2010 at 11:55 am

    Hi, I m really intrested in this Quilling art but dont know where to learn the same from can you plz guide me or tell me where to learn the technique from i stay in Mumbai South (Napeansea rd).

  4. Charlotteon 14 Feb 2010 at 1:56 pm

    If you are looking for quilling classes in your area, I’m afraid that I can’t help you. I have created a Beginner’s Corner page on my blog that contains links to past posts that beginning quillings will find most helpful. In addition, there’s a lot of good information on the Internet and in quilling books. There are also several quilling groups that you could join. The North American Quilling Guild is open to all quillers ( and their site offers a wealth of information. In addition, there is a very active Yahoo! group of quillers ( You might find another quiller who lives close to you through the groups.

  5. Sierraon 21 Jun 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Hi your website is very helpful and your tips have helped steer me away from bad supplies and techniques! i just had a question, i am going to cut my own quilling paper because it is soooo expensive in my area so i was wondering if it was like card stock,printer paper, what kind of paper is it? do you know?
    Thanks a bunch!

  6. Charlotteon 09 Jul 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Hello, Sierra,

    I’m afraid that since I don’t cut my own papers, so I have no personal experience I can share. However, I do belong to an online quilling group that has discussed this topic in length. If you join the group ( you can search the topic archives and find a wealth of information.

    I hope this helps.

    Happy Quilling,

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