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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Querly Quilling -- Floral Greetings

by Grace Mounce

First of all, hello to all of you readers at creativesavv!  I am Grace Mounce, Lili Mounce's daughter; and I am here to share the magic of paper quilling with you all!  But first, let me tell you a quick little story.

I have always loved crafting, and I can remember a time when I would spend about two hours sitting in the art/craft book section of my library picking through shelves of craft books and selecting each one as I would a perfectly ripe, juicy blackberry.  It was only when I got home, however, that I would discover that most of the crafts in the books had a "what you need" list with such foreboding supplies as glycerin and acetate.  As a young girl, not only did I lack the money or means of transportation for accessing these items; I didn't even have a clue what that acetate stuff was.  Fortunately, however, there was one craft that never let me down; and this craft, as you might have guessed, was paper quilling.  I learned this art, which is referred to by some as paper filigree, from a lovely Sunday School teacher; and because it can be done with basically as little as glue, paper, and a toothpick, I could quill pretty much any time I wanted to.

I hope that you too discover how delightful this craft can be.  Quilling is a wonderfully frugal and useful art--it provides crafters (kids and adults alike) with a cheap activity, and it does not take much effort to create spectacular quilled creations.  In this post, I will demonstrate one of the handiest uses for quilling: making quilled greeting cards.  As you can find out in a previous post on this blog, making a greeting card is transparently cheaper than buying one; moreover, a handmade quilled greeting card shares kindness with and elicits amazement from the recipient.  And did I mention that the card that I will show you how to make is easy?  In fact, it took me about three hours to create; and I was taking pictures, determining measurements, and arguing with my sister during that time as well!

Here are the supplies you will need to quill your card.  Notice that there is no acetate necessary for this craft.  All you need is plain or colored card stock (thick paper) for the card portion, a toothpick or darning needle (or any stick that is about as thin; you can also buy a professional quilling tool at craft stores or on the internet for as cheap as $1.50, but a thin toothpick or needle works fine for me), glue, scissors, a ruler, a pencil and pen, an eraser, and quilling strips.  These are thin strips of paper that can be found at either craft store such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels or online (for about $1.50 for a pack of fifty in one color), but I usually prefer to make my own using plain letter paper and markers or colored pencils.  It's cheaper and usually more convenient for me.

Here's a picture of the quilling strip creation process.  To make your own quilling strips, all you need to do is mark and cut along lines that are 1/8" apart from each other  on a piece of paper and color them in.  Markers work well for bold coverage of the paper, and colored pencils offer a range of pastels and specific brights.  Just make sure that you erase all pencil lines before you color so that they don't show up on the final strips.

Coloring a quilling strip can be difficult, so I advise securing it to your workspace with your hand as shown below.  Your index finger and thumb should hold it taut while you color.  For this project, I made five 8 1/2" long yellow strips, one 6" pastel coral strip, and four 4" light green strips.

Now let's begin quilling!  With your quilling tool, take one of your 8 1/2" or 6" strips and begin to roll it around the stick as you would a little roll of bathroom tissue.  Here is an image of the process.

Once you have reached the end of the strip, carefully remove it from your tool while keeping the coil intact with your index finger and thumb; then, separate your finger and thumb a little bit and witness the magic.  From a skinny piece of paper, you have created an elegant spiral!  If it is an 8 1/2" strip, it should be roughly 3/8" of an inch in diameter; if it is 6" long, it should be about 1/4" in diameter.  You may want to let it sit on your workspace to loosen if the diameter is smaller.

To preserve your beautiful coil, spread a very tiny amount of glue on the tip of the strip.  Note that I bolded, underlined, and italicized the words "very tiny."  Directly squirting the glue from a glue bottle, in fact, would probably give you too much; I recommend putting a little on your finger first and then transferring it to the quilled strip.

 Once you are done, repeat the process for your remaining 8 1/2" and 6" strips.  For your 4" strips, roll them on the quilling tool until there is a 1 1/2" tail left; then remove the coil and let it loose so that it looks like the extending green strips on the card below or a lock of hair on a little curly-headed fairy.

Now it's time to glue the coils together and watch what they create.  Spread glue on the sides of the circles to create the flower shape shown on the image of the card at the end of the post.  Notice that the coil made from the 6" strip is in the middle with the five 8 1/2" strips surrounding it.  You will also want to glue the 4" tailed curls in back-to-back pairs and glue each pair to the sides of one of the petals in the flower.  Once you are done, let it dry.  Doesn't it look lovely so far? It still has to be glued onto the card, but give yourself some applause for the masterpiece that you have before you now!

To make a card on which to glue your quilled creation, cut two pieces of card stock, one that is 4" by 7" and one that is 3" by 2 1/2" (for mine, I chose pink and white, respectively).  Fold the larger piece in half lengthwise and glue the smaller piece onto one of the sides of the card.  There should be a 1/2" wide frame surrounding the smaller piece as there is in the picture below.

Now that the card is ready, you can begin the final step of the process.  Spread a thin layer of glue on the top left corner of the card and place the flower upon it, making sure that you have spread just the right amount of glue to fit the size and shape of the flower.  Shape the stems of your flower so that they extend directly below and to the right, creating a 90 degree angle; then, spread glue on the area where the coils of the stems meet the card and secure them down.  To finish the card, you can write a short little message on the framed square of paper such as "A Cordial Invitation," "Happy Birthday," "Please let me borrow the car tonight," or simply "Mom."

 Your card is done!  Aren't you proud of yourself?  You have created a beautiful gift that is not only a frugal but also an artistic alternative to a store-bought card.  And take note that people are impressed by quilling--you will undoubtedly receive praise.
Thank you so much for taking the time to quill with me!  I hope you had fun; and if it was frustrating at times, don't worry.  Quilling, as with all art forms, gets easier with experience and trial and error.  Practice makes perfect, so I also recommend searching your library for quilling books with treasure troves of new project ideas; you will need them, after all, since quilling is a highly addictive craft.  And many thanks to my mother for allowing me to do this guest post!  Creative savv is a wonderful blog, and I am so glad to have been a part of it!

Here's another quilled greeting card.


  1. Well done, Grace! The card looks great!

    1. Grace (Lili's daughter)July 25, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      Thank you so much, Kris--and thank you also for reading my post! Much appreciated!

  2. Grace, this is beautiful. I had no idea this even existed as a craft. I need to try this sometime.

    1. Grace (Lili's daughter)July 25, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      Pamela, thank you for your compliment! And I definitely recommend quilling as a hobby. It's a lot of fun and quite easy; and once you get the hang of it, you can create spectacular projects like this:,r:6,s:0,i:91

      (sorry about the long link, by the way.)

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I tried this today and I found it quite tricky so well done you! I was trying to make a Christmas card prototype, wondering about making a green one as a tree with a brown one as a trunk and maybe some white ones dotted about to represent snow. Re-reading your post, I think I need to use longer strips. My other problem is lack of inspiration as to how to use the lovely coils creatively. I shall try again. Thanks for your really good instructions.

    1. Grace (Lili's daughter)September 22, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Hello, Jessica!

      Thank you for saying that my instructions were good; that's a real compliment for me considering that I'm not much of a good teacher (that's where my sister excels). Your Christmas card idea sounds wonderful--reading your description, I could really get a feel of that cute modern-art side of quilling. It made me smile!
      And I agree that using longer strips would definitely make an improvement; it sounds like you would like your coils to be bigger than the ones I used for my flower. What many quillers do is take little coils and glue them together to form one big shape (e.g., they might create a tree by layering pinched coils like leaves or a bird by layering the same coils in representation of feathers).
      Also, good for you for persevering! It is truly worth it, even if it does take a lot of time. I first learned quilling from my Sunday School teacher; it took our class about three to four weeks to work on the same style of flower in the greeting card in my post. In other words, you're making good time! :)
      Have a great day!


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