Is Paper Quilling Easy? I Tried It To See.


Paper quilling is a traditional craft that involves using long strips of thin paper and a slotted tool that lets you twist it to make shapes. People say that it’s very easy to learn, so I decided to try it to make a 3D wall in my dollhouse.

So was it easy to learn paper quilling?

Paper quilling is fairly simple to learn because it’s a very basic technique. It’s a craft that both children and adults can do, and for adults it could be a very relaxing hobby because it does involve concentration and attention to detail. Having to pay attention to the pattern and the repetitive movements of the quilling can be very calming.

However, paper quilling is not quite as easy as it was described and there’s definitely a learning curve when you first begin to pick up the hobby!

Paper quilling tips for beginners

Table of Contents

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Paper quilling strips and tool.
Paper quilling strips and tool.

What supplies do you need to start paper quilling?

Paper quilling is done with long strips of paper that are 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide and a quilling tool that has a handle and a slot that the paper goes into. Using the tool, the paper is twisted into coils which are then shaped into assorted shapes that are combined to form a larger picture. Paper quilling is also used to make jewelry and other types of decorative items.

I started paper quilling using a tool that I bought at the craft store and a bunch of paper strips that I also bought at the craft store in the clearance section.

Squeakerchimp paper beads shop graphic

Get a quilling tool from Squeakerchimp on EtsyOpens in a new tab.

If you’re not picky about the colors, you might be able to pick up quilling paper at a good price just to practice with.

I started making very basic shapes like regular circles and basic ovals and it wasn’t quite as simple to make them as they had said. After a little practice though, I got the hang of it and was able to start working on a decorative wall for my dollhouse.

To see paper quilling supplies on Etsy, click here.Opens in a new tab.

What can you make with paper quilling?

Paper quilling is used to make many types of decorative items including invitations, artwork, and scrapbooking or other paper crafts. There are many types of paper quilling patterns available for sale and a lot of different tools and techniques are available for someone who wants to learn how to make different items with quilling.

A common use for quilling is to make wedding invitations and other types of decorative invitations or announcements.

A lot of quilling patterns include things like flowers, so it makes sense that quilled designs would be used for things like weddings.

I decided to use some quilling to make a wall in my dollhouse because I wanted to try the technique and I thought that it would be a good place to use it.

I incorporated a lot of very basic shapes because I was in the process of learning, and I adapted the basic techniques so that they would work with what I wanted them to do, but I think that it came out pretty well.

For an article that I wrote about a similar paper craft, click to read this article about making paper beads.

Gluing the paper to the board.
Gluing the paper to the board.

What do you attach quilling to?

When you do paper quilling you create the pattern shapes and then you attach it to a solid piece of backing that will allow you to build the design. I used a piece of matboard that was cut to the size of the doll house wall. It was the size of the wall and I started out by gluing the shapes to it but then I eventually used the mat board itself to dictate what shapes the pieces would be.

When I started, I began by making some flowers by following the directions to make the shapes but I very quickly realized that I couldn’t do that without a pattern, so I just filled the wall in randomly.

I started by making some designs on the board, and then I came back in and filled in the smaller spaces with pieces of paper that were bent to fit the space that was open.

Technically, when you do quilling you’re supposed to glue the end of the paper coil to the shape in order to maintain its size.

However, if I did that I wouldn’t be able to fit in all of the shapes and cover the entire wall, so I kind of did it backwards and didn’t really follow the rules.

I ended up with a wall that was completely covered with quilled paper designs even though a lot of the shapes were a little freeform based on my lack of skill!

paper quilling in progress
The dollhouse wall in progress.

Tips for beginning quillers.

Based on my lack of experience and doing this for the first time I have some tips for beginning colors that I would like to share.

  • Practice first before you start making anything permanent!
  • When you glue the paper coil to itself use less glue than you think you’ll need. It gets very messy if you don’t, and you’ll be washing your hands a lot.
  • Speaking of it being messy, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep a damp paper towel nearby so that you can wipe your fingers if you get a lot of glue on them.
  • Practice with different tensions so that you have coils that are more or less tight when you unwind them.
  • If you don’t have coils that open up when you pull the tool off, you might be coiling them too tight, so try to loosen up your tension a little bit.
  • If you want to create a specific pattern make sure that you know the shapes that you need for it before you start. Practice those shapes before you have to make them so that you don’t have pieces that look odd in your pattern.
  • If the pattern is something very specific and you need to be precise with sizes, check to see if you need to cut the paper strips smaller so that the coils that you make aren’t too large.

For an article about making mini notebooks, click here.

Paper quilling is a fun craft but it takes a lot longer than you think, and it’s not quite as easy as it’s described in all of the articles that I read. It definitely takes practice and some skill, but the result comes out looking nice even if you don’t do it perfectly.

If you’ve never tried paper quilling give it a try! It’s an inexpensive craft and it will get you into a mental relaxation zone because of the concentration and precision that it requires.


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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