Quilling is the little known and (in my opinion) under-appreciated art of rolling and gluing colored papers. Also known as paper filigree, it was used by monks and nuns to decorate religious books during the renaissance, and in the 1800’s it was a craft for upper-class gentle ladies. Historically boring, but just look at the beautiful dimensionality, intricacy, and water-like flow of these modern quilled art works:
I’ve made many small quilling pieces, but here is my pièce de résistance, a ten-foot-tall tree that I spent entirely too long assembling.
Quilling can also be used to great effect for more design-oriented projects, such as monograms or amazing typography:
Here is a simple tutorial for quilling your own masterpiece. You need colored paper for strips, glue, scissors, small cylindrical guides (eg. pencils, lollipop sticks, toothpicks, etc.), and a flat white piece of paper on which to glue everything. Cut half-inch strips of colored paper using a guide or a paper cutter. You could also buy pre-cut “quilling paper.” Run a scissor blade along the paper to start the curl, then wrap it around a guide. The smaller the guide and the longer you hold it on, the tighter your curl. Pour a very shallow puddle of glue into a bowl, and dip one edge of your paper in the glue. I use Elmer’s, but almost anything that dries clear will work. Set your curl on your flat paper according to your design, and hold it in the right place until the glue has stiffened enough (between ten and thirty seconds). Repeat for many, many curls. You can draw guides on your flat paper, or use a more free-handed approach.