Can’t Quell my Quillin’

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:

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By Yulia Brodskaya, a Russian quilling artist.

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Also Yulia Brodskaya

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By Mezcraft

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By Mezcraft

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.

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Not a great picture, but here is the tree in our new room. I had to disassemble it branchlet by branchlet, and resemble it in a different configuration to make it fit.

Quilling can also be used to great effect for more design-oriented projects, such as monograms or amazing typography:

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Yulia Brodskaya

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Yulia Brodskaya

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Mezcraft

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Mezcraft

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Mezcraft. I love how this series really shows the range of textures available with quilling.

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By Erin Casner

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By Erin Casner

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.

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My amazingly messy work-space, right in the middle of the main walkway into our room, for two solid weeks. It was like an alternately fragile and sticky obstacle course. My boyfriend is a saint.

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Pro-tip: it is much better to do such things on a hard floor than on the carpeting. I was picking fluff out of the glue and glue out of carpet constantly.

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4 thoughts on “Can’t Quell my Quillin’

  1. Hey, Thanks for featuring my work. I think your large scale quilled tree is totally quiller.. yeah, I went there.. Anyways awesome stuff.. and I do really love Yulia’s work – totally amazing.

  2. Great post! I wish I could just plant a quilled seed and that tree would grow eventually. It also got me thinking – what about a post on simple, effective post-DIY cleanups? like how to get glue out of a carpet or how to get a bunch of goose feathers out of a Northern European convection oven.

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