10 Practical Steps to Quilling Paper for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Gather your quilling materials
  2. Select and cut your paper
  3. Learn how to use the quilling tool
  4. Start with basic quilling shapes
  5. Practice making tighter and looser coils
  6. Glue your shapes together
  7. Start working on simple projects
  8. Learn how to make 3D quilling projects
  9. Get creative with colors and textures
  10. Show off your finished quilling projects

Quilling paper is an art form that turns simple strips of paper into intricate designs and shapes. It's a fun and accessible craft that even beginners can enjoy. With a few basic tools and a dash of patience, you will be able to create beautiful quilled masterpieces. This guide will walk you step-by-step on how to quilling paper, from gathering your materials to showing off your finished projects.

Gather your quilling materials

Before you can start to quill, you need to gather your materials. You don't need a ton, but having the right tools will make your quilling journey smoother and more enjoyable. Here's a checklist of what you'll need:

  • Quilling Paper: This is the star of the show. Quilling paper comes in a variety of colors and sizes. For beginners, 1/8 inch wide strips are a good starting point.
  • Quilling Tool: This tool helps you curl the paper into coils. It's typically a handle with a slotted end where you insert the paper strip. If you can't find a quilling tool, a toothpick or a cocktail stick can also do the trick.
  • Glue: You'll need glue to secure your quilled shapes. A clear drying craft glue works best; it's strong and won't leave visible marks on your work.
  • Tweezers: Tweezers come in handy when you're trying to fit pieces together or when you need to place a coil in a tight spot.
  • Work Board: A corkboard or foam board can serve as your work surface. It helps to keep your pieces in place while you work.

Once you have these materials at hand, you're all set to start your journey on how to quilling paper. Remember, the beauty of quilling lies in its simplicity: with just a few basic supplies, you can create a wide array of designs and projects. Happy quilling!

Select and cut your paper

The next step on how to quilling paper is to select and cut your paper. The color and width of your paper strips can greatly impact your final design. You can buy pre-cut quilling paper, which comes in a wide variety of colors, or you can cut your own.

If you're going for pre-cut paper, you have the advantage of uniform width strips. This is great for consistency, especially when you're just starting out. If you decide to cut your own paper, you’ll need a ruler and a craft knife or a paper cutter. You can use any type of paper, but thinner papers like origami paper or printer paper work best as they are easier to roll.

When cutting your own strips, aim for 1/8 inch wide strips for basic quilling. You can go narrower or wider depending on the design you want to achieve. Just make sure to cut your strips as straight as possible — uneven strips can make your coils look a bit off.

Remember, the key to successful quilling is patience and precision. It might take a few tries to get even strips, but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. Before long, you'll be selecting and cutting paper like a pro!

Learn how to use the quilling tool

Alright, let's move onto the next step in our journey on how to quilling paper: learning how to use the quilling tool. This tool plays a pivotal role in the art of quilling. It's what you'll use to roll your paper strips into coils, the basic building blocks of your quilling designs.

Quilling tools usually have a slotted end that holds the paper strip as you roll it. To start, slip one end of your paper strip into the slot, and then, turn the tool with one hand while guiding the paper with the other. It's like winding spaghetti on a fork — easy-peasy, right?

As you roll, try to keep the paper aligning with the top of the slot. This helps to keep your coils neat and even. Once you've reached the end of your strip, you can slide the coil off the tool. Voila! You've created your first quilled coil! A moment worth a mini celebration, don't you think?

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use the quilling tool, the more comfortable you'll get with it. So don't fret if your first few coils don't look quite right. Keep rolling, and you'll soon be a master at using the quilling tool.

Start with basic quilling shapes

Now that you've got the hang of using the quilling tool, let's dive into creating some basic quilling shapes. This is where the fun really begins in your 'how to quilling paper' adventure. We'll start with the simplest shapes and gradually work our way up.

First off, we have the loose coil. Just as the name suggests, this coil is not tight but rather loose. You make it by allowing your tightly wound coil to unroll a bit before gluing the end to keep it from unraveling further. Congratulations, you've just made your first loose coil!

Next up is the teardrop shape. To create this, you pinch one side of the loose coil. That's it! You've just created a teardrop shape. Really, it's as simple as it sounds.

Want more? Let's try the marquise or eye shape. Take your teardrop and pinch the opposite side. Now you have a shape that looks like a marquise gem or an eye. Keep practicing these basic shapes and soon enough, you'll have a whole array of quilling shapes under your belt!

Remember, you are a beginner and it's perfectly okay to stick to these basic shapes while you're still learning. Once you're comfortable with these, you can start exploring more complex shapes. And always remember: in quilling, as with any other art form, there are no mistakes, only creative opportunities!

Practice making tighter and looser coils

Now that you have a grasp on basic shapes, let's refine your skills a bit more. Let's learn how to control the tightness of your coils. This will give you a wider range of options when you design your quilling paper artwork.

Let's start with looser coils. To make a looser coil, you should let your paper unwind a bit after you've coiled it with your quilling tool. The trick here is to find the balance between loose and too loose. If your coil becomes too loose, it may lose its shape. So, practice until you find that sweet spot.

On the other hand, making tighter coils requires a bit more effort. After you've wound the paper around the quilling tool, you need to hold it for a few seconds. This helps the paper to maintain its tightly wound shape. However, be careful not to hold it too tight as it could cause the paper to crinkle or tear.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So, keep on experimenting with both tighter and looser coils. The more you do it, the better you will get at determining the right tightness for each project.

One more thing: don't be too hard on yourself. This is a learning process. The more you learn, the more your 'how to quilling paper' skills will improve. So, keep on practicing!

Glue your shapes together

Alright, we are doing great so far. You've mastered the art of making coils with varying degrees of tightness. The next step in learning how to quilling paper is to glue these shapes together to create your masterpiece.

Here's a simple way to go about it: First, dab a small amount of glue on a piece of scrap paper. Then, use a toothpick or a small paintbrush to apply it to the end of your coiled shape. Don't go overboard with the glue; a little goes a long way.

Next, press the glued end of your shape onto the spot where you'd like it to stick. This could be another shape you've made, or it could be your base paper if you're starting to assemble your project. Hold it in place for a few seconds to make sure it sticks.

Remember, patience is key here. You may need to hold the pieces together for a little longer if they're not sticking immediately. But hang in there—it's all part of the process of learning how to quilling paper.

What's that? You've glued all your shapes together and it's starting to look like something? Fantastic! You're definitely getting the hang of this. Keep going!

Start working on simple projects

Great job! You've got the basics down. Now, let's put those skills to good use. The next step in mastering how to quilling paper is to start working on simple projects. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—or in this case, a single coil!

When starting out, it's a good idea to follow some basic patterns. You could make a greeting card, a bookmark or even some cute earrings. These simple projects allow you to apply your newly learned skills and give you a boost of confidence.

For example, if you're creating a greeting card, start by sketching a simple design such as a flower or a heart on the card. Then, fill it in with your quilled shapes. A tip here: it's better to fill in your sketch from the center outwards. This way, the shapes fit together more naturally, and your final design looks more polished.

Once you've finished your first project, take a step back and admire your work. Yes, you did that! Remember, each project you complete brings you closer to mastering how to quilling paper. So, don't stop now, keep going!

Learn how to make 3D quilling projects

Now that you've got some experience under your belt, let's take things to the next level. Ready to learn how to make 3D quilling projects? This is when your quilling paper art literally pops off the page!

Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it may seem. The trick is to start with simple 3D shapes. For instance, you can begin with a 3D cube. It's basically just six squares glued together. Easy, right? The beauty of it is, once you know how to make a cube, you can use it as a building block for more complex 3D models.

Another fun 3D quilling project for beginners is a bird. Start with creating the body and the head as two separate spheres. Then, add details like wings, beak, and eyes. Before you know it, you'll have a cute little bird sitting on your table!

Remember, patience is key. It might take a bit more time and practice to get your 3D shapes just right. But don't worry, each project is a learning experience. And soon enough, you'll be surprising yourself with what you can create!

Get creative with colors and textures

With the basics of how to quilling paper under your belt, it's time to color outside the lines. Let's talk about how to get creative with colors and textures!

Quilling paper comes in a wide array of colors. But don't feel limited by the colors in the pack. Remember that you can paint your quilling paper for a more personalized touch. Imagine making a sunset scene with gradients of orange and red, or a cool blue ocean with waves of different shades. The possibilities are truly endless.

Now, let's talk textures. You might be wondering—how can flat paper have texture? Well, remember the basic quilling shapes you learned? The way you arrange them can create interesting textures. For instance, grouping tight coils closely together can mimic the texture of a fluffy cloud. On the other hand, arranging loose coils in a spiral can give the illusion of a whirlpool. It's all about playing around and seeing what works!

Remember, there's no right or wrong way to use color and texture in your quilling projects. It's all about expressing your creativity and having fun in the process. So go ahead, let your imagination run wild and create something uniquely you!

Show off your finished quilling projects

So, you've learned how to quilling paper, experimented with colors and textures, and created some incredible art. What's next? Sharing your work with the world, of course!

Showing off your finished quilling projects is not just about getting compliments — although those are always nice. It's about becoming part of a community. You see, the world of quilling is filled with people just like you: creative individuals who love crafting beautiful things out of paper. Sharing your work can open up opportunities for you to connect with these people, learn from them, and even get inspired by their creations.

So how exactly can you show off your work? Well, you could start by taking high-quality photos of your quilling projects. Make sure to capture all the intricate details that make your work unique. You can then share these photos with your friends and family or post them on social media. You might be surprised at how many people are interested in learning about your new hobby!

Another great way to showcase your work is by giving your quilling projects as gifts. Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces when they receive a handmade piece of art created by you. Not only is this a unique and personal gift, but it's also a great way to introduce others to the world of quilling.

Remember, the goal is not to be the best or to create perfect work. It's about enjoying the process, learning new skills, and expressing your creativity. So don't be shy, show off your work and be proud of what you've accomplished!

If you enjoyed learning about quilling paper and want to explore more paper art techniques, don't miss out on Mar Delmar's workshop, 'The Art of Paper Cut.' This workshop will introduce you to the beautiful world of paper cutting, a perfect complement to your newfound quilling skills. Expand your paper art horizons with this fantastic workshop!