Paper Quilling

Paper Quilling is also known, as paper filigree. It is the art of rolling thin strips (which comes in different widths) of paper into different shapes and these shapes are used to make various designs. It is fun and very relaxing . As you become experienced quillers, you can make your own designs.


As a beginner, it is always good to have a few basic tools.

A Needle Tool

A slotted quilling tool

Quilling work board

Quilling Paper Strips



Small Scissor



The first step is to make a sampler of all the shapes. This helps you master each shape and at the same time you will not have to go through the book every time you are creating a pattern.

Tight Circle: Place the end of the paper strip into the slot , making sure the end of the strip is at the very end of the slot. And then slowly turn the tool and make sure to form a tight circle. Put a little glue on the end and hold it till it dries. Then remove the circle out of the slot. This is the basic technique.

Loose Circle: For this shape, you finish rolling the tight circle , let the coil drop off your tool and relax so that the circle will be bigger. Glue the end of the coil

Teardrop: Make a loose circle and then pinch one side of the circle to make a point. To shape the teardrop, all you do is curl the point of the teardrop.

Marquise: Pinch the opposite sides of a loose circle into points.To make a shaped Marquise, curl both the points but in opposite directions. ( Shown next to the Marquise in the sampler)

Square:Make a Marquise and the turn it 90 degrees and pinch two more points on opposite sides. For triangle, pinch three points on a loose circle.

Bunny Ears: Pinch two points on a loose circle but position the points closer together. Make Half circle by pinching a loose circle at two points to form one flat surface.

Loose Scroll: Roll one end of the strip like the way you make a tight circle but do not roll the whole strip , leave 1/2 inch in the end.

Open heart: Fold the paper strip in half to form a crease at the center and then roll each end inward towards the center.

V Scroll:Fold the paper strip in half to form crease at the center and then roll each end outward.

S Scroll: Roll each end but in opposite direction towards the center to form the S shape.

C Scroll: Roll each end towards the center same direction ,to form C shape

Spirals:Take the needle tool and place one end of the strip at an angle against the needle and roll down of the tool till it reaches the hand then slowly let go the spiral from its tip so thet you can continue with the spiraling.

Hard to follow the technique? Check out the youtube link I found which might make it a little easier.

Now!!!! Would you like to try out a small pattern? Then Follow the instructions below: I had seen this pattern of butterfly in Malinda Johnston's Paper Quilling. I used this pattern as a guide and made a few changes just to learn and make a new design.

Body for the butterfly


Draw the pattern and place it on a work board and then start to cut shapes.

Take 1/8-inch paper strip. Make the following shapes.

6 Marquises- 4 inch yellow strip, 12 Teardrop - 4 inch yellow strip, 2 Teardrops - 5 inch yellow strip, 2 Curved Teardrop-4 inch yellow strip, 6 Loose circle -3 inch dark brown strip, 6 Loose circle -3 inch golden brown, 2 Loose circle - 4 inch dark brown strip 10 S shaped scrolls - 5 inch dark brown , 2 Tight circle- 2 inch dark brown.

For the body, make two triangles one small and one big with light brown colored construction paper. The pattern is shown above. The smaller triangle is used for the head and the bigger one is for the body. Roll each triangle tightly from the wide end and glue the pointed end down. See that the pointed end is in the center. Now all you have to do is assemble the wings following the pattern and then each wing is again glued to the body and the head. Lastly Make an antennae by cutting a gold or the dark brown paper about 1 inch and make a slit in the middle . Do not make a slit fully but leave a little space in the end and then glue it to the head. You can improvise and try your own design once you feel that you have mastered the shapes.

Finished pattern

References and Resources

I have given below a couple of books which really helped me a lot. If you are interested in learning quilling in detail these are good books.

Paper Quilling by Malinda Johnston

Traditional Papercrafts by Janet Wilson

My Gallery

The Carolina Wren pattern is from the Paper Quilling book by Malinda Johnston. I will be adding more quilling projects very soon.

The Carolina Wren

I always wanted to do one of the quilling designs of a graceful Japanese lady originally done by Margaret Haigh. Finally I have accomplished it!!!! Not as good as the original one but a good reproduction I hope !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Tiger below is my own creation!!


Quilled Kathakali

It has been really been along time since I got the time to take up a quilling project. Started one awhile back and yippee... finally finished. Always wanted to do Kathakali -Dance art form from southern India (Kerala). With all the pretty colors I knew it would look beautiful once done. and.....I am not disappointed:) :) :)