By Ann Martin
If you enjoy making Valentine cards, quilled hearts and flowers are a great way to add dimension. At first glance, quilling might seem complicated, but it honestly isn’t hard to do once you’ve learned the basics. An added bonus is that it’s one of the least expensive hobbies I’ve come across, and chances are good you already have the necessary supplies on hand to get started.
Many quilled shapes start with the same building block – a loose, round coil that is pinched in different ways to create a variety of shapes. My best advice is to take your time, work with a light touch, and use less glue than you probably think is necessary.
Practice rolling strips you’ve cut from a sheet of computer paper – 1/8″ is the typical strip width. Soon you will be used to the amount of tension required to roll coils evenly. Oh, and if 1/8″ sounds narrow, keep in mind some quillers prefer to work with 1/16″ strips!
Basic quilling supplies can be purchased at craft stores. Online suppliers offer a wide selection of paper, tools, books, and kits.
Cardstock, white and red
Decorative tape, red and white, scalloped and striped
Decorative paper ribbon, red and white dotted
Computer and printer
White computer paper for card’s message
1/8″-wide quilling paper, white, red and green
Quilling tool, needle tool, or slotted tool *
Glue any type suitable for paper
Straight pin, paper piercing tool, or toothpick to apply glue
Plastic lid or acrylic sheet to use as glue palette
Damp cloth to keep fingers free of glue
Scallop scissors (optional)
White gel pen (optional)
* Choosing a quilling tool: There are two basic tool types. The needle tool can be tricky at first, but the payoff is a coil with no center crimp. The slotted tool is a breeze to use as long as you don’t mind the little crimp it produces.
To roll a coil with a needle tool (or substitute a round toothpick, stiff wire, cake tester, or corsage pin): Hold the handle with one hand and dampen your thumb and index finger of the other. Place one end of the strip across the needle, and roll the paper between your thumb and finger to make a coil. Be sure to rotate the paper, not the tool.
Allow this loose coil to relax and slide it off the tool.
To roll a coil with a slotted tool: Slide the end of the strip into the slot – the paper shouldn’t extend beyond it. Rotate the tool with one hand while evenly guiding the strip with the other hand. Allow this loose coil to relax and slide it off the tool.
Step 1: Cut cardstock: score and fold a 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ piece of white cardstock at midline of longest measurement to make a card that measures 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″. Cut a 5″ x 3 3/4″ rectangle of red cardstock.
Step 2: Cut a 5″ x 3 3/4″ rectangle of red cardstock. Apply decorative tapes: place a strip of scalloped tape across the top and bottom of the red rectangle cardstock and trim the excess. (A similar effect can be achieved with a strip of red paper cut along one edge with scallop scissors. Dot each scallop with a white gel pen.) Place a strip of striped tape across bottom, above the scalloped tape, and trim the excess.
Step 3: Run a 6″ x 1/2″ piece of dotted paper ribbon through the crimper. Use the glue stick to adhere it above the striped tape and trim the excess.
Step 4: Print out your sentiment on white paper and cut a 5″ x 1/2″ strip with the text centered. (I used Rage Italic 26 via Microsoft Word.) Use the glue stick to adhere it 1 1/4″ above the crimped ribbon and trim the excess. Print a continuation of the sentiment to glue inside the card that says: “On Valentine’s Day!”
Step 5: Now that the text, tapes, and ribbon have been applied and side edges trimmed for neatness, use a glue stick to adhere the decorated red rectangle to the center of your card front.
Step 6: Make 2 quilled hearts: Fold a 2 1/2″ strip of red paper in half. Roll each strip end toward the center fold.
Shape a heart by curving the center tip to one side.
Step 7: Make 5 flowers. Each flower is composed of 4 shaped coils which consist of:
- 2 1/2″ shaped teardrop
- 3 1/2″ shaped teardrop
- 4″ shaped marquise
- 8″ shaped marquise
Step 7a: To make a teardrop (slotted tool coil example):
Roll the paper to create a loose coil and slide the coil off the tool. Pinch the coil to make a point.
Now place a small amount of glue on a nonstick palette. Use a straight pin, paper piercing tool, or toothpick to apply a dot of glue to the coil end. Trim the excess paper.
Finally, make a shaped teardrop by curving the teardrop point to one side.
Step 7b: To make a marquise (needle tool coil example):
Roll the paper to create a loose coil and slide the coil off the tool. Pinch the coil at two opposing points. Glue the end down and trim the excess paper.
Make a shaped marquise by grasping the points. Curve one point to the left and the other to the right so the marquise resembles a leaf.
Step 8: Glue your hearts and flowers onto the card:
Spread a thin layer of glue on a nonstick palette. Hold each quilled shape gently with tweezers, dip the underside of the shape in glue, and place it directly on the card.
About the Author:
Ann Martin of All Things Paper is a quilling enthusiast who loves introducing the craft to others. She teaches, designs projects for books and magazines, and is especially hooked on making paper filigree jewelry.