Paper Quilled Insects: Capture the Beauty, Not the Bugs

Craft & Design Paper Crafts
Paper Quilled Insects: Capture the Beauty, Not the Bugs

quilled butterflies picture

Pinning insects has long been practiced not only for zoological pursuits, but also for decorative and aesthetic reasons. If you’re drawn to insect pinning more for the colorful and striking display of art than you are to the creepy crawly part, you should definitely try your hand at making some quilled paper insects like those that Reddit user greatdane4 recently shared.


Paper quilling is the art of curling, bending, and arranging long strips of colorful paper into a design or image. According to Quilled Creations, the craft has existed for over five hundred years. The key to having a uniform design is by making sure that all of your strips of paper are the same width. The standard width offered in paper quilling kits is ⅛”, but it would be easy enough to make your own strips if you are careful to measure and cut them methodically.

All you need to start paper quilling is brightly colored paper, scissors, and your craft glue of choice. Once you’re ready to mount your buggy creations, you’ll need some pins and a frame in which to house them. Don’t be afraid to use a picture as a guide for your design, or make it up as you go. For her butterflies, greatdane4 says that she “modeled the orange and yellow ones after pictures of real monarchs, but the others are essentially works of the imagination,” and that “good old Elmer’s school glue is all that [she used] to hold them together.”


One uncommon technique that she uses to make her paper quilled insects more lifelike is to bend the paper and support it with short segments of a toothpick so that the wings of the bug gradually move away from the paper onto which the bug is pinned. She explains:

“I didn’t assemble the full butterfly off the page. I made the body and wings separate. I first glued the body to the page. Then, to bring the wings away from the page, I cut the inside portion of a toothpick into little columns and glued them perpendicular to the page so they would give the wings the desired height. Finally, I glued the wings with one edge glued to the column and the other anchored to the page.”


So, instead of scavenging for and pinning real insects, you can paper quill your own from the comfort of your crafting space. Besides pinning insects, what other arts and crafts could you adapt and turn into a paper quilling project? Let us know in the comments below.

Also, it looks like greatdane4 is just getting started with quilling, so make sure you keep an eye on her Imgur page to see what else she creates including this quilled paper alphabet.

[via Reddit]

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

View more articles by Sophia Smith


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