What is Quilling?

Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is wound around a quill to create a basic coil shape. The paper is glued at the tip and the coil shaped, and these shaped coils are arranged to form flowers, leaves, and various ornamental patterns similar to ironwork.

There is indefinite evidence on the origin of paper quilling, but it is safe to say that it started after the invention of paper. It became popular during the Medieval and Renaissance periods, and was deemed as an exclusive art that was thought to proper young ladies. Many early quilling art works can be found on cabinets and stands, cribbage boards, ladies' purses, a wide range of both pictures and frames, work baskets, tea caddies, coats of arms and wine coasters. Some items were specially designed for quilling with recessed surfaces and sometimes, quilling was also combined with other techniques such as embroidery and painting. The craft has gone through many transformations and changes through the ages using new techniques, styles and materials. One of the most famous example is the emergence of dimensional quilling, which creates 3D items.

Today, quilling is seeing a resurgence in popularity with quillers (people who practice the art of quilling) on every continent and in every walk of life. The craft has become increasingly popular due to the low cost of the material.

(adapted and adopted from Wikipedia.com) 

What are the basic shapes of quilling?

North American Quilling Guild (NAQG) has recently updated its Official Quilling Shape Chart 2010. Feel free to use the chart as your personal reference.

I'm a beginner, so what kind of tools do I need to have to start quilling?
You would need:

1. Quillings strips
2. Glue
3. Tweezer (optional, but just in case you don't have steady hands)

Optional tools:
Quilling tools - shop-bought quilling tools/ toothpick/ cocktail pick/ bamboo skewer

How do you use quilling tools?
There are two types of quilling tools - one is the slotted type:

And the other one is the needle type (and the video comes with basic quilling shapes as well):

You can always google for further info and you can use either one of the tools. I started off quilling by rolling the papers using my fingers - you can do that if you want, but quilling tool will make you life easier.

If I don't want to buy quilling tools, can I still do quilling?
YES, you can. You can quill using your fingers, or making your own quilling tool by cutting the end of a bamboo skewer (for slotted tool).

Do I need to quill using specific sizes of quilling strips? How do I know which one to use?
Not exactly. You can quill pretty much using any size of quilling strips, although knowing different sizes of the strips may come in handy. The factory-ready strips usually come in few sizes:

1.5 mm - usually used for fine, narrow artworks.
3 mm - the most common strips used. Shredder made 3 mm strips (but with a bit of fuzzy edges).
6 mm/ 9 mm/ 12 mm - usually used to make fringed flowers/ folded roses. These sizes are also recommended to be used by children as they are easier to hold and handle.

What types of paper can be used?
You can buy ready-made quilling strips or if you're planning to make them yourself, I would suggest coloured paper of 80gsm - 120gsm in weight. However, feel free to experiment with different types of paper, and textures.

What about the glue?
I'm using PVA white school glue. The good thing about PVA glue is that it doesn't leave any stain after the glue dried. You can also use UHU glue if you want.

Where can I get quilling tools/ materials/ sets in Malaysia?
There are few places that sell quilling tools and quilling papers in Malaysia. However, the tools are very limited and it is advised that you call beforehand to check their availability at the craft stores.

Craft Haven,
Lot S211 (2nd Floor), 
1 Utama Shopping Centre, 
1 Lebuh Bandar Utama, 
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Phone/ Fax: +603-7727 3541
Email: getcrafty@craft-haven.com

Scrapbook Memories Studio
Lot L2-39A, 2nd Floor,
Tropicana City Mall,
No. 3 Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Phone: 03-77250063/77270062
Email: scrapbookmemories@me.com

Multifilla (M) Sdn Bhd,
No 1, Jalan 2/2,
Taman Industri Selesa Jaya,
43300 Balakong, Selangor. 
Phone: 603-89613686, 603-89613658, 603-89613657  
Fax: 603-89613637
Email: mfilla@tm.net.my

Art Friend
The Gardens @ Mid Valley City
Third Floor Lot T-213
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: (603) 2284 7777
Fax: (603) 2284 7577

Lot 161, 1st Floor,
The Curve, Mutiara Damansara,
Tel: 03-7725 4815

Alternatively, you can get the quilling tools/ books online. The prices for the quilling tools and materials vary according to quality and brand. Links will be updated from time to time. Do inform if you're selling and want to include your shop here.

Lin Handmade Greeting Cards

MiezCraft Shop

Crafty Diva

Honey's Quilling

Aifel Craft Cottage

Where can I find paper shredder in Malaysia?
You can basically find paper shredders being sold at any big stationery shops in Malaysia. However, prices vary according to brand and sizes. Stationery shops usually come with 6mm paper shredder. 3mm paper shredder are harder to find, but I found mine at one of the IT stores, since it's USB driven. However, the items are limited and subjected to availability. Try hunting online stores as well.

Do you sell quilling tools?
No, I don't.

Do you have your own shop?
No, I don't.

Where can I find the tutorials for quilling?
Google them. hehe. I also have some in my tutorial section (promise to add some more later!) but you can check the quilling websites on the right side of this blog for some examples and other tutorials. Just be careful not to step over the copyrights okay! These quillers work very hard on the designs, and to have people robbing them is not really something nice, isn't it? Be a creative cat, not a copycat! :)

There are also many free templates available online, and so many different ways to quill, but I believe the most important part of them all is not only the basics, but you need a lot of patience (and passion)!.


If you happen to have other queries regarding quilling, do ask okay! I'll try to answer those within my knowledge.

Good luck and happy quilling!



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