One of the great things about being completely thrown out of routine is it suddenly feels like a very good time to try and sneak in all the things you ‘never had time to do.’
Paper quilling was a fairly recent discovery for me. I saw some intriguing greetings cards in a small shop, which resulted in a bit of internet research and the familiar ‘I’ve got to try that!’ feeling. Luckily, quilling, or the art of twizzling, squeezing and screaming at paper to turn into various decorative shapes, is relatively inexpensive to get started with. You can do it with just some scrap paper, a toothpick and some glue if you’re feeling really brave.
There are some amazing quilling artists out there but I was quite happy to accept my limitations as just start with trying to make some basic shapes. One thing that really amazes me about a lot of pieces is how striking and dramatic the finished design is but when you take a closer look it’s just made of relatively simple shapes. I also love how colourful a lot of quilled pieces are. It seems to be against the rules to not use the most colourful paper you can find.
I’d decided to be lazy and use a slotted quilling tool rather than attempting to use a needle. While it does tend to bend the paper in the centre slightly, and occasionally you get snags with some rather hilarious resulting messes, it does mean that you can just instantly start rolling the paper with minimal frustration.
There were a few gluing accidents as well. Most of the advice says ‘use glue sparingly’ so of course I end up squeezing the bottle so violently I soak the paper and everything around it in a nice gluey swimming pool. Whoops. I managed to rescue most of the damage.
I found the open ended and long scrolls a little difficult to get looking smooth and also to get to stick to the paper well. One of them I managed to crush a few times while trying to glue it down but the double ended scrolls are a lot of fun to make.
I highly recommend getting some guides and templates. Although I was just making objects that were random sizes, if you want to make something that isn’t as densely wound, it’s much easier just to be able to drop it into a tool, let go and have it magically spring to the perfect size. I did find I was holding my breath a little when I was releasing the coils, hoping they weren’t about to leap away but there isn’t really too much to go wrong. Plus, it doesn’t take long at all to make a replacement shape if needed.
Next time I’ll have a go at an actual pattern but I had a lot of fun just making random things in an assortment of colours. Once upon a time, I did used to make a lot of handmade cards, though I think the quality of a lot of them was perhaps more suited for ill-wishes than well-wishes but perhaps this might be a fun alternative.