Quilling is a papercraft that has been around for hundreds of years and is still popular today. Many crafters make quilled monograms to give as wedding gifts, or to use as wall decor. Rolling paper strips into beautiful works of art is easy enough even for beginners to achieve impressive results.
The contemporary graphic designer, Yulia Brodskaya, started the quilled monogram craze. Her original works inspired this new form of quilling that turns typeface into quilled art. Today, many of her highly-prized works of art are owned by celebrities and private collectors.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get started with this craft. All you need is paper, glue, and a round object such as a toothpick or a bamboo skewer to curl the paper strips. If you're bitten by the quilling bug, you'll want to purchase tools such as a quilling pen, comb, and crimper. Then, you can make intricate flowers, embellish cards, and even make jewelry. With time, practice, and a little bit of patience, you will soon become a paper artist.
Equipment / Tools
- Craft paper trimmer
- Tacky glue (such as Mod Podge)
- 1 Paper plate or old plastic container for glue
- Small paintbrush for glueing
- Card stock or pre-cut quilling strips in desired colors
- 1 sheet Thick card stock or board for the background
- 1 Shadowbox picture frame
Print Your Outline
Print your letter of choice, filled in with a light or dark background color of your choice, onto the card stock background.
Alternative Letter Method
If you don't have access to a printer, use this alternative method for a letter:
- Trace a large letter from a source, such as a book or magazine, onto a sheet of paper using a pencil.
- Use a light touch with the pencil, you don't want to see the pencil lines in your final project. It will be hard to erase the lines after you build your frame.
- Or, you can fill in the letter with a preferred background color that will peek out from under quilled pieces.
- Use a ruler to make the straight lines.
- If desired, attach the paper with the tracing onto a piece of card stock for the added stability.
Cut the Strips
- Choose card stock in colors you plan to incorporate into your design.
- Use the paper cutter to cut paper strips from the card stock that measure one-quarter inch wide.
Pre-Cut Card Stock Strips
Instead of cutting strips, buy packages of pre-cut quilling paper online or at the craft store.
Shape the Strips
Once you decide what the design of the inside of your letter will be, it's time to make shapes.
- Take a paper strip and wind it around your toothpick or quilling tool into the shape desired, either rolled tightly (for a compact shape) or loosely, depending on your preference. Refer to the common quilling shapes below.
- Place a tiny bit of glue onto the end of the paper strip to hold the shape in place.
Sketch It Out
Before curling your strips, look at other quilled monograms for inspiration and make a preliminary quick thumbnail sketch for the layout of your monogram.
Outline Your Letter With Paper Strips
Use your preferred method to apply glue to the pieces of paper that will form the frame of your letter.
Glue: Less is More
Too much glue can ruin your project, so be careful. There are two ways to apply glue to your straight strips of paper that form the frame of your letter. (Use either of these methods to place your shaped and quilled pieces inside the letter frame, too.)
- Use a small brush and a light touch to apply glue to the edge of the paper.
- Place the strips lightly onto a paper plate with glue to lightly coat the edge of a piece, then place on your outline.
Frame the Outside of the Letter With Paper Strips
- Glue and place your strips on the outline of your letter. Hold each strip down gently until the glue is firm enough for the strip of paper to stand up on its own.
- Make a crisp fold on a strip of paper and add a drop of glue on each end and overlap it on each corner. This small strip will secure the corners.
- Glue and layer a quarter-inch strip as an anchor anywhere else you have a joined strip of paper creating the wall. The layering will make the frame stronger.
- Allow the wall of your quilled letter to dry thoroughly.
Begin Filling in Your Letter Frame
Once you have built your outside frame, fill in the insides of your monogram.
- Follow your design and glue your shapes and strips into place, using your fingers and tweezers for tight spaces.
- Allow the finished piece to dry completely for a few hours.
Use Your Tweezers
Tweezers are a quillers best friend. They are one of the most important tools you will use because it helps you pull paper shapes of all sizes into small spaces inside your monogram project without disturbing the frame.
Frame the Finished Quilled Monogram
When your piece is dry, place it in your shadowbox frame.
The Importance of a Shadowbox Frame
A standard picture frame with glass is not deep enough to house your quilled monogram. You will need a shadowbox that is at least an inch deep in order to accommodate the raised surface of the quilled project.