Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quilling Techniques

Are you brand new to quilling? So am I. First, purchase a multicolor pack of quilling paper or cut your own strips using computer text-weight paper and a paper cutter -- they will be fine for practice. You will also need a tool for rolling the paper strips. Some quillers use only their fingers, but a needle tool or slotted tool can also be used. These may be purchased at arts and crafts stores or online, but it's easy to make your own tool by inserting a standard sewing needle into a bottle cork. The cork provides a comfortable handle. If you like the security of a slot to help grab the end of the paper strip, make a slotted tool. Wearing goggles to protect your eyes, snip the tip off the eye end of a sewing needle, leaving the slot exposed, and insert the needle point into the cork with pliers.

To roll a coil with the slotted tool, slide the end of the paper strip into the slot; turn the tool with one hand and guide the paper with the other. The strip will wind into a coil almost effortlessly. When the end of the strip is reached, allow the rolled coil to relax and slide it off the tool. Apply a tiny amount of glue to the end with a toothpick and hold it in place for a few moments to dry. This relaxed roll is called a loose coil.
If you prefer your coils not to have the center crimp that a slotted tool produces, you will need to purchase a needle tool or make one by inserting the eye end of a sewing needle into a bottle cork. Some quillers like to use an old-fashioned hat pin, corsage pin or even a cake tester as a needle tool. It takes a little more effort to learn to quill with a needle tool, but with practice, you'll soon be producing an evenly rolled coil with a tiny round center.

To roll a coil with the needle tool, dampen your fingertips or the end of the paper strip and curve it across the tip of the needle. Using the thumb and index finger of whichever hand is most comfortable for you, roll the paper around the needle using relaxed, even pressure. When the end of the strip is reached, allow the rolled coil to relax, slide it off the tool and put a tiny dab of glue on the loose end. With practice, you'll find that your rolling tension becomes even and your coils will be nearly identical in size. To make a tight coil, don't allow the paper to relax after rolling. Instead, glue the end while the paper is still wound on the tool. When dry, slide the tight coil off the tool. Tip: Tear the end of the paper strip that will be glued rather than cutting it with scissors -- it will blend smoothly, and the join will be less noticeable.

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