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Introduction to Quilling

This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of quilling. It covers essential materials, must-have tools, and basic techniques to help get you started!

Introduction to Quilling

Quilling (or ‘paper filigree’) is an art form which has been around for centuries. In its early days, people would use quills to coil the strips of paper before moulding them into elaborate designs. It is widely believed that this early technique is the reason we know it as ‘quilling’ today.

The origin of quilling, however, is contested across the world. Some sources suggest that quilling was first seen in Ancient Egypt, where certain forms of filigree art inspired more modern forms of quilling years later. Other sources suggest that its origin is in the Renaissance period, when monks and nuns used the strips of paper trimmed from the gilded edges of books to decorate religious objects – this was a cheaper alternative to using gold filigree and the results were just as beautiful.

We can’t say for sure where this wonderful art form began, but we do know it’s been a popular hobby for many, many years. In 18th century Europe, quilling became a popular leisure activity amongst affluent women. They would adorn everyday objects with intricate designs, such as jewellery boxes, frames, storage cabinets and purses, transforming them into beautiful bespoke furnishings and accessories. The popularity of quilling also spread to America, with some pieces dating as far back as the colonial times.

Nowadays, quilling is most commonly used in papercrafting; it is used to transform greeting cards, invitations, scrapbooks, and much more. The technique has remained much the same; however, there is now a vast array of tools and materials available that make quilling intricate designs easy and more elaborate than ever before!