How to Quill - the basics
Quilling is the art of rolling paper strips to form intricate patterns, flowers, animals or whatever your imagination and your fingers can achieve. This is an old craft and probably dates back to at least the 1500's. It was originally used by nuns and monks to decorate religious artifacts, using the cut edges of paper left over by the book binders. The basic technique of rolling strips of paper into coils and scrolls is just the beginning. After mastering the basics then these shapes are combined to make up stunning designs.
Tear off a length of paper strip, moisten one end and hold it with your thumb against the pad of your index finger.
Place the quilling tool against the end of the paper and, while holding the tool still, use finger and thumb to roll the paper around the tool. Roll the paper quickly and smoothly, remove the roll from the tool and place it on your workboard.
Allow the roll to expand slightly. Grasp the free end of the paper strip with a pair of tweezers and put a small dab of glue on the end using a toothpick. Smooth the end in to place on the roll. This is a loose coil (roll or circle). A tight coil would be rolled on the quilling tool and the end glued in to place before removing it from the tool.
Most of the shapes in quilling begin with the loose coil, which is then changed into different shapes, such as marquise, teardrop, heart, square, triangle, bunny ears, shaped marquise, shaped teardrop, half circle etc. (See also future how-to' s).
Marquise (eye shape) - Take a loose coil and hold it between both thumbs and index fingers and pinch into an eye shape.
Teardrop - Take a loose coil and pinch just one end into a teardrop shape.
Heart - make a teardrop and use the quilling tool or your nail to indent the round end to make the heart shape.
Square - make a marquise shape and then turn it 90 degrees and pinch it again on the opposite side to make a square.
Tips & Warnings
The easiest way to moisten the end before rolling is to lick it (sparingly).
There are design boards with cut out holes that help you get the correct size of coils.
Some people roll the paper on toothpicks, hatpins or between their fingers.
A little glue goes a long way.