The Antique Craft of Paper Quilling

Lana Bates shares the history of antique paper quilling, basics of crafting quilling paper, business advice and the inexpensive investment it takes to create a home business selling quilling artwork.

| November/December 1986


An example of using antique paper quilling techniques to create original artwork.


This antique craft will challenge your creativity.

In my search for unique gifts to handcraft for my family, I found a photograph of a quilled picture so delicate and intricate it seemed like a fine-line drawing. It set my creative gears awhirl, and for a week I worked late and had fun experimenting with my newfound interest. I never dreamed that my hobby of paper quilling would grow into a business.

The Antique Craft of Paper Quilling

Nearly 10 years later, my first quilled floral arrangement (framed as a birthday present for my mother-in-law) is still one of my favorite pieces. But as I became more involved with the craft, the enthused response of family and friends, added to my own interest in quilling, spurred me to make my own designs. I expanded into Christmas ornaments and eventually built up an inventory large enough to enter my work in a local arts and crafts show.

Now, after years of quilling, I can assure you that the opportunities opened up by this unusual and highly flexible medium are endless. It's given me a profitable part-time income (my biggest thrill was earning $900 in a farmers' market Christmas crafts show), and I love teaching quilling workshops to children and adults.

An Inexpensive Paper Quilling Craft Investment

Getting started in quilling, the art of paper sculpture, is not expensive. You'll need a few basic materials that you can buy at most arts and crafts stores.

A quilling tool, a metal instrument with a tiny slit in one end, will probably cost between $1 and $1.50 (I'm still using my first one). You'll also need a package of quilling paper, which runs around $1.75 and will last for quite some time. I buy wholesale from Quill Art (St. Louis, MO; catalog $1), because I like the feel of its paper, though I'm sure other companies offer comparable quality. Try a multicolored pack, which will give you an array of shades to play with. (I use 1/8 inch-wide paper, though other widths are available, and, again, you should experiment to see what suits your creativity best.) Other necessities are a bottle of white glue (I prefer Sobo), hatpins or toothpicks for applying it, and a sheet of Con-tact-brand clear adhesive-backed paper. A clipboard or a 9 inch by 12 inch piece of heavy cardboard can serve as a flat work surface.

11/19/2007 7:45:22 PM

show more pictures !!!!!!

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