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

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

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