Thursday, April 1, 2010


Quilling is the art of creating delicate shapes from strips of paper. Coiled into letters, flowers, and other forms, the stylized paper transforms an ordinary card into a keepsake.

Quilling, or paper filigree, is the art of creating intricate shapes from strips of paper. The technique is simple: After a long, narrow ribbon of paper is rolled around a needlelike tool, the strip is slipped off, arranged with your fingertips into the desired shape, and then glued to a background of contrasting paper, fabric, or wood.

Quilled motifs such as flowers and hearts express sweet sentiments for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, but they also add an elegant touch to cards for any occasion.

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to make the shapes necessary to create several types of quilled cards.

Step 1

•5/8-inch multicolor quilling paper (No. 356), $

5 for 100 pieces, from Lake City Crafts,

•1/8-inch quilling paper in color of choice, $1.45 for 50 pieces, from Lake City Crafts, (You can also use medium-weight paper, such as vellum or stationery)

•8 1/2-inch paper trimmer, $24.99, from Martha Stewart Crafts available at Michaels (You will need this if you are making your own quilling strips.)

•Round-headed pin

•Slotted quilling tool (No. 171), $3.75, from Lake City Crafts,

•Fine-pointed tweezers (No. 177), $3.75, from Lake City Crafts,

•Small sharp scissors, by Martha Stewart Crafts, available at Michaels stores

Martha Stewart Crafts tools and supplies are available at Michaels, Walmart, AC Moore, Meijer, and independent craft stores.

Gather Materials

Don't let the elaborate effects fool you; quilling is simple. You need only a few basic crafts items.

Clockwise from top:

A round-headed pin is useful for precise glue application.

A slotted quilling tool lets you create coiled shapes with ease.

Fine-pointed tweezers are essential for tiny shapes.

Use small sharp scissors to cut fringe.

Quilling paper comes in a variety of colors and widths; most of our projects can be made with standard precut strips. If you prefer, use a paper cutter and medium-weight paper, such as vellum or stationery, to make your own; construction paper is too heavy and will not roll easily.

Step 2: Basic Quilling Shapes

Experiment with basic techniques before starting a project.

Loose Circle

Create a tight circle, but do not glue. Instead, lay it on a flat surface, and let it expand. When satisfied with the shape and size, glue the end of the strip to secure.

Loose Scroll

Form a loose circle, but do not glue closed.


Fashion and glue a loose circle; pinch each end.

Connected Scrolls

Make several loose scrolls; position with unrolled ends pointing the same way. Curve each over rolled end of next scroll; glue.

Open Heart

Fold a strip in half, and crease. Roll each end toward center.

V Scroll

Crease paper at center; roll ends outward.

S Scroll

Form an S shape by rolling one end toward center, and the other in the opposite direction.

C Scroll

Roll both ends of a strip toward the center

Step 3 : Open Hearts

Open heart shapes are used in the quilled heart valentine. To make open hearts, fold a strip in half, and crease. Roll each end toward center and glue to card.

Step 4 : Tight Circle

Tight circles are one of the most basic quilled shapes, and are used to make the quilled frame cards.

To make a tight circle, slip paper into the slot on the quilling tool, placing paper's end flush with edge of slot.

Step 5 :Complete the Tight Circle

To complete the tight circle, turn tool until strip is rolled into a firm cylinder. Remove paper from tool, and glue closed to complete your tight circle.

Step 6 : Teardrop

Another common shape is the teardrop, which is also used in the quilled frame cards. To make a teardrop, create and glue a loose circle; pinch one end to form a point.

Step 7 : Frame

If you want to design a frame or border for your card, create a freehand pattern that incorporates several of the basic shapes you've learned. Alternatively, you can purchase a published pattern, many of which are available in clip-art books.

Here, we arranged a series of fleurs-de-lis, each made from three V scrolls of graduated sizes, and one teardrop. Form and glue individual shapes, using the pattern as a guide. Then use a ruler to draw a rectangle on the card. Dab points of glue on undersides of quilled shapes and position them, standing on edge, along the pencil line. Hold in place for 15 seconds to allow glue to set.

Step 8 : Fringed Flower

Fringed flower shapes are used in the quilled floral cards. To make a fringed flower such as a daisy or a zinnia, scallop the top of a strip of paper, and then cut fringe. (To create flowers with centers, glue together two strips of paper, each a different width and color, end to end; then fringe.) Roll entire length of paper into a tight circle, as shown here.

Step 9 : Complete the Fringed Flower

Glue closed. With your fingers, spread the fringe and separate it into petals. Curl the petal ends outward and downward with tweezers to achieve desired shape.

Step 10 : Bells

Bells are used to make the quilled lily-of-the-valley card. Roll and glue a tight circle. Using your finger, push center of circle to create a cone. Secure the end with glue. If desired, spread a light layer of glue over surface of bell; this will help the bell keep its shape. Or spread glue inside to hide the glued area. Positioned along four leafy stems made from strips of green paper to complete the lily-of-the-valley.

Step 11 :Script

Quilled script is used to make the scripted valentines. You can write a message in your own hand, adapt one from a calligraphy book, or create one on a computer. Lay short strips of quilling paper along the curves of each letter you want to form. Shape ends with quilling tool, or use scissors to curl paper as you would a ribbon; cut strips to correct length. Trace message onto paper. Glue at intervals, one letter at a time. Turn quilling paper on edge; use tweezers to hold it in place for 15 seconds to allow glue to set.

Classic valentine messages never go out of style. You can shape individual strips of paper, curling the ends as you would a ribbon, to form letters that resemble calligraphy. Use carefully placed dabs of craft glue to hold each letter in place on a card.

Quilled Florals

To make these elaborate quilled floral cards, create a trio of fringed flowers, such as daisies or zinnias, and glue them to folded card stock. Use an opaque pen to add a message in your own script.

For a lily-of-the-valley card, roll eight off-white bells, and position them along four leafy stems made from strips of green paper

You can write a message in your own hand, adapt one from a calligraphy book, or create one on a computer. Lay short strips of quilling paper along the curves of each letter you want to form. Shape ends with quilling tool, or use scissors to curl paper as you would a ribbon; cut strips to correct length. Trace message onto paper. Glue at intervals, one letter at a time. Turn quilling paper on edge; use tweezers to hold it in place for 15 seconds to allow glue to set.

Potato-Stamped Cards

With a few good-size potatoes and assorted miniature cookie cutters, you and your kids can make personalized cards for any occasion.

With a few good-size potatoes and assorted miniature cookie cutters, you and your kids can make personalized wrapping paper, cards, T-shirts, place mats, and napkins. Choose large potatoes that, when halved widthwise, have a surface wide enough to accommodate a cookie cutter. Place the cookie cutter on a table, cutting side up. Center the potato over the cutter and tap, pressing the cutter at least 1/2 inch into the potato. Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the excess potato flesh away from the cookie cutter, making slices perpendicular to the cutter; this is a job only for adults. Once the excess potato is removed, pull out the cookie cutter.

To form the center of a flower or another design, hollow out with a melon baller. Potatoes bleed, so wipe each surface dry with a towel before inking and stamping. Make sure to use the proper ink; if you're working on paper, both pigment- and dye-based inks will work, while fabric requires dye-based ink. For paper designs, place a piece of felt beneath the piece of paper to cushion the surface; this will result in a crisp, even print.

Peekaboo Gift Card

Stamped Wrapping Paper

It's easy to create elaborate designs on wrapping paper using a rubber stamp and an ink pad.

Enclose gifts for your wedding party, or favors for your guests, in handmade wrapping paper covered in impressions made with a square rubber stamp.

But don't save this project for the last minute, when wedding preparations will be filling your every spare moment; paper can be prepared in advance.

For a uniform pattern, stamp a large sheet of paper repeatedly with the same stamp, leaving a small space between each impression.

Or stamp just the center of a piece of wrapping paper. If your box and stamp are the same size, you can just stamp the top. If the box is larger than the stamp, the pattern can trail down the sides.

A stamp rolling pin also makes an attractive pattern. We applied several different colors to a sheet of white paper to create a muted design. Store stamped pages flat.

Pencil Stamps

Instead of using your pencil eraser to make marks disappear, turn it into a stamp and make playful pictures appear on cards and wrapping paper.

Just press the eraser into an ink pad, and stamp polka dots onto paper. Or cut the eraser with a utility knife to create different looks: Half an eraser makes a half-moon, and a third creates a delicate crescent. We stamped colored kraft paper and blank card stock, and added stems to flowers with a green pencil.

Hand-Stamped Stationery

Design invitations and cards for any occasion using basic, store-bought cards.

Tools and Materials

Grass, butterfly, and flower rubber stamps

Ink pads in assorted colors

Blank thank-you notes, cards or notepads

Stationery How-To

Place stationery on a large piece of scrap paper. Stamp grass motif across base of stationery, overlapping imprints if necessary. Add flower and butterfly accents. To create envelope seals, stamp rows of perforated stamp paper. Punch out designs, and adhere to envelope with glue stick.

Floral-Cutout Cards & Wraps

Add a new dimension to gift wrap and cards with these floral cutouts.

Download the template and cut it out.

Using a pencil, trace the template onto the desired surface.

Carefully cut along traced lines with a craft knife, leaving gaps between petals.

For gifts, wrap item with paper in a contrasting color before covering with cutout layer.

For cards, attach a cutout card to a second card in a contrasting color using double-sided tape.

Poetic Wrappings

Even the ribbon and paper on a valentine present can say, "I love you." Romantic poetry -- try Byron, Keats, or Shelley -- will provide words appropriate to your amorous circumstance.

Poetic Wrappings How-To

In your best script, copy a line onto 1/4-inchwide quilling paper. Or use double-faced satin ribbon, and decorate it with a short, traditional phrase, such as "Be Mine"; a stamp with adjustable letters, available from most stationers, makes the message look like that on a tiny candy heart. An old typewriter also gives a present a romantic feeling; transcribe a verse onto tinted vellum for wrapping.

If you're giving chocolates, count the ways sweetly on small paper disks, and place one beneath each candy.

Button Stamp

Button Stamp How-To

1. Select buttons with raised surfaces and distinct patterns -- fluted edges, stars, flowers, cat's eyes, and pinwheels. With white craft glue, mount buttons on wine or craft corks; if possible, use a cork narrower than the button so you can see to position the stamp accurately. Buy already inked stamp pads in several colors from your stationer. Uncoated papers are most receptive to the ink. Since buttons are rigid, you'll get the best image by laying paper over a piece of felt or a stack of folded paper towels before stamping. Press button into pad, then stamp, rocking it gently; this ensures a complete edge.

2. Wipe the stamp clean on a damp sponge between impressions. Try layering some of the simpler images for enhanced effect.

Rosy Stationery

Leafy vegetables make great-tasting salads -- and sumptuous floral-shaped stamps, too.

Here, the end of a head of Treviso radicchio yields a roselike print.

Cut off stem end with a sharp knife, and stand stem on a paper towel, cut-side down, for 5 minutes to dry. Press cut side onto a large stamp pad, then onto cards, stationery, and more, blotting on paper towel between presses.

Vary stamp shapes with other vegetables, such as romaine lettuce stems or even brussels sprouts cut in half.

Mechanical Dog Cards

If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind greeting card, try these mechanical dog cards with clever moving parts that are sure to charm the recipient.

Tools and Materials

Templates: Top of card ("Hap-pee Birthday," head shaking, or blank), middle (mechanical) pieces, bottom of card

Assembly guide



Photo of dog (optional)


Craft knife



Bone folder

Screw punch

Double-sided tape

Paper fasteners

Regular (one-sided) tape

Dog Cards How-To

1. Print templates for each of the 3 layers of the card -- top of card, middle (mechanics), and bottom -- and assembly instructions on card stock. To make a card featuring your own dog, print out the blank template and cut out and paste a photo of your dog that's about the same size and pose.

2. Starting with the bottom of the card, use a ruler and a bone folder to score along the dotted lines. Cut out the full piece on the solid lines. Punch the hole marked by a black dot with a screw punch. Fold up along the dotted lines along both edges.

3. Cut out the middle (mechanical) pieces on solid black lines. Score on dotted lines where marked. Punch holes where marked with a screw punch.

4. Attach folded pink "stop" piece to bottom of card with double-sided tape, as shown in the template.

5. Use paper fasteners to attach the moving pieces to each other. Insert paper fasteners from back to front so "wings" open onto front of tabs.

•Attach the yellow tab arm to the pull tab at point "A."

•Attach the green tab arm to the yellow tab arm at point "B."

•Attach the green tab arm to the bottom card piece at point "C."

6. Fold up the pair of leg/head "flanges" along dotted lines.

7. Cut out the top piece for the card, and cut out circle as marked. Lay the assembled bottom piece flat, fold the two long flaps in over the pull tab, and put double-sided tape along the two long flaps.

8. Lay the top edge of the front of the card over the tape on the top flap of the bottom of the card; press in place. Pull the leg/head flanges through the hole in the front of the card.

9. Attach the bottom edge of the front of card to the bottom flap.

10. Place a piece of tape on the back of each of the leg/head flanges so that sticky side extends past the flanges, facing up. With the pull tab pushed in, position the leg/head over the flanges (leg should cover the word "peee"). Press down firmly so the tape holds leg/head in place. Cut off excess tape with a craft knife.

11. Attach stand to back of card with double-sided tape.


Paper fasteners are available at office-supply stores. All other tools and materials are available from Martha Stewart Crafts. Special thanks to popular children's book author, Matthew Van Fleet, for sharing this craft. For more information about Matthew, visit Special thanks to Simon and Schuster for giving copies of Matthew's book, "Alphabet," to our studio audience.

Potato Prints

Potatoes are wonderful mashed, baked, scalloped, or fried, but they have a less conventional use, too: as decorative stamps for personalized gift cards and tags.

The best potato prints have a painterly quality reminiscent of impressionist art. To make one, cut a potato (any variety will do) in half, and draw a shape onto the flesh with a pencil.

Then, using a utility knife or a jackknife with a thin blade, carve around the outline of the pencil design, and cut away the background to a depth of 1/4 inch.

Mix gouache paints (available in tubes at art-supply stores) with a little water, then apply the paint directly onto the design with a brush; or dip the potato into a dish of paint as though using a stamp pad.

Press the potato onto blank cards, reapplying paint when the prints become faint. Each print will look unique and slightly irregular -- a work of art in itself.

To make a tag, punch a small hole in the corner of the card with a needle or an awl, and thread a piece of string or ribbon through.

Message Cards

It's easy to express yourself with our fill-in-the-blank stationery. And you'll never have to make a last-minute dash to the store again. Choose from one of three patterns, then adhere a pretty calligraphed message to the front (we supply 10). No matter the occasion, you're guaranteed to have something sweet to say.

Message Card How-To

Heavy matte ink-jet paper yields the richest colors, but any card stock will do.

Download and print card template and cut out. Use a bone folder and a ruler to create a crease; fold. Download and print greetings onto clear matte self-adhesive label paper. Cut out greeting and adhere to card.