Quilled Paper Ornaments

My family is big on ornaments. Growing up our tree was a hodge-podge of vacation finds from around the world, antique pieces and homemade treasures. But for as long as I can remember, these little paper snowflakes made an appearance on my parent’s tree. I’ve always liked the look of them but never knew where they came from until a few years ago.

The History
Turns out, my mom had made these “paper quilling” ornaments when she was first married. With my dad in grad school and my mom a teacher, funds were tight but she still wanted a pretty tree. While only a few are left, they’re now a sweet reminder of the fact that beauty doesn’t have to cost much. Romantic, right?

According to my brief research, paper quilling – or paper filigree – has been an artform for over 500 years. Long ago it was done as a way of embellishing religious documents and later, in the 18th century and Victorian eras, as a suitable artform for proper young ladies(1).

How To:
Paper quilling is fairly easy and mindless, although it can be time-consuming. It’s a good thing to do while watching TV. Basically you just roll the strips of paper into shapes and glue them together. Different shape combos of circles, scrolls, teardrops and such make up different snowflake patterns.

You’ll Need:
1/4″ strips of paper (or a quilling kit)
school glue
a tiny paintbrush, darning needle or something similarly sized

I would recommend buying a kit or two online to get started. They come with instructions, paper and design templates. After you get the hang of it you could make up your own designs.

Bonus Idea!
I’ve also decorated a few of this year’s gifts with my quilled ornaments, which is a fun way to pretty up your gift wrap and give an extra little present at the same time.

(1) Sources: Custom Quilling, Gem State Quilling.



Filed under Decorate, DIY, Holidays

48 responses to “Quilled Paper Ornaments

  1. these are sooo pretty!! something to try out when im stuck inside because of all the snow!
    xoxo jcd

  2. Ann

    Lovely packages and your snowflake is the perfect finishing touch!

  3. Charli

    Can I expand a bit on your instructions? I’ve been quilling for over 50 years now.
    Rather then using a paint brush (which leaves a very large hole in your quilling) use a corsage pin in order to create a smaller hole. This is what we used before there were quilling tools. A toothpick will also do but will create a larger hole. The trick to using one of these items rather then a quilling tool (these have a slot for the strip) is to wet the end of the strip slightly. For full instruction on how to use a professional needle tool you can contact us and we’d be happy to email our instructions.
    A slotted tool can be made using a sewing needle. The very end of the eye (where you put the thread) is taken off, leaving a slot. Then shove the needle (point down) into a handle. This can be done by grinding it off or by cutting it off using a wire cutter. (MAKE SURE YOU WHERE SAFETY GOGGLES AND GLOVES DURING THIS PROCESS) If you’re going to quill for any length of time you may want to invest in a quilling tool.
    Most quillers use Sobo Glue or Elmer’s Glue all. The trick is to use a very tiny amount. Any white glue that dries clear will work.
    We have many links to free patterns on our site. Look under resources. In fact we have a special page just for new quillers. While you’re first learning you can use strips you cut yourself out of junk mail or 20-25 lb sheets. An older paper shredder is very useful in cutting practice strips. You can also use a pair of scissors that cut strips.
    If anyone has any questions please feel free to email me by clicking on this link [URL=http://scr.im/quilling]Q…@t…c.com[/URL] Happy quilling!

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