Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quilling Snowflake Pattern: Arctic

Let it snow! After seeing how popular my snowflake grid has been in my Craftsy class, I've designed a simple quilled snowflake pattern, called “Arctic” so you can keep making more unique cards for your family and friends this holiday.

Just like the patterns I designed in my book, Pretty Quilled Cards, you won't need to reach for a ruler to measure the length. Simply place your strip on top of my guides and trim to the right length. Dotted lines indicate where you'll need to fold.

A table lists what size of circle template should be used, whether you are using the one from Quilled Creations or the dollar store variety with incremental sizes in millimeter units.

After releasing within the circle template, pick up the coil and glue the end closed. I like using a fine tip glue bottle so I can apply very little glue (I like using Aleene's Tacky Glue because it's thick, not watery).

The first shape in the Arctic snowflake is a marquise, which is made by pinching either side of the coil.

I try to hide the end of the strip by pinching exactly along that line. This way, the viewer rarely sees the seams. When I glue the snowflake together, I will face all these "seams" toward the center, with it's inner coil all facing the same direction.

The next shape to make is called a V-scroll. After firmly folding the strip in half, coil both ends outwards. Place it on top of my template to ensure they are about the right size.

The 3rd and last shape is a teardrop. After making your coil and gluing the end closed, pinch along the seam and release.

Cut out my snowflake grid and place it on a cork board or styrofoam sheet. Cover it with plastic cling wrap so your work does not stick to the template.

Assemble all your elements on top of my grid and glue each set of 6 shapes together, one set at a time. Use pins to keep the shapes aligned and behaving.

The step-by-step photos above were made of Stardream Vista, in an 81blb  Text weight (120 gsm) so that you can see each stage more easily, but I love how classic white on white looks.

Ever been tempted to buy pre-made silver edged quilling strips? There's really no need if you have a metallic silver ink pad – simply dab it on top when you're finished. When it's been gilded with silver, it just looks so chic!

The ink pad I've been using is called Platinum Planet by Brilliance.

To download the snowflake pattern, simply subscribe to my e-newsletter and you'll find the free link in the welcome message.

I love hearing what people are inspired to make, so please let me know how it goes for you!

paperzeninfo (at)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

Crafty just announced another surprise flash sale for this weekend, Friday (11/13/15) to Sunday (11/15/15)! This weekend is full of crafting traditions, and it's great to share the fun of making with your family. Enjoy up to 50% off all their online video tutorials (this sale applies to all classes, not just mine)! Remember, you can watch them at any time and they have a money-back happiness guarantee.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tips for Quilling Flowers

My book, Pretty Quilled Cards, was recently given a review by Honey of Honey’s Quilling. Honey has so many great quilling tutorials on her blog, so I was eager to hear her response. Although she and her daughter anticipated doing the projects and were having fun being able to mix and match different components, there were some challenges. Specifically, Honey had some trouble in gluing the flower petals. I'm so grateful she pointed this out, so I can explain it better, in case any one else is also struggling with this too.

Honey was most inspired to quill the cherry blossoms on the front cover of my book. The petals were coming apart on her, and not sticking well – let's see if I can add some pointers here.

Once the petals have been cut and folded where indicated by my pattern, dip the fold into a small glue puddle. This way the paper is simply "kissing" the puddle and it's easy to minimize the amount of glue used. Adhere the fold to the flower center.

Use a needle tool or toothpick and gently score along that fold. Running something along that fold is mainly pressing the papers together firmly, reinforcing the bond. Set the flower on your table surface and allow to dry. If you are impatient like me (and apparently Honey too :), then work on 3 flowers at one time. By the time you are gluing the third blossom, the first has enough time to set — otherwise they can and will come apart.

The glue I enjoy using most Aleene's Original  Tacky Glue because it's super thick and dries clear quickly. I avoid using any children's school glue because it's simply too liquid. I hope that helps you with quilling my open, airy flowers!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Book, Pretty Quilled Cards, is Translated in Chinese!

Guess what came in the mail the other day? A Chinese version of my book, Pretty Quilled Cards! I'm of Chinese descent, but I can barely write my name and recognize the numbers 1-10. So although I can't read this book, at least it'll mean more to my parents.

Then the other day, I received this photo from a dear reader. She was at Barnes & Noble and snapped a photo of my book on the shelf alongside other books. I was so thrilled because I've hunted in book stores in both Canada and US, and have yet to even see quilling books on the shelf. It's an image I've had in my mind to hope to see ever since my book was released. Pretty cool!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Quilling “thanks” pattern

Earlier this year, I expressed my thanks to everyone who has ever given me encouragement, or helped my book process along. I had meant to give this thanks “quillography” pattern to you in return for all your support and the timing got a bit derailed with my Craftsy adventure – a happy diversion of course, but a delay in being able to give this to you sooner.

I'm so happy to tell you I've finally got the pattern files drawn out now! Each stage of every letter is illustrated step by step (wish I had the time to take photos too). Please bear in mind I haven't had anyone test these files yet at all, so if you notice anything a little off, please do email me at paperzeninfo (at)

All my e-newsletter subscribers will receive this quilling tutorial in PDF soon. To receive your free copy, simply subscribe and the welcome email will automatically give you a link to download it right away.

Craftsy classes are up to 50% off!

If you've been wanting to try a Craftsy classes but was on the fence, now might be a good time to spend a cozy afternoon having fun making. Craftsy is offering up to 50% off all their classes from today till Sunday (Oct 30 to Nov 1, 2015).

I designed my class to focus on cards that you can use for many different occasions and needs. This owl lesson comes with 3 different messages and a 4th one to customize for yourself. There is nothing more expressive than a message you're giving from your heart.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Quilling Spotted at Sugarfina

A friend of mine showed me a photo and asked if it was quilling. YES, the rolled rose is! But how are the rest made? Where is this place? Who made it? I had to find out and see it for myself.

My quest led me to Sugarfina, a gourmet candy shop within the new Nordstrom, Vancouver. This is their main wall. Isn’t it mesmerizing?

Here’s a side pony wall where more flowers can be studied up close.

Yes, I got up really close!

They are hung with finishing nails and wire. I wonder how the wire is attached to the flower? What kind of glue did they use? What kind of paper and why?

Here’s my hand to give you a sense of scale of these beauties.

And here is the artist’s signature - a subtle emboss on a single petal of every flower. The staff there said the flowers were shipped up from head office, so they didn't know who made them. After some sleuthing, I found the artist’s breathtaking work at, Balushka at

I'm seeing an increase in paper for branding and marketing — and I just love it! Has anyone else spotted more quilling used this way?

Our sweet visit lasted a little longer because we couldn’t resist bringing a treat home with us.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to make a Tiger Stripe Paper Pumpkin

This is a Tiger Stripe pumpkin which I found irresistible at the store. It’s fun to set this variegated pumpkin against the standard orange.

It's also fun to make your own. Using any of my free 3D pumpkin patterns, you can easily cut this fanned pumpkin out of parchment card stock.

Use an orange felt maker or ink pad to color the edges.

Use an old toothbrush and mix up some orange paint – and flick away!

I'd love to see how yours turns out.

There are 3 pumpkin shapes to download: round, tall, and wide.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3D Paper Pumpkins - Free Patterns

I've been having a lot of fun “carving” my pumpkins this year! I've designed a round, tall, and wide version, complete with stem, twirling vine, and leaf. They're waiting to greet my little tricksters and I can't wait to give this threesome in their treat bag to assemble themselves.

I've mentioned one of the things that was topmost on Craftsy's agenda for me as an instructor, was to ensure my classes taught skills the students could then use in other projects. In Lesson 1, I show how to make a 3D Christmas Tree and wanted to show you how easy this technique is to apply in so many ways.

Although my step-by-step instructions are not as interactive as watching the Craftsy lesson, you'll get a taste of it anyway. As with the tradition of Halloween trick-or-treating, I thought it would be a fun for you all to go to different houses to collect your treats and learn what else is in the land of paper ingenuity.

House #1 - Round Pumpkin
Jin Yong's house is Under a Cherry Tree and she has the most amazing ways of taking regular die cut files and transforming them in subtle ways to become more tactile and dynamic. Her sense of humour is so entertaining and I love to see what her mind comes up with.

House #2 - Tall Pumpkin
All Things Paper is what you'll discover at Ann Martin's house. Ann creates the most exacting quilling pieces, and pairs them delicately with wedding certificates and invitations. She also has a discerning eye for all the different ways we manipulate paper. Just like a newspaper, she edits out the clutter and delivers the best of paper creations by talented paper enthusiasts.

3D Paper Pumpkin - Wide

House #3 - Wide Pumpkin
Journey on to Michelle of Michelle My Belle Creations, where you'll find an encyclopedia set of cutting files and patterns. Her love of teaching shines in her volumes of tutorials and forums and inspiring ideas. Her Mojo Mondays will get you ramped up each week.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have these three amazing talents be my neighbours. Not only are they handing out my 3D Paper Pumpkin treats, they are also hosting a giveaway of my Craftsy class! If you'd like to be shown how to make more paper projects, simply leave a way to be contacted on their sites and a winner will be chosen from each house - that's 3 chances to win!

What I love most is hearing the stories of what you end up making and sharing with others. Please let me know if you have a spooktacular Halloween with them!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Craftsy Flash Sale! 25 to 75% off all online video classes

Hey everyone, guess what? Craftsy is having a Flash Sale (this is my affiliate link) between Sept. 25-27! You can enjoy so many more project ideas on paper and beyond!

As you can see in the photo above, the crew zooms right into the project so you get front row seats to what the instructor is talking about. If you've ever taken a live class, you'd know you're always straining your neck to see something so tiny. Plus if you happened to be looking down, you missed what they said or showed - with online learning, you can ask it to repeat - well, repeatedly.

They have a 100% happiness guarantee, so no worries!

Monday, September 14, 2015

My Craftsy class is now in session!


It's been quite some time since September heralded school for me, but it certainly does this year! Is that really me up there doing show and tell?!?

I have read and re-read your comments, cheering me on through all these years. Thank you all so very much!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Craftsy Class - Sneak Peak of Lesson 1 and a Giveaway!

True to my blog and passion, Craftsy chose topics that have always been my readers’ favorite features. I teach 7 classes and show techniques in quilling as well as making flat sheets of paper pop off a page. 

Let me show you a sneak peak of Lesson 1, a Christmas Tree Card. All DIY crafters know Christmas surprises are planned in advance and need a few elves to complete before the special day. In my class, I show how to assemble the tree, dust it with snow, and top it with a 3-D star. Besides the 1/8-inch hole punch for snow, the cutting files are all included in the Class Materials.

If you look closely, you'll also see a little Hershey's kiss tucked inside the tree, just a sweet prezzie for someone special. It's hard to see in this photo, but the falling snow is not simply flat dots - they're textured paper that really look like fluffy snow.

I don't like wasting paper so I used up the space within the tree too. The Class Materials includes a bonus shape to make a place card holder - in case there are any Christmas weddings or large parties being planned this year. It really made my sister-in-law-who-is-a-Christmas-fanatic, start salivating. 

What I learned as a Craftsy instructor, is their high standards for ensuring students receive skills to apply what they've learned in class to other projects. To show how this can be done in Lesson 1, I made a birthday card using the fanned 3D symmetrical shape technique. 

First, I made an oval and elongated it, tapering one end to make the balloons. I assembled the balloons in varying colors to make them more festive. I put two 3D stars back-to-back and glued all three elements to cloth covered floral wire. To make the streamers out of quilling paper, I used the technique I show in my book, Pretty Quilled Cards (Easter Basket, page 88). I chose a font I liked and cut it out several times to create my own chipboard (I show how that's done in this post). Then I assembled them all on my 3D Cake Collection (available in my Etsy shop).

If you'd like to make your own 3D balloons, I'm offering the free SVG or PDF files here. The shapes are simple enough to cut by hand as well.

To thank you for all your wonderful words of support, I'd like to offer a giveaway of my 3D Cake Collection to one commenter of this post. The details are very intricate, so I do suggest using a digital die cutter that can handle SVG files. To enter, please leave a comment and a way for me to contact you. This giveaway will end Friday, September 18th. I'll announce the winner once they've been notified.

*** UPDATE ***

Congratulations to Honey Moser of Honey's Quilling, who won my digital die cut file for a 3D cake. I pulled the number 2 out of a deck of cards and she was the 2nd person to comment. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Craftsy Experience

After months of preparation, I can finally tell you all about what it was like being a Craftsy Instructor. My class is called Quilled and Sculpted Cards, a combo of both my two loves. It's available later this month and you can bet I'll be doing a giveaway!

They really know how to make you feel like a rock star! Here is the filming studio, complete with my personalized dressing room.

When I put all my prepared cards on their shelf and looked up and saw their logo on the brick wall, just as I had seen in other Craftsy videos, it really hit me - I'm here! I'm doing this! It's real!

This is a teleprompter and Rudy the Rooster hand puppet, who I crocheted way back. I sat him up there to remind me to keep looking up, rather than what I normally do at home, which is to get so involved in what I do that the whole world fades away.

When I look back on this memory, I'm happy that I pushed past my fears of being in front of a camera and made it happen. There is good stress and bad stress in life. This was definitely good stress, and now I know what I'm made of.