Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Electric Quilling Tool

Before anyone goes out to buy this, I'd like to say that I won't be using this to quill! It spins so fast, I can't keep the strip edge even. However, I'll explain my "just because" experiment.

When Ann Martin of All Things Paper reviewed the Quill Ease Slotted Motorized Quilling Tool, I was reminded that I've always wanted to see if an electric eraser would be a good "Macgyverism". Off to Daiso (Japanese dollar store) I went, and picked up this electric eraser for $2. I went to the one in Richmond, but there are many US locations as well.

It's easy to take apart by twisting the upper ring and separating the halves. I had hoped my mini Japanese quilling tool (far right) would fit, but upon closer comparison, the diameter is too big to replace the eraser. Plus I don't think I could bear to damage my beloved tool.

Not to be deterred, I trimmed down a toothpick, gave it a slit, and shoved the pointy end into the eraser.

Here's what my coil looks like. It's ok, but really it spun too quickly for me to control well. If anyone knows if it's easy to turn down the spinning speed, maybe they could share this tip? All in all, a fun experiment for 2 bucks!

Quilling by 7th Graders

My brother-in-law is a teacher and was subbing for a class of 7th graders. He decided to engage them in a way they'd never been before, by showing them how to quill. I gave him a quick one hour lesson of the basics the night before, using toothpicks and .5" strips of white photocopy paper we cut by hand on a guillotine cutter.

After showing some examples, they started quilling. Both boys and girls got into it, but the girls took it to another level with focused and larger pieces, varying from the examples they were shown. I was astonished at what they achieved in just one hour! They grasped the basic shapes immediately and started creating their own unique pieces without any patterns.

Some girls decided to stay and finish their quilling during recess. I just love the bird (top right) and wonder if she felt it was finished? As an adult, I think I over-process new things to my own detriment. I loved hearing how the kids dove right in unimpeded. I've got lots to learn!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quilled Champagne Congratulations, A New Tutorial Pattern!

My friends got engaged and I wanted to quill them something to commemorate the happy occasion. Champagne glasses immediately came to mind and then I wondered what to put around the clinking glasses — confetti and streamers of course!

I think of pink for a rosy congratulations, whether for a graduation or even an invite to "eat, drink, and be merry". The example shown here has the pink dots ready-to-print along with the frame.

For a classic golden hue, great for an anniversary or to give to your spouse, you can choose to hole punch your own paper out of 1/8" (shown here) or 1/16" hole punch.

As you can see, there are two frame options available, and both come with and without pink bubbles, so you can choose whatever you like. Both have a ribbon along to bottom so you can type whatever message you like. After scoring and trimming, your finished card will be 4.5x6.25 inches when folded.

Of course, it's not complete until you've assembled a customized envelope in matching font as well.

As with all my quilling tutorial patterns, you won't need a ruler to measure the strips needed. Simply lay your strip on top and score/fold along the indicated lines. Then follow the illustrations and photos to see how they are easily assembled.

If you'd prefer a different size of card or don't want the frames, it's easy to make a few more pieces of confetti to throw around it. I like gluing my confetti at different angles so it really looks like it's fluttering around.

This latest quilling pattern is available in my Etsy shop (10% coupon code is in the caption below). I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of paper scraps on the floor.

I can finally buy my quilling supplies locally, at Precious Memories! They sold out of my book at my first ever quilling demo the other night. My nervousness was completed dispelled by the enthusiastic attendees.

I'd like to celebrate (pun intended) my achievement with a 10% coupon for my Etsy shop. Just enter CONGRATS10 (expires July 31) during your checkout.

Craft Ideas is hosting a giveaway of my book! 3 lucky winners will receive a copy if they enter before 9/30/2014.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cut-Coil Quilling for Rounded Flowers

I was buoyed by my quick and happy results from the cut coil technique for pointed petal flowers I showed in an earlier post, and assumed a rounded petal version would be just as easy. I started off well enough, with this flower as my first attempt.

It was a rocky road after that. I found it difficult to achieve results consistent enough to explain my process.

From top left to right, the strips measurements I used were:

1) 3 x 3" strips, not loosened
2) 4 x 3" strips, quilled with a skewer
3) 1 x 1.5, 2, 2.5" strips
4) 4 x 4" strips, uncoiled and re-coiled by hand for a looser coil = too many large rings
5) 3 x 3" strips, flattened curves by hand after cutting
6) 4 x 3" strips
7) 4 x 3" strips, not loosened at all
8) 4 x 3" strips, curves massaged after cutting
9) 4 x 3" strips, curves massaged after cutting

I enjoy these flowers overall, but want to make them more consistently, so they look like a bouquet and belong together, because I'd like to show how to make another monogram using the cut-coil technique in the future.

In example 4, uncoiling and re-coiling by hand is what I do to relax the tension of a coil. After coiling a strip, the tension is quite tight (as seen in the 2nd photo below). I use my tool to uncoil it, stopping just before the innermost coil. Then I re-coil it by hand, controlling the tension as I go to make a looser coil. This is different from simply coiling it loosely the first time, because now the paper has a memory of how it's been shaped. I'm simply doing it looser, and it ends up being concentric, like a conch shell. I show photos in my book, Pretty Quilled Cards, and I'll show it here in this blog when I get a chance to shoot again (I dropped my light bulb and it's shattered now).

I usually coil at the very tip of my tool, but since I wanted to cut the coils, I wrapped the paper further down the tool to have a larger inner circle.

I even used a skewer stick to achieve larger circles. I would save the tightly wrapped coil for the innermost part of my flower as a starting point of the flower.

I think the main difficulty lay in the fact that after the coils were cut, the arcs were so different and needed massaging into a usable curve. The pinched petals in my previous post were already mainly shaped. So this type of flower took more time for me and it was harder to maintain consistency.
Anyway, I hope you have better results than I did! If you do give it a go, I'd love to hear about it. 

Phillippa Reid of Quilliance had already made the leap to this flower and has made a wonderful cut-coil round petal flower, encircled with a mix of techniques and colors. She has also experimented with cut-coil methods previously and has other links in her post worthy of a visit!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quilling an Easy Letter Monogram

One question I'm commonly asked is how to make a quilled monogram. When someone is new to quilling, it is daunting to make such a large customized project, especially when they want it to be done in an afternoon.

Rather than tackling how to outline a letter (an advanced technique I plan to discuss later), I want to show a quick and easy way to make a monogram for room d├ęcor. This letter M has been covered by 3 types of quilled dots/circles. You can certainly minimize the design with a single type, but I wanted to show various ways of making circles out of quilling strips.

Before cutting my materials, I gather them to ensure they go well together. Here's what I used:
  • Green patterned paper from DCWV Doodlin' Around Stack
  • Metallic bronze card stock from Stardream
  • Orange paper from Daiso (a local dollar store with Japanese items)
  • Light blue quilling strips
  • Ikea 9x9 picture frame

Choose any font you wish, type your letter at about 4.25" high, and print it out. The font shown here is TeX Gyre Bonum, Bold, with a size of 450 pt. Staple it on top of your card stock to prevent the papers from shifting as you cut.

Tight Coil
To make these solid dots, I used 3.5" long strips and started my needle tool partway down from the top edge. Rubbing my fingers as if I'm removing dried glue, I roll the paper up and around the tool. If the paper doesn't catch around your needle, moisten your fingertip. After applying glue to seal the end, push the coil off your tool. At this stage, I can see my edges are not perfectly aligned, so I place the coil on my work surface and use a flat item to squish the coils completely flush. You will see a solid coil on top, while the bottom has a tiny hole.

Loose Coil
To make the Loose Coils, I curled a 3.5" strip around my tool and released it within an 8 mm (about .25") diameter circle template. I place adhesive foam beneath my circle template to raise the template about midway up the paper strip, keeping it more easily fenced in.

When I swipe up a dab of glue with my needle tool, it's usually facing one direction. See how there is a clean area on the opposite side? Look at the previous photo again. You'll see I use this clean section to push my coils out of the way before dabbing my glue on the end. I usually have tissues nearby to clean off my tool each time. Toothpicks could certainly be used instead of gunking up your tool, but I prefer not interrupting my flow by picking and putting down my tools.

To make the large circles, I found using the circle template harder than wrapping around a solid object, in this case, a Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive bottle. The circle on the left is just a tad out of shape. Perhaps a lipstick tube would work too – anything with a plastic surface allows me to slip the finished ring off more easily.

To start, I scraped a 5" length strip. The top left in the photo above shows what a scraped coil looks like. I ended up with a circumference of about 16mm or .5". The size does not have to be exact, just whatever you have around that makes a larger circle.

Wrap the coil around your object to eyeball a general length.

You don't want glue on the innermost ring - just the length after that. I used a UHU glue stick to smear the adhesive rather than liquid glue.

Wrap the strip around your object, trying to keep the edges aligned.

While the glue is still moist, slip the ring off and use either your fingers or a flat object to gently press the rings flush. Actually, I rarely use my fingers, but each time I took a photo with a flat item, it covered up the quilling, so bear with me! Flush edges always makes your work look neater.

Then I slip the ring back on the glue bottle to allow the glue to fully dry, so I can achieve a perfectly round ring. 

I drew, then cut a giraffe and had intended to use matching bronze coils on top, but found them too distracting from the monogram. Instead I used 1/8" and 1/4" hole punches to punch matching bronze dots. I have used my punches for years and noticed the edges are not as clean as I'd like. To solve this, I put my paper in between two sheets of scrap card stock. Being sandwiched makes my bronze paper cut so much more cleanly.

After gluing the dots on my giraffe, I flipped it over and placed adhesive foam squares on the back. I enjoy the subtle shadows cast when an item is lifted off the page.

Make as many dots and circles as you need, and place them on your letter. To keep things random, I cut one of the large rings apart and glued the two sections in different parts of the letter.


Before gluing everything down, I suggest getting up from your chair and taking a break. Give it a day if you can. When you come back, you may see a different way of laying out the elements. I find myself subconsciously placing elements in the middle, so I keep playing with it until it looks random enough.

I plan to make this tutorial into a free downloadable PDF so it's easy to print and have by your craft table. The strips will all be pre-measured for you, as all my quilling patterns are. The giraffe will also be included in two ways - both as a pattern to cut out on your chosen paper and as a colored printable to save time. The eyes and antlers can get a bit tricky to cut, but you can replace it with any animal you prefer.

When the PDF tutorial is ready, I'll come back here and update this post. If you'd like to be notified immediately (or if you'd like to receive news this way), simply join my newsletter.

* * *

I've now completed the PDF file with measurements, instructions, photos, and giraffe template. I hope you'll leave a comment on my blog if it helped you make a customized project for your loved one!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3D Soccer Ball Birthday Card

My soccer-loving nephew has turned 12 and I thought it would be fun to make a card he could get a "kick" out of. He and his brother used to enjoy receiving extra pieces to make the exact card I made. Alas, they're growing up and it's getting harder to impress them. Luckily my readers are a more forgiving audience!

The soccer ball is made of a single piece of white cardstock that gets glued together. Then the black pieces are added afterwards. I added a springing coil of quilled paper to represent a bounce, and a torn green sheet for grass.

If you would like to make this 3D soccer ball, please leave your email in a comment and I'll send it to you. I won't add it to a mailing list or use it for marketing. I simply enjoy reading comments and gain inspiration from your feedback.

The PDF version will have the black areas printed on the ball, so it's easier for hand assembly. The SVG version will have a perforated white outline with the black in separate pieces. These files are for personal use only. I'd love to hear if you gave it a try!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIY Quilling Strips Tutorial with Free Files

I've talked about cutting my own quilling paper because I prefer a slightly heavier weight than standard quilling strips. Seeing Honey Moser's blog post and a reader's question on Jin's Craftsy post prompted me to make these files. I use a Silhouette SD to cut mine, and whether you want to cut your own by hand or by machine, I hope my files may be of help to you.

There are 4 pages in the "DIY Quilling Strips.pdf" file, containing varying widths of 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch markings on top and bottom. You'll see the measurement listed along the top left. Ensure your option for "Page Scaling" is set to "None" when printing, so it comes out at actual size.

Option 1
You can certainly print these markings right on top of your sheets of 8.5x11 inch paper, keeping a margin all around so it's tangle-free during storage after cutting. However, I know some people who are aghast at any paper wastage, and if you are one, keep reading.

Option 2
Another way to cut your strips and use every inch of it is to print the file and slice off the markings.

Place the paper you'd like to cut on your cutting surface. I've taken metallic envelopes apart to use for quilling strips in this way. Align the paper edge with the first marking, then tape the markings in place above and below - ensure they are parallel or else your cutting will be off. Align your ruler to the markings and start cutting away. You can re-use this method many times over.

For those who have a digital die cutter, I have compressed 4 SVG files with varying widths. They all contain a border because otherwise I find my blade may catch on the edge of the paper. The files are readily changeable for those who have a different size paper.

If anyone uses these files and found it helpful, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quilled Ginkgo Biloba Cards and Letraset StudioTac Dry Adhesive

I've quilled the quietly serene ginkgo biloba leaves before here, here, and here in the past, but this new version is similar to the one in my book, Pretty Quilled Cards.

These two cards are ones that I made with the leaves I practiced on, but what I really wanted to show you was the subtly patterned paper beneath the leaves.

Sometimes during pre-press or printing, some highlights get blown out, which means no definition – as in the case of the ginkgo project. So I thought I'd show it here. Isn't it the perfect backdrop?

I got it at Daiso, my fave $2 store. They're meant for blotting tempura, but they are just gorgeous for an Asian feel without overpowering the card. It's a tad see-through, so I'd suggest using double-sided tape, spray adhesive, or Letraset Studio Tac/LetraTac to adhere to your card rather than glue.

I've used this dry adhesive for many years and still have the packaging from the first pad I got in college.
It's kind of like the Xyron, but low tech. Peel away the wax layer to expose some white dots. Place your item on top and press against the dots. Your item is now a sticker. I have found it's quite removable within the first day or two and the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to remove.

Here's a close up of the white dots. Hope that helps your project!
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