There is an unbelievable number of cool things we can do with paper, and paper quilling is one of them. Paper quilling is a form of paper craft where we can create all sorts of incredible and beautiful designs by rolling, curling, pinching, shaping, and glueing together strips of paper. 

History of Quilling

Paper Quilling is an ancient art form with origins dating back several centuries. Some reports trace its origins back to Ancient Egypt. However, the majority of reports agree that the art form was widely practiced in Europe during the Renaissance. 

Around the 16th century, French and Italian nuns used the craft as a way to decorate religious objects at impoverished churches. They used gilded paper and designs that imitated the intricate patterns of much more expensive metalwork. This history led to the craft becoming known as Paper Filigree. Other names such as Paper Rolling and Scrolling were also common.

Quilling gained popularity as a “proper pastime” for gentle women in England during the 18th Century and was taught at boarding schools alongside other accomplishments such as needlework, drawing and music. Famous women of the time such as Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters practiced the craft. 

Paper Quilling was introduced to the Americas during the colonial period. But by the 19th century, its popularity started to wane. Through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the craft remained mostly consigned to oblivion.

Quilling in the 21st Century

Today, there is a resurgence of quilling around the world. Social media has made the craft accessible to the masses and boosted its popularity amongst hobbyists, artists, and fashion-lovers. The renewed interest in quilling has made room for a wide variety of quilling artists, each with their own unique styles and influences. 

The intricate designs and lightweight nature of paper quilled jewelry lends it immense popularity amongst fashion lovers. The rising demand for handmade products and customised designs adds to their appeal. A similar trend can be seen with quilled artwork finding a loyal following amongst connoisseurs of handicrafts.

As a hobby, paper quilling is an easy craft to get started with, requiring only a few simple tools and supplies. Although dedicated tools such as the slotted tool can make the process much easier and create coils of noticeably better quality, hobbyists are often known to practice the craft with improvised tools such as knitting needles, Q-tips, or toothpicks. 

Paper Quilling Designs and Styles

A wide variety of quilling styles have emerged such as Classic Quilling, Quilled Typography and Calligraphy (or “Quillography”), Quilled Portraits, and 3-Dimensional Quilling. Paper Quilling is popularly used to decorate greeting cards and home decor items, to create jewelry and festive decorations, and as framed artwork. 

Abstract designs and designs inspired by nature are some of the most popular with quilled flowers, snowflakes and mandalas being universally loved. But as more new quilling artists emerge, new designs, styles and themes are being constantly explored. 

What drew you to the world of Paper Quilling? Tell us in the comments!

Leave a comment