Craft Cottage - Quilling 101: Loose & Tight Coils

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Quilling 101: Loose & Tight Coils

Quilling is traditionally the art of rolling thin paper strips into intricate designs, commonly found on greeting cards. Don’t feel limited to just greeting cards though because you can make a wall hanging, jewelry, or even decorations for your home. For project ideas, check out our:

In each of the aforementioned projects, we used simple loose and tight coils. Although there are many other shapes you can make in quilling, most shapes begin as a basic coil. Since the coil is the foundation of other shapes, you’ll learn how to make basic loose and tight coils using a slotted quilling tool in this tutorial.

Supplies & Tools:

  • Quilling strips*
  • Quilling tool
  • Glue with a fine tip applicator
  • Optional: plastic circle template**
  • Optional: baby wipes

*You can purchase quilling strips at your local craft store or you can cut paper into thin strips. The standard size of quilling strips is 1/8" x 24". If you cut your own quilling strips from regular copy paper, your strips will be 11" long. Either option will work, but each lends itself to different results. With 24" strips, you can make larger coils and the coil is “seamless.” If you use 11" strips, your coils will be smaller. These directions demonstrate how to roll coils with 11" strips cut from standard copy paper. Therefore, when we explain how to roll tight coils, we use multiple strips to make the coil larger.

**A circle template is useful when you want to make sure that each coil is the same size. For example, if you were making flower petals and want them to be identical, a circle template will help you accomplish that. To use it, roll the paper strip using quilling tool, keeping the coil on the tool, invert the tool/coil into a circle. Release the coil and it will expand to fill the circle. Carefully remove the coil from the circle template and glue the end down.


Rolling Loose Coils:

  1. Hold the paper strip in one hand and the quilling tool in the other. Insert edge of paper into the slot and begin rolling the coil by spinning the quilling tool.
  2. Continue rolling the paper strip, keeping the edges aligned.
  3. Once you reach the end of the strip, loosen the coil and remove from quilling tool.
  4. Add just a teensy amount of glue under the end and hold it down until it sticks.
  5. Repeat to make more coils for your project!

Rolling Tight Coils:

  1. Hold the paper strip in one hand and the quilling tool in the other. Insert edge of paper into the slot and begin rolling the coil by spinning the quilling tool.
  2. After you’ve rolled the paper halfway, add another strip of paper and continue rolling.
  3. After you’ve rolled a few more inches of paper, add the third strip of paper.
  4. When you reach the end of the paper strip, add glue to secure the end and hold until the glue is dry. (If you squeeze too much glue on the paper, simply spread it across the barrel of the coil. Your fingers will get sticky, so you can wipe your fingers off with a damp towel or baby wipes.)
  5. Remove the coil from quilling tool. Be careful that the coil’s center doesn’t come out when you remove it from the tool. Hold the center of the coil with your fingernail as you slide it off the tool.
    Note: You can also use this method to make even larger discs. If you are rolling several strips of paper into one coil, you may want to glue the strips together as you add them.
  6. Your first tight coil is finished! Make more for your favorite project.

Ready to Start Crafting? Check Out Some Projects That Use This Technique: uses cookies.

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