Saturday, June 17, 2006

Quilling Basics - Quilling Tools

Thanks for coming back (and Stefani thanks for posting...), now I will tell you about some of the other basic tools you will need and some that I would recommend…. I think some will surprise you… :-)

I was remiss not to mention the paper strips when I last posted. So I will pick up the list here.

You can cut your own paper and many people do, but I prefer to buy my paper pre-cut. I don’t have the time to cut it myself, and I must admit that my ability to cut a straight line (even with a paper cutter) is not my forte. When starting out I recommend starting with one width and selecting a multi-color pack of paper. I suggest the 1/8” (.3 cm) wide paper, since most of the patterns that you will find are done in this size. I like the multi-color packs because it gives me an opportunity to see the different shades of paper. I have also found that some of the online stores will send you samples with your order and many will also allow you to order samples. One of the places that I shop is Custom Quilling By Denise she has a great inventory and you should see some of the beautiful quilling she does.

A little more about cutting your own paper… I have found that many people who teach classes cut their own paper for their students to use when first learning the basic shapes. There are also shredders that cut paper in 1/8” strips that some people use. You need to be careful with the shredders, because many cut with jagged edges that are not the best for use with quilling. There has been a lot of information posted about shredders, if there is interest I can track it down for you.

The weight of the paper that you use to quill is a personal choice that you will probably make over time. Best advice I can give is to use a lightweight paper as the thicker cardstock does not roll as well. This is another reason why I like to buy my paper pre-cut, the weight of the paper is a good one and it rolls nicely. Note, I have used paper in my multi-pack that is from the same manufacturer and have found that some colors roll differently than others.

After you have quilled your basic shapes, you will need glue to glue the pieces together. This is something that you probably have around the house; all you need is a white glue that dries clear. Elmer’s glue will work. There are many framed quilled work out there that were made over 30 years ago that used Elmer’s glue that are still together. If you are a scrapbooker and have a tacky glue that use for embellishments, this works as well. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I use something like my needle tool or other similar device to apply my glue, if you want, there are glue bottles that have these nifty tops that apply your glue in tiny amounts (this is what Stefani referenced). Everyone raves about them, and I am very tempted to buy one.

Some other tools that you might find helpful and are probably around your house:

  • Wax paper or clear sheet protector – when you are gluing your pieces together, whether you are using a pattern or not, your quilled piece won’t stick to whatever surface you are working on. They easily come up and you can then place the finished piece where you want it.
  • Cardboard, a book, styrofoam, or corkboard – the idea here is to have some work surface that is firm that you can work on your unfinished pieces. The added benefit is that if you need to move your work area (which frequently happens for me) then you can pick it up and move it in one piece. Also, as you start quilling more you will find that you need a place to stick your pins (we'll talk about why later). Now I have a piece of corkboard that I bought where they sell quilting supplies (yes, quilting not quilling).
  • Scissors – I use mine for cutting shapes, and sometimes to cut my strips in half (width wise, to make them narrower) or for a technique called fringing.
  • A small plate, bottle cap, or something that you can use to put a little bit of glue on so that your entire bottle of glue doesn’t dry out. Many people on my quilling groups talk about placing a damp cloth (or paper towel - but this is not good for landfills) in a cup and inverting their glue. This keeps the glue from drying out and allows them hours of use.
  • A ruler – this will help you with keeping your lines straight or measuring your shapes to ensure they are the same size. To help with the size of your coils there is a special device for that (a quilling board) but you may not want to buy one initially due to cost.
  • A damp cloth or sponge (even my baby wipes work) will also help you keep your fingers from getting glued together or so sticky that everything sticks to your fingers and not where you want them to be. Another use is that it will help you moisten your strip when you are finger rolling or using the needle tool and want to start your coil.
  • Tweezers are helpful to help you pick up your pieces and place them in a specific location. Alas, I use ones that were not originally intended for quilling, but they have a very fine/sharp pointed end that makes picking up the quilled pieces so much easier.
  • Dress appropriately... comfy clothes are my preference, and since I sometimes get glue on myself, I recommend something that you won't mind if this happens. (lol)

Now all you need is some time and patience. Keep a sense of humor and don’t worry, everyone loses their coils on the floor at one time or another. I have it on good authority that many cats like to eat coils and think that they are cat toys, so be careful around any felines.

Wow! There is so much more to cover... We’ll get into some basic shapes next time! I will try to take some pictures of the tools and my messy corkboard "moveable" work surface!

Have a great day!

Copyright Antonella DeFalco


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