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  • mademyownco

Paper Quilling

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

I’ve never heard of paper quilling before this – in fact, when my partner planned this as a surprise for me and when I arrived at the venue, I was thinking “what is this??”. And so I started with a little bit of skepticism but ended it with so much engagement and enthusiasm and continued building on my piece even after heading home.

Compared with a lot of other things I’ve made, paper quilling is not really something that is as intuitive to a general person.

So what is paper quilling?

Quilling is an art form that has existed for hundreds of years (think oil painting, embroidery as other  art forms, quilling is just another one of them) – it uses paper being curled, shaped and glued to form a design. Historically, they were used to decorate book covers and religious items (thanks, Wikipedia!), and today, they are made as beautiful art pieces, like the ones by Yulia Brodskaya (as introduced by the teacher at the paper quilling workshop).

Minolta DSC

Historical quilling – image from quilling-guild



Image from

My paper quilling class was at Art Pazionate, a little apartment studio in a residential / commercial complex. Our teacher was Joanne, a lovely lady who teaches a lot of other art forms (painting, doodling etc.). We had a small class that day – my partner, myself, and just one other lady who came in after work.

Joanne gave an introduction on paper quilling (with slides and all!), before getting us started with the practical session.

We were presented with materials – quilling paper, a stick of glue, and a background sheet.


The quilling paper strips reminded me of the strips we used when making paper stars back in primary school days

Our first task was to decide on a design that we wanted to work quill – I relied on trusty google and came across some beautiful hot air balloons and set my heart on creating one.


Google image search results for “paper quilling hot air balloon”

We had to first draw a draft on a white sheet, before transferring onto the real background (thicker) sheet. Joanne then taught us a few different techniques to curl / shape the paper into various designs.


Draft of my hot air balloon, and starting to think of designs to fit inside the body

I decided on a design of “day & night”, where the sun is in one corner, and some stars were in another.


As it was a short 2 hour workshop, this was all I managed to execute during the course of the workshop


Us with our products – the little owl my partner made was so adorable!

Joanne gave us these plastic covers to put our art pieces in so that we can transport them home safely. We also took the remaining quilling strips + glue home.

After heading back, I was still drawn to the “denser” designs I found on google, and proceeded to spend the night adding more quill bits onto my hot air balloon.

After which, we bought some frames to put our master pieces in:


These “deep” frames were bought from Ikea 🙂


Duration: 2 hours Price: We paid SGD100 for both of us – I think there are discounts sometimes (saw a 25% discount once when you sign up with a friend)

Level of “fun”: 3/5

The workshop turned out a lot more fun than I expected it to be! Firstly, getting to learn about a new art form (new to me at least) was really interesting. It was also great to be able to design something for myself, and then work on the quilling decorative piece. There were so many ways to fill my hot air balloon, and google + Joanne were helpful in allowing me to create these many quilling designs.

Level of difficulty: 1/5

This was quite an easy activity – the most challenging bits were probably 1) coming up with the design concept and 2) trying to create some quilling patterns that required some sort of “spacing” / “symmetry” e.g. having the curls in the sun space out properly / ensuring the owl has a symmetrical body.

Nevertheless, there was a huge benefit of having a teacher like Joanne there as she helped us with the pieces that were a bit more challenging, to ensure that our output wasn’t too unattractive :p


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