So, some real talk about my quilling paper journey.
When I first started studying and practicing quilling, I was super intimidated by swirls. Those beautiful, swoopy designs formed from multiple strips of quilling paper.
I didn’t understand how they were made and I thought I never would.
But, I watched a few videos, and one day…click. I got it.
And, of course, they were much easier than I was making them out to be.
So now its time to pass that info on to you and solve the great mystery that is how to make quilling paper swirls.
Like I said above, quilling paper swirls are made from a few strips of quilling paper.
I would say use at least three. For all my examples, I used four. It’s also a good idea to keep the strips you choose to work with all the same length as you begin.
To begin, stack the strips on top of each other. I would recommend using torn edges, as the glue hold better and the center of the swirl will be smoother.
Apply the tiniest amount of glue between the layers of paper, just on the edge of each strip.
Smooth the stack of strips with your fingers to ensure they are straight and haven’t gone crooked when you applied the glue.
As soon as you can, roll the stack around your tool, starting with the end that has been glued. I find that if I start rolling before the glue is dry, my finished swirl looks much more polished.
It is a little different to roll a stack of strips around a tool, as opposed to a single strip. If you’re having trouble getting the paper to go around the tool, try pushing the stack down with your finger. This is the step that takes the most practice. Don’t give up!
TIP: Roll the end of your swirl around a needle tool, or on the outside of a slotted tool. A skewer, pen, or the handle of a tool can be used as well for a larger swirl.
How much of the stack that you roll will depend on your use, but usually, you’ll roll almost the entire length, leaving a small tail.
The simplest type of a quilling paper swirl is just essentially a thicker scroll made by rolling a stack of a few strips together.
After getting the coil to the size and shape you want, apply a little glue between the layers of paper on the tail end.
Then, cut or tear all the strips at the same place, right where the glue ends.
The result is a thin tendril that looks best with a bunch of other swirl work.
Next, open your swirls up a little.
Starting the same way, after rolling your stack of strips, gently hold them by the sides towards the coil end. For a larger swirl, you’d move your hand further away from the coil.
With your other hand, pull each strip slightly to open up the space between each strip in the coil. If you pull too much and are unhappy with the way your swirl looks, push the strip back towards the coil end a bit.
Keep adjusting your strips until the swirl is even and looks the way you want.
Decide how long you’d like your swirl to be and tear each strip, making each a little longer than the last.
Add some glue between each strips and smooth to make a tail.
I think this is one of my favorite techniques in all of quilling! It’s clean and classic, but always a wow!
Now, let’s get fancy!
You can also make your strips into more than one swirl at once!
Start in the same way as the last. Adjust your strips so your swirl looks the way you like.
Apply a tiny bit of glue between each strip in a spot close to the coil, and let dry.
Curl the remaining strips slightly with your tool, in the same way you would curl a ribbon.
Then, simply adjust the strips so they’re spaced evenly as they form a bump below the original coil.
Glue the ends of the strips and smooth.
The variations on this type of swirl are endless!
Make the bump larger, make the coil smaller, whatever you like!
One more swirl to show is really similar to a S scroll, but with more than one strip.
Start with a standard swirl, as shown above.
Tear all the strips straight across in the same length, and add a bit of glue to the very edges.
Last, roll that end in the reverse direction from the first coil.
It really looks more complicated than it is!
There are so many uses for swirls, but a lot of traditional quilling artists use them in their flower work.
I made a broad leaf out of a swirl for my post on how to make a lily of the valley, and I used them to make the leaves of the tulips in next weeks post. Stay tuned!
I hope I solved the mystery of how to make quilling paper swirls.
Once you get the steps down, start mixing up the colors of your strips. That’s when the fun really begins!
Don’t be as terrified as I was! It just takes a little practice.
Leave a comment below and let me know how your quilling paper swirls turn out.