Quilling For Beginners: Butterfly Quilling Tutorial With Free Template and Pattern
Quilling is a fascinating papercraft to get creative with. It is essentially the art of rolling strips of narrow coloured paper, and putting them together to form a design! Whether you’re a papercrafting pro or a crafting newbie, quilling is accessible to all – You need only a few essential tools and plenty of paper strips, and you’re away! For those of you who like the idea of fuss-free quilling, pre-cut strips are available to die in a selection of eye-catching colours. Alternatively, if you think quilling might be a great way to use some of your existing paper stash, you can cut your own strips, using these fantastic Quilling Strip Dies. We asked quilling pro, Carla Bagshaw, to put together a crafty quilling tutorial for you to try at home – fancy creating this stunning butterfly quilling art? Check out Carla’s step-by-step quilling instructions below, and download your free quilling template to get started!
This is a simple but beautiful quilling project that you can make and frame as wall art, or add to a card, and send to a loved one!
- 6 contrasting quilling strip colours (you can use more or less depending on your preference).
- White quilling strips for outlining
- A slotted quilling tool
- Masking tape
- Craft Tweezers
- Glue with a fine tip applicator
- Frame (Optional)
- Embossing tool or biro to transfer the image
- Download Your FREE quilling template
Print out the butterfly outline and cut some card (200gsm or above) to quill onto. (I cut my card to 15cm x 15cm which gave me a 2cm bleed for framing (the aperture of my mount is 13cm x 13cm)).
Masking tape the outline on top of the card, ready to transfer the image, then using your embossing tool (or biro) trace around the butterfly so you are left with a faint outline on your card.
Using a very small amount of glue, trace a small section of the outline with the glue tip, and begin to trace out the image with the edge of a white quilling strip.
Continue around the outline with glue and your quilling strip, until you have outlined the complete image. If your strip runs out, overlap it with another strip using a tiny dab of glue, and continue to trace the outline with your paper as shown below.
Once you have completed the outline, you will need a slotted tool to begin quilling. Take a white strip, and insert it into the end of the tool (in the slot) then begin rolling the paper around the tip of your tool until you come to the end of your paper strip.
Very carefully hold onto the tight coil and slip it off the end of your slotted tool, allow the coil to loosen between your finger and thumb so that you can control the size and shape. I allowed this coil to become quite large so that I could use it for the body of the butterfly. Once the coil has loosened, glue the end of your paper down and pinch the coil to create a diamond shape, then glue the shape down in the centre of the butterfly to provide the body.
Take your first choice of coloured strip and insert it into your slotted tool, begin rolling the paper around the tip of your tool until you come to the end of your paper strip. Very carefully, hold onto the tight coil and slip it off the end of your slotted tool. Do not let it loosen this time, just place a small amount of glue on the loose edge of your coil and stick the end down.
Add another paper strip in a contrasting colour by gluing the edge of the new strip to your tight coil as shown in the picture above. Using your hand, roll the new strip around your original tight coil and glue the edge down once finished, then repeat this step with a third colour. (You will need to make 4 of these coils in total; I have done 2 in pinks and 2 in purples).
Glue these coils inside your butterfly outline symmetrically.
For this step, I used two coloured strips in contrasting colours, and rolled them together (using around a third of the full paper strips). I created a coil as previously described, but once I had rolled a small amount and before I released it from the tool, I very gently rolled the coil slightly between my fingers to give the paper coil ‘shape memory’. This way, when it is released from the tool, it will loosen only slightly. Once I removed it from the tool I cut the excess paper off, leaving a short tail on my coil that I shaped with my fingers to give it a curve.
You will need to create two of these, approximately the same size. I then stuck them above the previous top coils at the top of the wings.
I then took 3 contrasting strips and glued the top edges together (so the strips lay on top of each other). I folded the papers over to create a loop and then gently pulled the free edge of the inner two strips so that they sit slightly lower than the top loop. Snip off the excess and glue the new edges together so the loops are held fast.
Finally, I added these loops to the coils I had already stuck down.
The rest of the shapes are all achieved in the same way as those described above, and are simply a matter of personal choice. You can follow the template of my shapes provided above, or you can go rogue and produce something different! The main thing is to maintain the tension of your coils so that you are producing coils of similar sizes. For this design, I added more diamonds in contrasting colours and two more loops close to the body.
I finished the piece off by adding a ‘tailed coil’ on each side of the butterflies antennae.
Once finished, I mounted and framed it in a deep box frame to complete it as a wall art piece.