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Quilled Paper Art: Nice and Nautical

Quilled Paper Art: Nice and Nautical

Looking for an exciting new way to create stunning crafts using paper? Quilling is a really old craft that requires patience and practice… but the pay-off is huge! In this gorgeous quilling tutorial, the incredibly talented Carla Bagshaw takes you step by step through the process of creating this stunning quilled paper art whale! Use the included printable template as a guide to follow along and produce your very own breath-taking quilled art project! Totally new to quilling? We’ve all the supplies you need to get started!

Quilled paper art whale header image

Time it Takes to Make: 5-6 hours

Skill Level: Intermediate

You Will Need:

Quilled Paper Art: Step-by-Step Project

This project is A4; the template is designed to give you all the guidelines you need to ‘outline’ your project in full, and offers you space to practice your quilling skills, and personalise your finished piece. Be patient… and remember to work slowly!

Step 1:

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Gather all of your materials together first – it’s a lot easier when everything you need is to hand – and print out the whale template.

If you are using a lightbox, place the template underneath your white cardstock on top of the lightbox, and tape the two pieces down so that they don’t slip.

If you do not have a lightbox, you will need to do the following extra step: place the template on top of your cardstock and tape them down. Use a ball tool to trace the entire template so that it embosses the design into white cardstock below. Remove the tape and the template, and place it aside. (You will follow all of the remaining steps but will quill onto your embossed lines instead of the template shown through the lightbox.)

Step 2:

Find a place that you are comfortable to begin; I started with the fin but, wherever you start, find a ‘point’ or the end of a line.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Place a fine line of glue along a small section and wait around 20 seconds to let the glue become tacky. Take a white quilling strip, and using the tweezers place the end of the strip upright (on the edge) along the glued line.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Step 3:

The next step is time consuming and there are no shortcuts unfortunately. You need to follow every line with the glue and continue sticking the white strips down as in Step 2, until you have completed the whole template (not including the water spout). Use your tweezers to help with placement, and work incrementally in small sections. When you have finished one strip begin with another, slightly overlapping the first.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image
Top Tip: When bending your strip around a corner, hold the strip with the tweezers at the point of the bend, and push the paper gently around the tweezers.

Step 4:

When you have finished outlining the whale, you can really start to experiment and have some fun. At this point, it is a lot easier if you have a basic understanding of quilling a shape, but I will explain some of the very basics here.

Using a slotted tool, place the end of a quilling strip into the slot and begin to rotate the tool, gently holding the forming coil so it doesn’t become too loose or unravel. When you get to the end of the strip, gently hold the coil between two fingers and pull it slowly away from the tool. Slowly begin to loosen your fingers so that the coil expands a little.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

This is known as a loose coil and is the foundation of quilling. You can make so many shapes from this one technique!

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

If you put a small dot of glue on the open ‘flap’ of paper at the end of the coil and stick it down, you form a closed coil. You can pinch either side of the coil to form an eye shape, or pinch just one side to form a teardrop. There are so many possibilities with this one shape!

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

A crimping tool is used by placing a strip of paper between the two wheels, and rotating the handle. The paper will feed through the mechanism and produce a ‘rippled’ (or crimped) effect on the strip. This is an optional step, but texturizing your paper is a fantastic way to offer a more pleasing end visual. You don’t need to crimp every strip, but placing some crimped additions throughout the piece is incredibly effective.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Step 5:

The top of the whale is purposely left blank for you to add your quilled shapes. If this is too daunting, simply copy the shapes in my finished photograph to get you started.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

You do not need to think too much about placement, you will be able to visually gauge what looks right. Some people like to make and place all of their shapes before gluing anything down. I generally place a small amount of glue on the underside of each shape and glue it down as I’m going. This is entirely personal choice.

Step 6:

When you have filled the open space, you can follow the outline of the water spout or put your own spin on it; the outline is only there to give you visual placement, and an idea of what shapes to use.

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Step 7:

Quilled paper art whale tutorial image

Finally, all that is left to do, is to pop your quilled paper art into a frame! Quilling may not be the quickest craft out there – but it is oh so beautiful!

Love this project? Check out the rest of our papercraft articles, projects and tutorials right here on the blog!



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