Basic Shapes of Paper Quilling


Hello dear friends today I come back with a craft article that I owe you for a while. (Sorry for the delay friends) As you all know now (refer the article of “Basics Of Paper Quilling”) Paper Quilling is a paper art involves in rolling narrow strips of paper into unique 3D shapes which is used for decorators (make greeting cards, pictures, gift bags and boxes), to make mosaics, sculptures, Jewelry.

If you have a slotted quilling tool, quilling glue in a needle-tip bottle (or a glue stick or use a tooth pick to get glue from a regular bottle of glue.), scissors, tweezers and quilling paper strips (or a paper with hand shedder to cut out strips like showing in the picture) let’s start making basic shapes which we will use in craft projects.


First things first

  • When inserting a piece of quilling paper into the slot of your quilling tool make sure to line up the edge of the paper with the edge of the slot as perfectly as you can. The tool we are using will leave a small crimp in the center of your coil and if you like to crimp to be more visible, allow the paper to hang slightly over the edge. In my case I really don’t like to crimp to be seen and I line up with very edge of strip and slot of the tool.
  • When start rolling the coil roll the tool either towards your body or away from it as you feel comfortable in, using your dominant hand. Hold the shape on your other hand between your fingertips.
  • When you glue it always you must not use too much glue always little amount will be enough and you must keep your hand clean without any trace of glue in it that’s why I told you to use a needle-tip glue bottle or glue stick or tooth pick to get glue. Do not place glue in very end of the strip, give a little space for put glue on it.

Basic shapes of paper quilling

01) Tight Coil

Roll the strip with tool completely and hole the shape before adding glue. Slide the tool while holding the shape between your fingertips and glue it making sure coil to be tight and leveled in every roll of coil.

02) Loose Coil/ Open Coil

Roll the strip with tool and slide the tool from it after roll completely. Release and allow coil to expand on a table or a circle template board or simply between your index finger and thumb. After expanding the coil glue it at loose end and press lightly to secure.  The base for every shape of quilling is loose coil.  

03) Teardrop

Make loose coil and get it between your thumb and index finger and pinch one end to create a teardrop shape. I usually doing this with my dominant hand and if you want this shape to be in detail; get the shape on your non-dominant hand and use tweezers to other hand to arrange the inside of the coil in order. Put glue at the end of strip and make that end to be at peak of teardrop.

Variations : manipulate basic shape to create more shapes by curving the coil.

  1. Curve the coil around your thumb or tool to make a shift without compromising the center coils.
  2. Curve shape throughout, pressing the shape around your quilling tool.
  3. Roll the tip of throughout curved teardrop between fingers to face other end of the coil.

04) Marquis

Make teardrop shape and pinch the other end also. The shape can determine how much pressure you put into make the shape. Play with tweezers to arrange inside as well to make it more pretty.  

05) Tulip

Make a marquis shape, then turn the shape on its side and pinch a center peak with your fingers.

06) Slug

Make a marquis, then wrap one end around the tip of your finger or a quilling tool. Do the same to the other end in opposite direction.

07) Square

Make a marquis shape, then turn it to sides to make a square, gently open up the shape between your fingers keeping equal space.

08) Diamond

Make a marquis shape, then rotate it 90 degrees and pinch both sides again. This will create a diamond shape.

Variations of square and diamond : same shape with a change can make applying pressure to corners as above left, above center, above right. What I normally do is playing with tweezer with inside coil of the shape, and that way is easy rather than pinching the corners of shape. Also pinch all four tips of square to get curvy shape into it.

09) Rectangle

The same process as making square and only difference is the degree of rotation of your shape. Slightly turn it before applying pressure in to the shape. Do both way to get perfect rectangular shape.

Variations : make uneven space between two pinches on the marquis. This shape is useful for fill gaps of a quilling project.

10) Semi-Circle

Make a loose coil and pinch two corners without touching above part of the coil to keep them rounded. To do this you can either use hand or hard surface like table or whatever. To me hands works best, find out which way is easier for you.

Variation : curve the straight edge of the shape to look it more like crescent moon with the help of slender surface. 

11) Triangle

Make a teardrop shape, then pinch two additional angles using either your fingers or the tabletop method.

Variation : pinch sides to make them curvy.

12) Arrow

Make a teardrop, then pull the center down towards the base and hold it in place with your fingers. Using the long side of the slotted needle, press down deeply into the base. Release the tool and smooth the curve out with your fingers to shape.

13) Arrowhead

Make a teardrop shape, hold the pointed end in your non-dominant hand and pinch the base end into a tight point. Without letting go, slide your fingers down to meet the fingers of your opposite hand to create the side angles.

14) Heart

Make a teardrop. Press in the base of the shape by using the point of your quilling tool to make a small indentation. Release the tool and carefully press in each side of the heart to complete the center crease.

15) Pentagon

Make a semi-circle.  Pinch the center of the flat side using the same method you used when making the tulip shape; this is the peak of your pentagon. Keeping the peak in the center, square off the bottom with two equal pinches on either side.

16) Star

Make a pentagon and then turn it into a star, press in on each flat surface with your fingers or a quilling tool and then further refine each angle into peaks.

17) Holly Leaf

Make a marquis. Insert a set of tweezers into the shape; try to grip only about a third of the inside coil. Keeping the grip with your tweezers, turn the marquis as needed and pinch a small point on either side of each peak.

Also with a use of a loose coil and glue the ends together with tweezers to make a holly leaf with the circular petal.

These are the basic shapes of paper quilling which I know so far. If you know different shapes besides these please let me know.

Basic scrolls in paper quilling

Also there are four basic scrolls in paper quilling which commonly used in quilling crafts those are;

Loose Scroll /Open Scroll

Roll the strip with tool and release it allowing coil to expand. You can either leave free end as it is or glue it to just like we did before in loose coil.

18) V Scroll

Fold strip of paper in halves. Roll each end outward toward the fold in paper. When rolling you need to roll it placing equal space between fold mark and end of the roll, that way you can have same dimensional loose coils. 

19) Heart Scroll

Fold strip of paper in halves. Roll each end of paper inward toward fold in paper. Make sure to keep rolling in equal lengthwise. This is opposite of the “V scroll”.

20) S Scroll

Roll one end to paper toward center. Roll other end in opposite direction toward center. Make equal length to roll the shape to get balanced “S scroll”. Vary from length and rolling that can make new variety for this scroll. 

21) C Scroll

Roll each end of paper in same direction toward center of paper. Make same equal length roll or different in length rolls can make different “C scrolls”.

I wish you that this will be useful to you and you will make these shapes to begin quilling projects. I hope quilling will caught your interest enough to make it as your new hobby. I will comeback with projects that can combine those shapes together. Especially in this time it has to be greeting cards. If you have any suggestions pleased comment below. See you soon my dears….

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