Introduction: Quilling for People Who Don't Quill

Perhaps this entry should not have been included in the Quilling section since it is not true quilling. But for those who do not have the proper quilling equipment and supplies but want to try something similar, here you are. You can practice the quilling techniques without investing anything more than buying some ribbon. Did I say ribbon. Quilling is done with paper. Now you see why I hesitated to include this in the Quilling section. Not only that but you will learn a really quick easy craft to do with children and adults that can produce something that is as good as a person's imagination makes it.

Step 1: Step 1: Lets Get Started by Learning Something Different

There was a time when I was working with children and the weather was less than desirable for outdoor activities. Some days it was downright awful. I ran through all of the craft supplies and craft ideas and finally resorted to making beads out of paper.

To do this you take a knitting needle, toothpick, or some other cylindrical device that comes to hand. Takie a strip of paper from 1/8" through to 1/2" or wider if you want and 8" long to start and holding one end of the strip against the toothpick (which is what I used here), carefully wrap it around the stick. When the strip meets the leading edge of the strip, tuck the leading edge under the oncoming strip and with your nail keep it tucked in until you have rotated the paper on the stick 1 revolution. Usually this holds the paper in place. Continue rotating the paper on the stick until you have created a "bead" of the size that you want. Then taking a hot glue gun (my preference), put a tiny dab of glue on the strip and press the strip onto the "bead". When the glue has set (it only takes a few seconds), slide the "bead" off of the stick. When you are revolving the strip around the stick you can make the "bead" as tight or as loose as you want. You can also adjust the tightness of the "bead" when you apply the glue. By applying the dab of glue a little further down the strip than is immediately adjacent to the "bead", you can allow the bead to expand and loosen the coils.

The result of your efforts is very similar to that produced by a quilling "needle". Now you can practice the different shapes familiar to practiced quillers without the initial investment. If you decide that you enjoy Quilling you than have the option of making the investment in the equipment.

Step 2: Step 2: and for Something a Little Different

After several rainy days the children and I got tired of cutting strips of paper for the beads and I came up with an alternative solution, use ribbon of the same width as the paper strips. We had varying results with the ribbon that we had on hand. I definitely recommend using a glue gun to secure the end of the ribbon if you decide to try it. Depending on the ribbon used we had better and worse results as beads and some of the ribbon almost worked as quilling as you can see in the second picture. The heart near the toothpick.

The ribbon did not respond well to the shaping as the quilling and other paper did. Even leaving it compressed in a clothespin did not persuade some of the ribbon to cooperate. But some of the ribbon made interesting beads.

Step 3: Step 3: Not Giving Up on the Idea of Ribbon Quilling

One of the efforts was with curling ribbon. This one was very interesting because once you got a small amount started on the toothpick, you could cause the remainder of the ribbon to roll on its own by dragging the blade of a pair of scissors across the ribbon that is not wound on the roll.

It then is happy to roll around separately from the original roll and create an interesting effort in picture 2 or just curl around the original roll on the toothpick. But it still didn't take well to the quilling manipulations. But it did make interesting designs by running the scissor blade on each side alternating etc. If was fun to experiment with and it was a great distraction from the pouring rain.

Step 4: Step 4: Finally Success, of a Sort

Using wired ribbon wrapped around the tooth pick we were able to create a "bead" that did allow us to manipulate its shape but we had wound it too tight and it was too small so we tried again wrapping the next effort loosely on the toothpick. This time we had a "bead" that we could manipulate and we produced the heart. We took the round "bead" and using the toothpick laid sideways against the top of the "bead" we pressed is down and created the indent of the heart. We then pinched the bottom of the heart creating the point.

I have included a little experiment that we did to approximate the width of the quilling paper (1/8") by cutting the wired ribbon in half and used that. It proved too small for children's fingers to manipulate but I included it to show that if the centre of the "bead" protrudes that isn't a problem. Just lay it flat on a surface and press the centre into place.

Finally the rain stopped and we left our "faux quilling" and went out to play.

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