Paper Quilling FAQ – how to choose between different paper densities (grammage) and how to cut your own paper quilling strips.
I have been thinking about writing a paper quilling FAQ for a while now and last week I finally decided it’s time to set my idea in motion. For this, I have compiled the questions I get most frequently asked and tried to answer them in detail and to the best of my abilities.
Disclaimer: I will talk mostly about my own style of quilling which is based on my personal preferences and what I found that works best for me throughout the years. There are no rules set in stone, so I encourage you to experiment and try different things!
1. What brand of paper do you use? How do you choose between all the available paper densities?
I don’t have a favorite brand and I usually buy any colored paper I can get my hands on. The main criteria when choosing my paper is plain and simple: its color. I still haven’t stumbled on a sheet of paper I haven’t been able to quill with!
I use anything from 80gsm, 120gsm and up to 160 gsm for paper quilling. With time, I ended up favoring certain paper density for different quilled elements. For example: 160gsm for full petals made with tight coils, 80gsm for small petals or small fringed flowers and so on.
For quillography (contour quilling) or paper graphics I use 120gsm, 160gsm and 220 gsm, depending on the size and complexity of the project. I have already discussed this technique in detail in this tutorial.
2. How do you cut your own paper strips?
This is probably the question I get most frequently asked! When I first started quilling, there were virtually no supplies for this craft in any of the stores in Romania. I had to do a lot of improvising and cutting my own paper strips was one of them. I got so used to it that, up to this day, I still cut them by hand. In this way, I can choose exactly the width I need for my projects, without being bound to any of the standard sizes. This is how I ended up using 2mm and 1.5mm wide paper strips.
And this is how you can cut yours!
You will need: a cutting mat, a metal ruler, a cutter or an x-acto knife and a pen.
Start by dividing your paper sheet into segments the size you need your paper strips to be. With the help of a pen, mark these intervals on both short edges of your paper. Let’s say you need 3mm wide paper strips. In this case, your marks should be 3mm apart.
Then you need to align your ruler to these marks and proceed by cutting your paper strips with a cutter or an x-acto knife. Press firmly on the ruler to hold it in place, so that the paper sheet can’t slip or move while you are doing the cutting. The key is to always use a very sharp blade, so make sure to replace yours often for optimal results. Depending on the density of the paper, you can try and cut 2-3 sheets of paper at a time.
One could make their life easier and use a manual shredder which can chop an entire A4 sheet of paper in no time. The thing to keep in mind when buying one of these machines is that you will be confined to whatever width they cut the paper strips, which is standard for every shredder and cannot be modified. One other disadvantage of these paper strips is that they have rough, dentate edges. Again, this comes down to personal preferences and I know a lot of quillers who use this type of paper strips with incredible results!
If you are a beginner, I would recommend starting with 120gsm paper cut into wider strips, like 3mm or 5mm, and then work your way down if you like. In the end, it all comes down to personal taste, so give it a try and see what you feel most comfortable working with!
I hope this FAQ was helpful and maybe you learned something new! If you have other technical questions about paper quilling, don’t hesitate to write them down in a comment and I will do my best to answer them. Stay tuned for part two, where I will be talking about glue, how to make your own quilling tool and varnishes for waterproofing the quilled jewelery!
Thank you for your visit and happy quilling!
Thanks! I’m just started quilling. Great and valuable info for us! Jacksonville, FL
You are very welcome, Maria! Please check my other tutorials: http://manuk.ro/en/category/tutorial-2/. Hope you’ll find them useful!
Hi i am neomie from India i am very new to paper quilling how to i improve my designs is there any technique
Thank you manu. Today i learn more than quilling technic. You said it right. First i use paper shredder but no comeing good paper strip. You meet after i cut paper cutter. This paper strip good. I like very much your faq. Best of luck. I am waiting part 2.
You are welcome, Ruchira! Part two will come soon, it takes me a while to write these tutorials!
Awesome!! I agree about the shredder…after getting it I have even stopped quilling as I disliked the serrated edge of the strips cut with it
Thank you, Sonia! I strongly encourage you to cut your own paper strips and quill!!! I am really looking forward to seeing new quilling projects from you!
It’s of great help for beginner like me, thank you soo much, I am great fan od your work… it’s perfect 🙂
You are very welcome, Veena! And thank you! 🙂
Manu… Thanks for sharing with us some of your ideas. 🙂 more info are welcome anytime.
You are very welcome, Ioana! The more the merrier! 😀
Nice tutorial Manuela . I am getting some difficulty is learning quillography . If possible do share some tips or tutorial for it.
Thank you, Neha! I wrote a very detailed tutorial on quillography: http://manuk.ro/en/2013/01/quillography-tutorial/. Hope it helps!
It was very helpful. Esp the tip about the GSM of the paper to be used . I guess it will make quite a difference . Will try something in quillography and will show u
I am glad you found it helpful, Neha! Do try and come back with pictures so I can what you made! I am sure it will look stunning!
Merci pour ces precieux conseils moi aussi je decoupe mes feuilles de papier comme ca on fait la largeur que l on veut …. a bientot pour la suite …
You are very welcome, Evlin! Glad you find it useful!
I was really looking fwd to this FAQ part of yours and have learnt so much from you. Basically the precision with which you cteate everything. Looking fwd to next one. Also could you answer on the different types of quilling needles and which one is the best.
I am glad you find it useful, Nidhi! I will be talking about different types of quilling tools, but not specific brands because I haven’t used too many so far. Stay tuned! 🙂
Nice tutorial, Manu!
I`m waiting for the second part! 😉
Multumesc, Denisa! Very soon, so stay tuned! 🙂
Imi place stilul deschis cu care impartasesti si altora ceea ce ai invatat/experimentat tu, Manu! Un tutorial cu adevarat folositor pentru a putea folosi o paleta de culori cat mai diversificata! Urmaresc blogul tau si astept si alte postari cu noi creatii si sfaturi! 🙂
Multumesc mult de tot, Monica! Imi face placere sa impartasesc din cunostintele mele si altora! Si mie mi-au prins bine tutorialele altor quilleri cand am fost la inceput de drum, asa ca incerc si eu sa contribui la randul meu cu cate ceva. Te mai astept in vizita!
Wow!!! Really gud. Thx for dis.
You’re very welcome, Krati!
Manuk, thank you for sharing!!!
Nati, you are very welcome!
Love this post ManuK! I also enjoy using 160 gsm, especially when designs are larger and airy. I don’t do so well with tight coils though, as it tends to split the paper.
So glad you liked it, Cecelia! 🙂 I think it mostly depends on the texture of the paper and how flexible it is. I recently experimented with paper making and, despite the fact that my paper turned out a bit fragile, I even managed to quill some basic shapes with it. Maybe I’ll write a post about it in the future!
I’m a beginner to quill.thanks for the tips.
Yester day I follow your instructions & they made easier my work.
Thank you very much Manuk.
You are very welcome! I am so glad you found my tutorial useful!
Thanks a lot Manuela for this FAQ post ,SO well explained n compiled ! I was waiting for it from long …I always wondered how you quilled with such thin strips and taking inspiration from you I bought 3mm wide strips yet to quill something good 😉 Looking forward to part 2
I am so glad you found it useful and I can’t wait to see you quill again! Maybe you should also make a tutorial for your wonderful cards made with watercolors? Just a thought. 🙂
how do u store ur paper?
Hola Manuk, gracias por estos tutoriales….. hago filigrana guiándome por las enseñanzas de maestras como tú.
Me suscribí a tu página y tengo en mi blog http://normanellisquilling.blogspot.com.ar/, tu enlace.
Feliz de haber encontrado tu página y de poder seguirte.
Un abrazo desde la Patagonia Argentina sur, sur.
Hello Manuk!! your work is simply great!!!Where can i find 120/160 gsm paper/stips online?
I am a long time quiller ,I like light weight card stock for most of my projects ,I just realized you can cut 1/8 ” strips with a pasta cutter ,I can’t believe I just tryed this ,I have been quilling for at least 20 yrs.lol
Madam,I agree with you. Can you please teach how do you make such beautiful leaves
How did u neat the rough edges of paper?
I’m really struggling to find a quilling design to use all of my 2mm strips which keep wrongly getting sent to me instead of 5mm!! Any ideas??