Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quilling Paper Teardrop Earrings and Book Review of "The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry" by Ann Martin

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

For years, I've been tempted to make paper jewelry, but for some reason haven't taken the leap. Then along came Ann Martin's book, The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry, and BAM! You know what that's like right? For me, it's a weakness behind the knees and an impatient twitch of the fingers. Although I don't wear earrings, I know a few people who do, and immediately embarked on a new adventure in paper.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

Each project in Ann's book starts off with a concise list of materials, shapes, and finished sizes so there are no surprises. The steps are illustrated and I highly suggest reading the beginning chapters to familiarize yourself with the basics. Although I've quilled for a while, there are many techniques and knowledge bombs specific to jewelry making, such as handling 3-ply quilled paper in Chapter 2.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

I have been SO curious about a Mandrel Set for eons, and finally broke down with this oh-so-valid justification. The mandrel's sizes are not marked, so I measured and wrote each width on the rings. Since the mandrels are plastic, the quilling paper won't stick to it if any excess glue seeps out. Although it worked adequately, I found it tricky to slide the finished coil off without disturbing the overlapping layers. It'll still come in handy for the other shapes anyway, since a template won't work for a triangle, for example.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

I actually found it easier to allow the coil to relax within my dollar store circle template. This allowed me to glue the inside end, then pick up all the coils with a tweezer and glue the outside end closed. Look closely and you'll see a small adhesive foam square under my dollar store template to raise it up to about the middle of my strip, keeping the coil well constrained. I also like ensuring my edges are all aligned, and found it easier to keep the edges even while it's lying flat on my table.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

Ann made her earrings with black quilling paper with a metallic gold edge, but since I already had a Brilliance Galaxy Gold ink pad, I decided to try it with regular quilling paper. This way I could dab both sides of the earring so there would be no "front" or "back". 

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

The coils tended to move a bit while getting dabbed by the ink pad, so I pressed the earrings on a Post-It Note and voila – they behaved!

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

I tried my Post-It Note technique while testing with both Mod Podge Dimensional Magic and Aleene's Paper Glaze, because both are not very thick, and liquid tends to make the coils swell out of shape. I dabed lightly on top with a paint brush, then followed up with a thin brush between the coils to allow them to set in place. Perhaps I was too impatient and removed it from the Post-It Note before it truly set? In any case, the coils did swell a bit, but I think a non-quiller will let it pass. 

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

Here is a 3-ply test strip, with Aleene's and Mod Podge on top. Look closely to see the original Brilliance ink pad sheen in between. Even though both coated the sheen well enough, they worked better for thick strips as shown rather than the thin coils with the teardrop shapes.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

Finally a reason to shop in the jewelry section at Michael's! I hope you'll let me know what you think of my earrings in the comments below. The friend I plan to give it to loves green and gold. I also dabbed the ink pad very lightly around the outside edge of the paper, creating an organic speckle, which I hope mimics antique metal.

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

New and advanced quillers can appreciate Ann's acute attention to detail. Her impeccable care is evident in all the photos of every project. I'm just itching to try the Blue Bubbles because it seems like pure fun and easy to do!

Quilling Paper Jewelry Earrings

And just look at this divine Petal Power necklace. It's zen-like quality beckons the eye to keep admiring the delicate blossom. I'm so happy Ann's book, The Art of Quilling Jewelry is in my library and pushed me off the ledge of hesitation.

DISCLAIMER: Although I was given a copy of Ann's book, my thoughts in this review are my honest opinion.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Quilling Paper at the Night Market

Quilling Paper How to Glue

While visiting the Richmond Night Market this year, I was shocked in my tracks to see a package of quilling strips.

After surprise, my next reaction was dismay at seeing the image on the front - a blatant copy of Usokei's (formerly Iron Maiden) original and inspiring beauty. You'd think anyone who was selling product could at least make something original.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Flower Box Card for Thanks and Birthday

flower pot box card paper crafting SVG Cricut Explore Design Space

Gift cards are great - one size fits all, and they can choose what they want. But how do you personalize that ubiquitous gift card? For me, unwrapping a gift a part of the fun. Well, I guess I mean wrapping it up for someone to unwrap is THE funnest part of all! I just love seeing them gasp and ask if it's all made of paper. I love it even more when my card is the chosen one to stay on the shelf when all the others get tossed.

My nephews wanted to give their teachers an appreciation gift, so I designed a box card that also has a pocket for a gift card.

flower pot box card paper crafting SVG Cricut Explore Design Space

I had so much fun making the box card that it was an obvious choice for my friend's birthday card too.

flower pot box card paper crafting SVG Cricut Explore Design Space

Then a neighbor helped us out on a chore so my card has served us very well for so many occasions, and yet each look so different simply by changing the paper it was cut out of.

It folds up and fits neatly into a 5x7 envelope and looks so dimensional when it pops up! Here's a trailer for it (full assembly video is found in the download link after purchase):

It's available in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Paper Cactus and Pot - Party Favor Gift Box (SVG Files)

paper cactus succulent party favor gift box svg cutting file Cricut Silhouette

I'm in love. Tingling fingers, butterflies in the stomach, and one-track mind kind of love. I feel this way when I come up with a new paper concept. I forget to eat until what I've been thinking about non-stop is in front of me, and then I even take it to bed and sleep with it next to me on the night stand. Then I hold it in my hands and turn it every which way.

paper cactus succulent party favor gift box svg cutting file Cricut Silhouette

Sometimes a concept like this takes months for me to iron out the kinks. My paper cupcake was like that – I had to take numerous breaks because I just wasn't happy with the lid and couldn't share it with the world until it was ready to be seen.

paper cactus succulent party favor gift box svg cutting file Cricut Silhouette

This time for my paper cactus, it was so different. I made just one mock up for the cactus and nailed it on the second. I love the way the contrast of sheer vellum allows light to pass through it, accenting its fragility. Yes, the spikes are painted (both sides) and it took some time, but I really didn't mind. They're like building blocks and then when I see the twisting lobes of leaves culminating in the centre – it's just exhilarating. I even went to the extreme of printing sandy soil for the cactus to grow out of.

paper cactus succulent party favor gift box svg cutting file Cricut Silhouette

Then came the pot. I have thought long and hard about how to make it round - truly round AND of course it had to have a lip. And yet my paper creations still must serve a purpose! So of course the bottom can open and store a secret gift inside. Again, this was nailed after one mock up and I sat there shocked it was done – a paper pot without folds or creases to mar its smooth curves.

paper cactus succulent party favor gift box svg cutting file Cricut Silhouette

For me, this is poetry. Does anyone else go nuts like this? What makes you forget to eat?

My paper cactus is in my Etsy shop and the SVG files will be sent automatically after purchase. Here's a trailer for you to watch beforehand.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mario Birthday Card - Free SVG and PDF Files

My eldest nephew turns 17 this year and enjoys video games, so I thought I'd make him a bitmapped Super Mario birthday card, cut out of paper. He likely has no idea what low resolution images are really like, since he's never played a 16 bit video game. Yes, I'm THAT old! Hello Asteroids and Pac Man — so what's old is new again.

I like using textured paper and the way each color layer overlaps one another to give Mario life. Some of the small pieces are welded together to make it easier to glue. Take a close look at his blue overalls.

I like printing on metallic card stock because it makes the colors look metallic too. The free font I used is called Millennia by Fonthead Design. I took a sheet of 8.5 x 11 inch paper, trimmed it to 5.5 x 11 inch, then folded it in half to 5.5 inch square, and glued Mario in the middle – he's perfect for Instagram now.
I'm giving away my files so make your own Super Mario birthday card. Please comment below and let me know if your teen is impressed by their card – I love hearing about it! There are two versions for you to download:

  • SVG file for electric cutting machines such as Cricut Explore, Silhouette with Design Edition Software, Sizzix...
  • Printable PDF for hand cutting

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Quilling Ribbon - A Space Saving Tip

I hope you all had a recharging time over the holidays to tackle new creative challenges in 2017. I have been taking a break from online activities, as I'm focused on a new large project – details to come.

After boxing up all the festive decor, I'm left trying to cram left over ribbon in the same space I had before. Anyone else have that problem? Have you ever used up the ribbon and then looked at that empty, airy spool wondering why it needed to command all that room in your drawers?

I turned several spools (above) into concise, petite space saving bags (below). 

I think even Marie Kondo would approve of my efforts! These clear zip lock bags let me see exactly how much ribbon is left. As I pull on the ribbon, I keep the opposite hand pinched at the closure to keep the disc in place yet able to turn. There isn't any wasted space and I can fit so much more ribbon in a tiny space.

And the tool I used to turn space wasting spools into colourful compacted discs? My slotted quilling tool of course.

If you've used your quilling tool for more than just quilling, share your ideas in the comments!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Paper Quilling Letter E

how to paper quilling letter monogram tutorial typography

Try, try, and try again. Just so everyone understands – this is not exactly "easy". However, just like any quilling project, it's really quite amazing when you're done, so it's worth the effort. Just as Goldilocks critiqued, the first E's vertical strip on the left was too short, the next was too long, and the third seemed just right.

The paper I used is Canson Mi-Teintes (160 gsm) cut to 1/4" width. 

If you'd like to try quilling this letter, download my free PDF template by subscribing to my e-newsletter, and give it a shot. I even filmed a video showing the entire process. I'm still new to filming videos, so if you like it, I hope you'll give it a thumbs up and leave a comment so I can keep improving.

Thank you all for being a part of this learning process with me. All your encouraging blog comments, likes, shares, and follows feed energy back to me.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quilling Small Letter - Work in Progress

Paper Quilling Letter E

Hi all, I hope your summer has been as blazing as mine has been.

This is a quick post to show you a glimpse of what I'm working on right now. This quilled letter E is about the size of a thumb tack.

I started with a length of 3", 1/4" wide, cut from Canson Mi-Tientes paper, which is considerably thicker than standard quilling paper.

I may need a new set of eyes when I'm done this new typographic poster. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Animal Place Cards (Lion, Giraffe, Elephant, Duck, Bear) in SVG File Format

Elephant Animal Place Card for Birthday Party or Baby Shower

I now have matching place cards to go with my set of party favor gift boxes I made years ago!

Animal Gift Box or Party Favor for Birthday Party or Baby Shower

The animal gift boxes were the first die cutting pattern I created in 2011. Has it been that long since I've been in love with my cutter?

Animal Place Card for Birthday Party or Baby Shower

They're perfect for baby showers or birthday parties because it's so quick to assemble, using a minimal amount of material, yet giving maximum impact.

Giraffe Animal Place Card for Birthday Party or Baby Shower

Here's the back side of the place card. All 5 animals, Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Duck, and Bear come in a set, available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Review of "Paper Quilling a Bird"

Whenever I am writing patterns for others, I try my hardest to be in their shoes. I ask opinions and for others to test before I make my patterns public, and am constantly asking for feedback to improve my next pattern. Here is a review of my first YouTube instructional video and pattern of "Paper Quilling a Bird":

The video for quilling a bird greeting card with a box is a great way to begin learning how to quill. Seeing each step is easier to follow than written instructions and the thicker card stock is much easier to handle than the usual narrow paper strips. The gluing tips and methods to keep the paper even helped me with my problem of messy glue spots showing and uneven edges. I like the friendly casual tone of the video "Hey, you got a good hold there." and the pattern is fun and cheery to see after it is completed. The box was a little tricky. The tabs from the top needed a little help to insert into the bottom openings. I have done some quilling before but I still learned useful tips from this video. Seeing the steps would make it easy to make even for a beginner, I think.

Thank you so much for sharing your work and thoughts with us JM!

Watch the video and learn how I make the airy quilling coils – I'd love any feedback so I can keep improving! The pattern can be purchased here in my Etsy shop.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quilling Love Birds Anniversary Card

quiling bird anniversary greeting card

My friends celebrated their 15th anniversary recently, and this is the card I quilled for the love birds. I didn't have time to capture the entire process, but thought I'd show a bit of how I work anyway.

Instead of using standard quilling paper, I decided to cut them 1/4-inch wide out of Canson Mi-Tientes paper, using an electric cutting machine (such as Cricut Explore or Silhouette Cameo / SD). I enjoyed quilling with the substantially thicker paper (160 gsm), and I really liked how all the colors went so well together, especially how the colors are earthy without being drab.

To create the tiniest coils, I used a quilling needle, but I always pre-soften the paper strip beforehand to soften the fibers.

As you can see in the video, I am using a crochet hook to rub the paper into the shape I want for the dragonfly. I prefer using the greater circumference of a crochet hook rather than a quilling needle because I want a gentle and soft curve. A quilling needle could also be used if you prefer.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you enjoyed this video, please do take the time to give it a thumbs up.

... and a shot of my messy desk after I'm done a project.

quilling, card, bird, messy, paper

Thanks for watching!

Cecelia Louie
Paper Zen