Sweet, sweet curiosity.

This blog is all about things I have made. You can find intense embroidery, paper quilling mania, crazy gingerbread houses, masks, puppets, steampunk clothes, ornaments, wackiness and sculptures on this site. So have fun and check it out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paper Quilled Monogram - Letter M

With the incentive of learning a new craft, I chose a partner for a craft swap that wanted a paper quilled monogram.  As I have never done this before, I tried it out with my husband's and my own monogram.  I am greatly influenced by Yulia Brodskaya, an amazing illustrator and paper quilling artist who's work I am in love with.  I am going to tell you how I did it!

Pick a font - I really like Anderson Four Feather Falls ( I got this from a free font site) so I decided to do it with that font.

Print it out - As I didn't want to really see the lines when I was finished with this I lightened the font colour to a very faint grey, then I printed it out on an off white card stock. 

Cut out your quilling paper - So I went looking to buy quilling paper, but I guess this is a specialty item in which my craft stores didn't sell. No matter, I went and bought some paper, which wasn't terribly expensive ( 4 dollars for 50 sheets with 5 different colours in each package) I then began cutting them into 1/4 inch strips. I believe traditionally the strips are 1/8 inch, but my little paper cutter wasn't meant to cut pieces that small, so I went up to 1/4 inch thick. The paper I could find in the colours I liked was thicker than normal quilling paper, in fact it is a thin cardstock. It was either that or ugly colours so I went with the cardstock and tried my luck!
 Shape your Letter outline - This is the part that is the trickiest and takes the most work.  As you can see from the letter M below, I made a clear outline of the shape with paper. I did this by putting the paper on edge against my printed outline on my paper and bending the paper to fit that shape.  I have read in more than one quilling instructional that you let the paper do the work not the glue, meaning that you shape the paper exactly as it should be and it stays quite marvelously.  You don't have to fight the paper, you just gently curve and straighten into place. At the hard corners, I used needle nose pliers to ensure I was in the exact right spot before clinched the paper around the corner. Using the plies really helped me get the shape exactly right. It's also realllllly easy to twist the paper in ways you don't want to so when curving corners making sure that the paper is still 90 degrees to the base is important.  The other thing I would recommend is "dry" shaping the entire letter before beginning to use glue.  I found that you need the entire paper free in order to make all the twists and turns to make your letter, so if you glue something down you are limited a bit. 

Glue it down - Once your outline is figured out, I used a toothpick to put a little bit of PVA glue on to the edge of the paper.
 Curving the paper - In order to make curves and spirals I used two techniques. I ran my hand tightly down the paper much like you would do with scissors when decorating with ribbon.
 The other technique for tighter spirals is to wrap it tightly around something round.  I used a toothpick! There are fancy tools in order to do this, but I don't have money for those and also I am just trying this out, so I don't like to invest in a craft until I have given it a couple of tries to see if I like it! Basically you want to wrap this tightly around the toothpick, ensuring that you are holding it tightly and focusing on the paper rather than the toothpick.  You also want to be sure that it doesn't travel back and forth as when you glue this down onto your paper, it may lift. 
 The picture above is of a loosened spiral, you want to wind them much tighter, it was just difficult to take a picture while doing it, so this is a spiral I have let go of a bit.
 In order to get different tightness of spirals, you may have to let some of the spirals out a bit by pulling out the centre of the spiral. I like a bit of a looser spiral so most of mine are like that.
 Filling in the letter - I feel this is kind of like doodling. I wanted mine to have more of a wavy type feeling to it so there were a lot of really gentle curves and a couple spirals here and there.  I put spirals on the outside of the letters ( clearly a decision influenced by Ms. Brodskaya) continuing lines that were on the inside of the letter. I used some tweezers for the hard to reach spots, but I think this went rather well!
 So that's what it looks like when it is finished. I am in the midst of making another letter, P, when I am finished I will post it up here. I will also be making a C and an R for my swap partner, but I won't put those pictures up until she receives it.

If you aren't in the mood to make this yourself - I can make one for you! I sell Custom Quilled Monograms on my Etsy site, so there ya go!


  1. Very nice! I think using cardstock worked to your advantage as it stands better on edge than typical quilling paper. Looking forward to your next letters!

  2. oh thats coollll and can we make the quilling papers using cardstocks :)

  3. Can i pay u to do the letter C for me lol i really want one & i tried doing it a few times cuz i know it would keep me busy while my husband is in Afghanistan but mine does not turn out so great lol im not crafty at all!! but i would seriously pay u, if u would do something like that. Please email me if u are interested nreeves08@gmail.com
    Nikki Clements

  4. I think this is so incredibly cool-but I can't think of how to use it in my decor. I do think my neice would like one in her bedroom and then perhaps he dorm room. They would be great in fancy bakeries or wedding design applications.

  5. You did a beautiful job! The colors you picked work great together. I'm also a fan of Yulia Brodskaya's work, everything she does is SO beautiful. Thank you for sharing how you did it, this is inspiring me to attempt quilling myself, and not just be amazed by works on the internet. Hopefully mine will turn out as well as yours!

  6. wow your fabulous , cuz I don't have colourful paper at home (I am going to go tomz and buy it ) I tried doing it with normal paper and its starting our well but lets hope it doesn't break

  7. These are awesome and your directions are super clear....... and i just saw that you're from stratford......... me too!! (Originally, now i live in ottawa)