How to Make Miniatures With Quilling

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How to Make Miniatures With Quilling
Miniatures such as chess pieces and dolls can be quilled from paper coils. (chess image by Sergey Goruppa from

Quilling, or paper filigree, is the art of rolling small strips of paper into coils then pinching the coils into various shapes. These shapes are then glued together to make objects and scenes that are often mounted on cardstock for framing. Quilling miniatures involves creating rolled-paper components that are glued together to form freestanding, three-dimensional objects such as small dolls. You can also quill chess pieces, miniature flowerpots and flowers and just about anything else you can think of. Many patterns are to be had, and kits are also available that contain the pattern as well as the materials to make quilled miniatures.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Miniature pattern
  • Quilling tool
  • Quilling paper strips
  • Clear craft glue
  • Toothpicks
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Read the pattern directions all the way through before beginning. This will help you understand the end result and also to make sure you have all the materials you may need for the miniature project. Pay attention to what colours you want for your miniatures.

  2. 2

    Make all the components according to the pattern. This will usually involve rolling the paper strips around the needle-like portion of the quilling tool into tight coils. The coils should have a specific diameter. It is useful to use a quilling board to ensure proper diameters of your coils. The board has a series of different-sized holes that are slightly recessed. You place the coil in the desired diameter hole and let it conform to the size before gluing it.

  3. 3

    Glue the ends of the paper strips down to the coil to prevent them from unrolling. Apply the glue with a toothpick. Some patterns require that you glue some paper strips end to end to create a very long strip to roll. This creates a coil that has a greater diameter.

  4. 4

    Shape the coils if the pattern requires it. This is done after the glue has dried. Gently press the coil onto your fingertip, the end of a knitting needle or other rounded surface to create a convex shape to the coil. This is usually done for heads of dolls.

  5. 5

    Glue the coils and other components together according to the pattern directions. This usually involves stacking them to form bodies, arms and legs for dolls. Another method for making bodies and body parts is to slightly offset the paper as you roll it, creating a cone shape. The pattern will describe the directions for these parts as well.

  6. 6

    Make other shapes according to the pattern directions that will enhance your miniature. For example, scrolls of paper can be used for hair, a circle of paper folded in an accordion pattern can be used for an umbrella, loose coils pinched into teardrop shapes in various configurations can be used to designate chess pieces, and so on. Again, the pattern will contain these directions. Glue these shapes on and your miniature is complete.

Tips and warnings

  • You can find free quilling patterns online or you can purchase quilling books that have excellent patterns in them. Some books are devoted entirely to miniature patterns.
  • Embellish your miniatures using your imagination. Once you get the hang of the techniques, feel free to deviate from the patterns.
  • Do not apply more glue than is necessary because if excess glue seeps out it can glue the paper coil to the work surface. Also, excess glue appears as messy residue on completed miniatures.

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