The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry: Understanding Essential Quilled Paper Shapes

At first glance, the shapes used to create quilled paper jewelry can look intimidating and fragile. As author Ann Martin shows us in her book The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry, they’re anything but difficult and fragile.

At the heart of every piece of quilled paper jewelry is just two shapes, scrolls or coils. They can be used individually, combined, or manipulated into new shapes for endless design possibilities. Let’s take a peek inside the pages of The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry to find out more.


While quilling might appear complicated at first glance because of the curving loops, the shapes are either scrolls or coils. The main difference between the two is that the end of a coil is glued in place, while most scrolls do not require glue.



When a rolled strip is slipped off a quilling tool and allowed to loosen or relax, it is referred to as a loose (or single) scroll —the basic building block of many quilled shapes. It is the loose scroll that is pinched and glued in a variety of ways to create a multitude of different coils, such as a closed loose coil, a teardrop coil, and a marquise coil.

The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry: Understanding Essential Quilled Paper Shapes

Closed loose coil, teardrop coil, marquise coil.

MAKING SCROLLS: The Loose (or Single) Scroll

Because the end of a loose scroll isn’t glued, it has a curved tail. You can adjust the curve with your fingers and trim it as long or short as you like.

  1. Roll a strip with bluntly cut ends around a quilling tool (Figure 1).
  2. Slip the coil off the tool and allow it to relax (Figure 2).
  3. Trim the length of the curved loose end as desired.

Note: Despite its lacy appearance, a coiled strip of paper is quite a bit stronger than you might think. Press your thumb on a firmly rolled coil that has been placed on a flat surface and it will likely survive unscathed.


Whether you should begin rolling a coil with a bluntly cut or torn end depends on the type and size of the coil. For example, it doesn’t matter for a small tight coil because the end will barely be visible, but inside a teardrop coil, a torn end can look a bit messy. When I make a tight coil, closed loose coil, or a ring coil, I tear the far end of the strip because a torn end blends more smoothly when glued. Therefore, the coil will look as round as possible.


  1. Roll a strip with torn ends around a dowel or a cylindrical object, such as a quilling-tool handle or glue bottle (Figure 1).
  2. Glue the torn end while the coil is still on the dowel (Figure 2) or slip the coil off the dowel and glue the ends (Figure 3). (Try gluing the end both ways to see which technique you prefer.)
  3. Glue the interior end in place (Figure 4).

The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry: Understanding Essential Quilled Paper Shapes

Now that you know a bit about scrolls and coils, test your knowledge with this quick quilling quiz. Try to guess which of the following projects is made with scrolls and which is made with coils. The answer can be found at the end of this post.

The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry: Understanding Essential Quilled Paper Shapes

Can you guess which project features scrolls and which uses coils? Left: Shooting Star Earrings. Right: Loops & Leaves Pendant.

For more step-by-step instruction to a variety of quilled shapes and 20 gorgeous, quilled paper jewelry projects (all created with metallic papers!), grab a copy of The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry. And if those 20 projects aren’t enough, you can grab an extra project and learn valuable tips and tricks in this post: On a Roll.

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

Quilling Quiz Answer: The Shooting Stars earrings are made with coils and the Loops & Leaves pendant is made with scrolls (and marquise shaped loose coils).

For more from  Ann on quilling, see the following posts:

Quill paper jewelry until your heart’s content with The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry!