Quilling—Filigreed Paper Designs


Experiment with the age-old art of paper filigree, also known as quilling. It’s now easier than ever with revolutionary Crayola Shaper Paper™! Curl thin strips of paper into shapes and assemble them into decorative designs.


1. The art of quilling, or paper filigree, may date back to ancient Egypt. During the Renaissance, nuns and monks used this art form to decorate important documents. Quilling is a 3-D version of illuminated manuscript! Examples of quilling are found in museums around the world and contemporary artists continue to create stunning pieces.

2. Quilling uses long, very thin strips of paper that are rolled into coils. Many variations of shapes and methods of simple curling are incorporated into modern quilling. These directions will get you started.

3. Begin by preparing a sturdy base for your quilling. Cut Crayola Shaper Paper™ and foam board in the same small size. Cover your craft area with newspaper. Brush an even coat of water on one side of the paper to activate the adhesive. Press the wet side on the foam board. Use your fingers to smooth out the Shaper Paper from the center out. Air-dry for about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cut lots of thin strips of Shaper Paper, varying from ¼ inch (.6 cm) to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. You may find it easiest to practice your first few coils with ½-inch (12 cm) strips. Pinch one end of a strip around a wooden toothpick and wrap the entire strip around itself. Hold the tightly wrapped coil in your fingers.

5. Dip a brush in water and press it on a paper towel until the brush is barely damp. Dampen the outside end of the paper strip. Hold the coil until the adhesive sets (about 5 seconds). This basic shape is called a tight coil.

6. When you roll a coil, instead of attaching the end to the tight coil, allow the strip to pop open. Then activate the adhesive to attach the end to the outside of the circle. This is called a loose coil.

7. How do you make other shapes? Pinch one end of a loose coil while the adhesive sets to create a teardrop.

8. By pinching more than one spot you can make LOTS of unique shapes! Create several different sets of at least five shapes.

9. Tips: Put shapes together in different combinations to create other shapes. For example, alternate teardrops to create a straight line. Put teardrop points together to make a circle or flower. Or place two teardrops next to each other for a heart! Experiment with other effects such as swirls of strips, fringing one end of a coil, zigzag or other folded lines, and flattened coils. Attach short coils to taller ones for even more 3-D effects. Shaper Paper adhesion is most effective when flat surfaces are joined with very little water.

10. Try several combinations and designs until you are satisfied with a presentation that fits on your base. Dampen an area of the base in the shape you wish to attach. Gently press the piece on the tacky base. Hold it in place for about 30 seconds. When possible, set down several pieces at one time so that you can hold them together until they set. Gently dampen the edges of quilling pieces that touch other pieces so they stick to each other, too.

11. Continue adding pieces until your design is complete. While this art form takes time and patience, it is definitely one that you can proudly display!

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Add color, designs, and/or textures to papers with Crayola Mixing Mediums, Paints, or Markers before or after cutting into strips or coiling.
  • Try quilling with Shaper Paper and a traditional slotted quilling tool! You’ll love the ease of the tool AND this revolutionary paper!
  • Enlarge a picture on a very large grid. Each student completes one grid square with quilling. Display your group project.
  • Try quilling with traditional quilling paper and glue. Compare how much easier it is to use Crayola Shaper Paper for this art form!
  • Assessment: Students are successful if they roll at least five different design shapes, make at least two combinations, and assemble them into a unified image.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

Share on Facebook


crayola supplies
  • Arts & Crafts Brushes
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Shaper Paper
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • toothpicks - wooden
  • paper towels
  • container(s) of water
  • foam board



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students research traditional paper quilling designs.

  • Students demonstrate understanding of the process by producing at least five different types of quilled design pieces and two shape combinations.

  • Students display their comprehension of composition by creating a unified artwork with quilled pieces.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards