Thursday, 4 November 2010

A strong argument for quilling

Paper filigree work always looks so delicate that people are often dubious about its strength - especially when it comes to purchasing quilled jewellery. Well, believe me, quilling is actually a LOT stronger than you may think - and I think this story proves it:

One of the craft producers at our Friday market has been making some desk-top pen blocks.  These are made from polished wood with an angled hole into which you can insert a pen. He asked me if I would like to collaborate with him by making some quilled motifs to decorate the blocks of wood. Naturally, I said yes!

The motif shown here is the one I created to decorate the first pen block, like this:

(I've just placed the motif in position here to show you.)

Unfortunately, when I tried to attach the spray-varnished motif to the polished wood with PVA glue, it wouldn't stick! I experimented with other types of Super Glue, but these soaked into the quilling strips, leaving unsightly marks. So then we decided the best way to go was to attach some backing paper to the wood block first, so I could stick the motif to that using PVA. All went well, until I noticed that the paper had started peeling away from the wood block a few days later. Well, to cut a long story short, our experiments with different types of glue are still continuing. BUT - and this is the point I really wanted to share with you - despite all these failures, the quilled motif itself has survived intact!

After the backing paper peeled up, I literally ripped the motif away to try and rescue it. There was nothing gentle about this - I simply tore the paper off the back. And the motif is just fine, apart from one slightly squished white coil on the right hand side!!

So, quilling (once it's varnished) can obviously survive all manner of ill-treatment. I'll never worry about the strength of my quilled jewellery again!


  1. It's amazing how something so delicate looking can be so sturdy. That's a great idea of putting the quilled motif on the pen block.

  2. Thanks, Ann. We've solved the glue problem now, so stand by for pen block mark two!!

  3. That would be a lovely present for someone and I agree, quilling is stronger than it looks. I'm experimenting with different varnishes, glues and glazes at the moment. Which spray varnish do you use? Does it yellow at all?

  4. Belinda, the spray varnish I use is called 'Colourfull Arts Clear Lacquer' - it's a UK product, made in England, so don't know whether you'll be able to get it or not? Anyway, I've found it to be very good, no yellowing and it's not too heavy either.

  5. Thanks Philippa, that one isn't available here, unfortunately. I will keep testing some others here.



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