Jun 29, 2014

Quilling an Easy Letter Monogram

One question I'm commonly asked is how to make a quilled monogram. When someone is new to quilling, it is daunting to make such a large customized project, especially when they want it to be done in an afternoon.

Rather than tackling how to outline a letter (an advanced technique I plan to discuss later), I want to show a quick and easy way to make a monogram for room d├ęcor. This letter M has been covered by 3 types of quilled dots/circles. You can certainly minimize the design with a single type, but I wanted to show various ways of making circles out of quilling strips.

Before cutting my materials, I gather them to ensure they go well together. Here's what I used:
  • Green patterned paper from DCWV Doodlin' Around Stack
  • Metallic bronze card stock from Stardream
  • Orange paper from Daiso (a local dollar store with Japanese items)
  • Light blue quilling strips
  • Ikea 9x9 picture frame

Choose any font you wish, type your letter at about 4.25" high, and print it out. The font shown here is TeX Gyre Bonum, Bold, with a size of 450 pt. Staple it on top of your card stock to prevent the papers from shifting as you cut.

Tight Coil
To make these solid dots, I used 3.5" long strips and started my needle tool partway down from the top edge. Rubbing my fingers as if I'm removing dried glue, I roll the paper up and around the tool. If the paper doesn't catch around your needle, moisten your fingertip. After applying glue to seal the end, push the coil off your tool. At this stage, I can see my edges are not perfectly aligned, so I place the coil on my work surface and use a flat item to squish the coils completely flush. You will see a solid coil on top, while the bottom has a tiny hole.

Loose Coil
To make the Loose Coils, I curled a 3.5" strip around my tool and released it within an 8 mm (about .25") diameter circle template. I place adhesive foam beneath my circle template to raise the template about midway up the paper strip, keeping it more easily fenced in.

When I swipe up a dab of glue with my needle tool, it's usually facing one direction. See how there is a clean area on the opposite side? Look at the previous photo again. You'll see I use this clean section to push my coils out of the way before dabbing my glue on the end. I usually have tissues nearby to clean off my tool each time. Toothpicks could certainly be used instead of gunking up your tool, but I prefer not interrupting my flow by picking and putting down my tools.

To make the large circles, I found using the circle template harder than wrapping around a solid object, in this case, a Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive bottle. The circle on the left is just a tad out of shape. Perhaps a lipstick tube would work too – anything with a plastic surface allows me to slip the finished ring off more easily.

To start, I scraped a 5" length strip. The top left in the photo above shows what a scraped coil looks like. I ended up with a circumference of about 16mm or .5". The size does not have to be exact, just whatever you have around that makes a larger circle.

Wrap the coil around your object to eyeball a general length.

You don't want glue on the innermost ring - just the length after that. I used a UHU glue stick to smear the adhesive rather than liquid glue.

Wrap the strip around your object, trying to keep the edges aligned.

While the glue is still moist, slip the ring off and use either your fingers or a flat object to gently press the rings flush. Actually, I rarely use my fingers, but each time I took a photo with a flat item, it covered up the quilling, so bear with me! Flush edges always makes your work look neater.

Then I slip the ring back on the glue bottle to allow the glue to fully dry, so I can achieve a perfectly round ring. 

I drew, then cut a giraffe and had intended to use matching bronze coils on top, but found them too distracting from the monogram. Instead I used 1/8" and 1/4" hole punches to punch matching bronze dots. I have used my punches for years and noticed the edges are not as clean as I'd like. To solve this, I put my paper in between two sheets of scrap card stock. Being sandwiched makes my bronze paper cut so much more cleanly.

After gluing the dots on my giraffe, I flipped it over and placed adhesive foam squares on the back. I enjoy the subtle shadows cast when an item is lifted off the page.

Make as many dots and circles as you need, and place them on your letter. To keep things random, I cut one of the large rings apart and glued the two sections in different parts of the letter.


Before gluing everything down, I suggest getting up from your chair and taking a break. Give it a day if you can. When you come back, you may see a different way of laying out the elements. I find myself subconsciously placing elements in the middle, so I keep playing with it until it looks random enough.

I plan to make this tutorial into a free downloadable PDF so it's easy to print and have by your craft table. The strips will all be pre-measured for you, as all my quilling patterns are. The giraffe will also be included in two ways - both as a pattern to cut out on your chosen paper and as a colored printable to save time. The eyes and antlers can get a bit tricky to cut, but you can replace it with any animal you prefer.

When the PDF tutorial is ready, I'll come back here and update this post. If you'd like to be notified immediately (or if you'd like to receive news this way), simply join my newsletter.

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I've now completed the PDF file with measurements, instructions, photos, and giraffe template. I hope you'll leave a comment on my blog if it helped you make a customized project for your loved one!


  1. Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Pritesh! I'm lucky to have many nieces and nephews in my life!

  2. The giraffe indeed is very cute and love it how you did everything from scratch and yet such effective results..Love it! :)

    1. Hello Priyanka, thanks! I'm thrilled you've enjoyed my giraffe and instructions! :D

  3. Another fantastic tutorial Cecelia - I love the way you explain everything in such a concise yet detailed way. The hint and tips you give are really helpful, as are the photographs. Your project is wonderful, I love circles (probably because I am always going round in them!?! LOL) the little Giraffe is so cute - how can something without a visible mouth look like he is smiling!?! Brilliant project, thank you for sharing it with us. xx

    1. Karen, you are such a cheerleader - thank you! I've been getting better at describing what I do, thinking about what I'm doing in smaller steps, and it's comments like yours that keep me inspired! And the smiling - all to do with the eyes!

  4. Thanks again, Cecelia. I love reading your posts and getting to know your ideas. Lovely monogram.

    1. You're the sweetest Suganthi! I'm tickled to have captured your attention! :D