This 2" thumbnail is from my sketch book. At first I had planned to make quilled teardrops surround a letter shape, then remove the letter and allow the negative space be the monogram. Then I realized the Cut-Coil technique could be something better to experiment with.
I do enjoy the stately look of serifs, and placed my previously made cut-coil flower gift tags underneath a letter E to help imagine how it might turn out. I felt the serifs would cut into the flowers too much, so opted for a sans serif font instead. The one I chose to use is Amaranth, Bold, at 500 pt (a free font from Font Squirrel).
After cutting it out of card stock, I turned it upside down to add "plinths" made of quilling strips I trimmed in half widths. This made it the perfect mid-way height to fence in my quilling – not too high or low.
After making solid coils and gluing them to all the corners, I dabbed the circles with Zig 2-way glue. When it's dry, it allows me to place my letter onto my work surface and keep it in place. When I'm done quilling, I can remove it without leaving a mark. I will sometimes even use it for my quilled pieces when I'm not sure of the placement but need to keep the elements tame until I'm ready for permanent glue.
Although I tried to make a video to explain this process, I haven't quite figured out all the technical kinks so am going to re-iterate my process a bit more fully here again.
Using fine tip tweezers, I pushed the coils toward the end of the outermost ring. Then I pinched the opposite side. I snipped through all the layers and have my cut coils.
Placing a finger lightly on the coils, I separate them one by one using tweezers.
Here are all the components I had anticipated using for one large flower.
Starting with the inner coil, I glue the smallest cut pieces all around it. I simply keeping picking up the smallest pieces, rotate the flower until the petal appears to fit well, before gluing permanently. As it comes in contact with the letter, I flow around it.
When I first imagined the challenge of how the petals would interact with the letter's outer edges, I had assumed I'd want to cut the flower petal midway, to make it appear to be peeking from behind the letter.
However, after removing the E, I realized that's the wrong look completely. I now plan to remove those snipped petals. How did I remove glued quilled items?
I lay an x-acto knife it on it's edge and slowly slice into the glue, separating the paper as best as possible.
The paper fibers on my surface are ruffled up, so I use the other end of my quilling tool and slide it over my surface to smoothen it out. I do plan to glue a full petal in this space, so the residual marring won't be very noticeable.
Here's the next stage where the E is taking more shape.
One student at my quilling demo the other day admitted she was hesitant to start quilling even though she had wanted to for years. I was surprised because in my mind, it's just paper – not a huge investment. However, at the beginning of this I was hesitant in case it "didn't work out" and feared investing my emotional disappointment. In fact, I was assembling the flowers without gluing them to the surface, which took excruciatingly long to do – just so I could move them around until I had the "perfect" spot for them. I made 3 flowers this way, then gave up or else I'd never be done. Now I have a much better appreciation for her tentativeness in trying something new. In the end, I realize the only way to learn if this was going to turn out was to simply "do it"!
I'm often asked how long it takes me to quill a project. It took 3 weeks to reach this stage in between my job and life. I often start a timer at the beginning of a project, to record a true time, and I've never successfully remembered to either shut it off when the phone rings or turn it back on after dinner.
Does anyone else have a method of tracking time that works for them?