How to organize messy quilling strips

This "before" shot is so typical of our quilling supply box, isn't it?

Here it is all cleaned up (on the right hand side). Past blog readers may recall my quilling storage box custom made to fit my Ikea drawers. After inheriting Aunt Berni's quilling supplies, I realized I didn't have enough spare room in my box and needed to condense it in my existing box trays.

So I removed the dividing walls on one layer and used thumbtacks to make those strips behave! This is a version of the thumb tack quilling storage method I've done in the past too. So how did I wave a magical wand to make this happen?

Sadly it's not that magical - just a lot of patience, which we quillers know about first hand. First I separated all of one color.

One by one, I lined up the ends of one side. If they were really unruly, I'd trim them. Then I pinched them with reverse tweezers (bulldog clips work too) and applied glue across all the ends. I have worked in a small print shop before and this is how note pads are made – on a much smaller scale of course. Allow it to dry completely.

I never trash small strips even at 1" in length because they are super handy in a case like this. I wrap them around the tidy end first, and slide it toward the messy end, aligning as I go. It reminds me of those paper belts wrapped around stacks of money.

As you can see, I used two such bands here but some may need three if it's a larger amount of strips or really wavy. Then I proceeded to crimp/glue the opposite ends and allowed it to dry.

Some strips may have glue remnants after much usage. Just look at the amazing quality Aunt Berni's strips had in the 70's! Not only was the glue thicker, but some also had a membrane of thread. They don't make them like they used to.

Using scissors, I trimmed the overhanging glue ends. After amassing these little bundles of similar colors, I glued the whole thing yet again to another strip of quilling paper to give the whole thing more substance and strength.

Working one end at a time, I re-glued all of Aunt Berni's strips together again. I did not choose to treat the opposite end the same way because she had varying lengths of paper, just as we do today when buying from different venders. Using thumb tacks, I attached the neat end to my foam core and working one batch at a time, tacked the opposite end until they became a tamed lion's mane.

I still like my binder method of storing leftover shorter strips, but I was on a roll by now and decided to try doing it to this as well. Hubby thinks I'm nuts, but actually I didn't want to mix up her slightly thicker strips with my contemporary papers. Oh admit it - it's more inviting to quill with now right?

What storage or organizational methods do you find works for you?

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        U P D A T E
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After asking my readers how they organize their quilling strips, I heard from Julia from Latvia. Coincidentally, she had just finished her rainbow of supplies and wanted to share her colorful method. Her main requirements were to access any color immediately, and to not have any loose strips flying away.

She decided to use binder clips and a portable drying rack to view her collection, while allowing her to retrieve either a single strip or the whole pack. She hopes to label each binder clip with the color number to make re-ordering easier.

I admit I wish my drawers were deeper so I could view all my strips at one time. Way to organize Julia! Thanks for letting me share your idea with other quillers!


  1. Wow, that certainly must have taken awhile, but the result is certainly worth it!

    1. It sure did Honey, but I don't watch much tv, so I just did two things at one time and it went by quickly. And yes, it feels so good to have an organized stock now.