May 22, 2016

Paper Quilling a Bird - Video Tutorial and Greeting Card Pattern

Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial and Pattern - Greeting Card

Last year, I was surprised to realize that many people are intimidated by quilling because it seemed complicated, or needed much practice to acquire the exacting results, as well as a whole shelf of new tools or materials. When one searches for examples of quilling coils, many boards and charts appear. Rather than seeing the board as a helpful dictionary, it can seem more like a confusing map with no “start here” sign.

Since then, I gave it much thought, and wanted to design a pattern to make paper quilling less daunting. I broke down the steps and used materials that were easier to handle. Essentially, I wanted to make a CIY greeting card kit that could be completed quickly and easily. Yes, that’s not a typo; CIY stands for Cut-It-Yourself, a phrase I’m coining. I love my electronic cutting machines (first a Silhouette SD and now a Cricut Explore Air), so why not have it cut all the pieces I need? Plus you won’t have a rat’s nest of supplies left over when you’re done.

Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial and Pattern - Inked Edges

Here is how my new design is so pioneering:
  • If you don’t have a quilling tool, that’s good! I used a crochet hook, but you can use a skewer stick or something similar.
  • You don't need a ruler because your cutting machine will cut the exact length needed, including the perforated fold marks – simply follow along the template provided.
  • Instead of the usual light weight paper, the bird is quilled out of card stock (Bazzil Sour Apple).
  • The strips are 1/4” in width, double what is typically used for quilling, which I hope makes the strips easier to handle. 

Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial and Pattern - Materials

All the elements I used are listed in my YouTube notes, and included in the PDF menu file that comes with the package.

Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial and Pattern - Accessories

After someone has accomplished their first quilled item, they then ask what they should do with it. If they are new to card making and paper crafting, it can seem overwhelming to now also figure out a layout. All the elements seen here are supplied, so as long as you can import SVG files, you’re set to go.

Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial and Pattern - Box

Of course, after the card is all done, the next question is how to protect the card before giving it away. I've designed a box with a peek-a-boo window, and it’s assembled without any glue! I think it’s my misspent youth folding origami that made me challenge myself this way, but somehow I get a thrill feeling the box flaps lock in place.

This project is groundbreaking not only in the way it’s made, but also in the fact that I’ve never shot my own video before. After becoming an instructor with Craftsy, I realized I simply had to put my shyness behind me and step up to bat. My nephews rolled their eyes at me when I admitted I didn’t know how to YouTube – good thing I didn’t fess up I somehow made 3 accounts by accident along the way. There was much to learn about how to film, add music, edit, even uploading. It was all new to me and I know I'll improve on my next one, but for now, I'm simply thrilled to have come this far and push myself into new territory.

I hope you’ll spend a moment to watch my first video and let me know what you think, especially if you’re new to quilling. I want to keep improving, so please comment or email me at paperzeninfo (at) My hope is that many who are tempted to try quilling will discover it's not hard as it looks. 

My new Paper Quilling a Bird Tutorial can be found in my Etsy shop.


  1. thank you for the step-by-step. I have always wanted to quill, but never got past purchasing the supplies. This video has changed all that.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! That is EXACTLY what I'd hoped for - to inspire newbies to just try quilling! Please do let me know how it goes!

  2. Loved this card! The pare bird is looking very pretty. Will definitely give it a try. Lately, have been quite busy in finding best lofty spaces for hosting a DIY crafty party for my daughter. Actually her birthday is coming and she demanded this party.