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Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute Quilling - Quilled Trinket Boxes

Here is a cute idea for a last minute gift, and you probably have all of the supplies to make it right in your quilling supplies. You will need a whole package of 1/8” strips to make the top and bottom of this little quilled trinket box. Start by making a tight coil using a full strip, add a second strip by slipping it into the coil about 6” from the end of the first strip, continuing to add strips until the coil is the size that you want. (I use approximately 20 full strips to make a 2” tight roll for the bottom.) Glue the end of the last strip down and flatten the coil and coat the bottom with glue. (I like to coat the bottom, where is doesn’t show, so the paper doesn’t get a “shiny” look). Repeat the process to make a top for your trinket box, then gently shape the top into a sculptured roll and coat the inside of the top with glue. I like to do the top and bottom of my boxes in the same color and then use a contrasting color for the “sides” of the box. I use a strip of paper about 11” long and 1 ½” wide for the sides: I usually cut a strip from one of the accessory packs, but any paper will work. Roll the strip into a ring coil, glue the end of the strip down and then glue to the bottom of the box. I make the sides a little smaller than the bottom so a lip shows. I also make a ring coil to glue in the top of the box using a 1/8” strip, this ring coil is slightly smaller than the ring coil used for the sides. This is just to keep the top from slipping off the box. You can add a small tight roll to the top of the box for a handle. Now you can have fun decorating your box, adding quilled designs to the sides and top. These would make adorable hostess gifts or table favors; they would also make great shower or wedding favors.
If you have problems with large tight rolls, there is a tool called the curling coach which is helpful, although with a little practice you can do them just using your fingers. I learned the technique of adding strips as I was rolling from Jane Jenkins. I was surprised at how easy it is. When I first started making large tight rolls, it was to make a chess set from a kit. This was probably 25 years ago. It was suggested to glue the strips end to end. I can’t even tell you how much harder that was. I would get six or seven strips rolled and somehow loosen my grip on the whole thing and end up with a twelve foot tendril! Try rolling that up again! Sliding the strips in as you roll makes the whole process so much easier and the resulting coil is nice and smooth, not lumpy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pat's Quilled 3D Christmas Tree & "Pattern"

We’ve had a lot of inquiries lately about the quilled Christmas tree on the web site. The tree is at least 20 years old by now but always causes people to stop and look at it. I thought it was time for me to write down some general instructions for those of you who would like to make one. When I first started making Christmas trees the only green available was the bright Christmas green. I prefer a darker green, like a forest green or hunter green, but that is a matter of personal taste. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how much paper you will need because it will be determined by the size of the tree and how loose (or tight) your quills are Just be sure you have plenty of green so all of your paper is from the same dye lot. (I actually spray painted one of my trees because the greens didn’t match. YUK!) The tree is very simple to make. I started with a 4” circle cut from card stock for the base; I would normally use a dark color for the base but have started one on a white base to make it easier to see. My first row of quills was 6” teardrops which I glued (pointy side out) around the circumference of the base. My next row was 3” tight rolls which are glued on top (toward the back) of the teardrops. The rest is easy . . . just keep alternating rows of teardrops and tight rolls. Each row is glued farther back than the one before; the shape of the tree just comes naturally. You can make the tree in any size; mine are usually about 6” high. If you want a smaller tree, start with a smaller circle; for a larger tree use a bigger circle. The tree “trunk” is tight rolls (I use at four full strips to make them sturdy) stacked and glued together. You can make these with 3/8” strips so you don’t have to stack so many. Glue the “trunk” to the middle of the card stock base and then glue to whatever you are using for the base of the finished piece. (Mine is on a wood base that came with a glass dome.) I made my trunk about 1 ¾” high because I put little paper packages and quilled figures under the tree. The fun part is decorating the tree. I made lots of tiny bows from 1/16” wide paper. The candles are tight rolls made from ¼” paper strips about 1/12” long. Glue a bow to the candle base and put a 1” shaped teardrop for the flame. I use 12” strips to make little bells from silver paper (the new metallics are much prettier than what I used) and glue a bow to the top and a matching “clapper” inside. I also added some little yellow stars (using 5 one inch teardrops), Christmas balls (using 18” of paper is different colors), folded roses, and made red and white candy sticks by twisting the two colors into tendrils. This is my favorite type of tree, although I have also made some Victorian trees and decorated them with fans, hearts, roses, candles, and bells. Hmmm . . . maybe it’s time for new tree!