What kind of paper is used for quilling?
Quilling paper should be of a thick enough weight to hold its shape and provide a stable finished product. It should also remain flexible enough to be easily rolled and shaped during the crafting process. Most standard paper can be used for quilling, but the slightly heavier text-weight paper is usually the best paper.
Want a little more detail and advice? Here’s what you need to know about what kind of paper is used for quilling and how that paper affects the craft.
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What kind of paper is used for quilling?
There are three main kinds of quilling paper available to beginners: premade strips, regular printer paper, and text-weight paper. These are separated based on the weight of the paper. Ideal paper weight for quilling is between 20 and 80 lbs.
The weight of the paper is the measure of its thickness. This measurement, labeled in pounds or grams, is the weight of 500 standard-sized sheets of that variety.
Paper varieties include Bond, Book, Text, index, Bristol, and Cover; each type is the standard for a different industrial or commercial use for paper.
Most quilling paper is considered a book or text paper. As the name implies, this is the paper typically used for printing books. It’s relatively small in trim size, and so the weights range from as little as 20 lbs. to as much as 80 lbs.
Premade quilling paper
Many craft stores sell premade quilling paper. Premade quilling paper comes in bags of precut strips, meaning that you’ll get consistent sizing across your quilling project. It also makes completing the task much faster, as you don’t have to cut the strips by hand.
This paper is usually relatively lightweight and easy to roll and glue. It comes in various colors and sizes suitable for nearly every project.
Unfortunately, using precut paper limits your ability to control and individualize the strips according to your design.
Regular printer paper
If you want to go extremely basic, you can use regular printer paper – also called writing weight paper – for quilling. It’s readily available and easy to cut and size. This paper is usually about 20 lbs.
You can also get paper of similar weight with patterning and gilding. Packs of designed paper are usually sold with scrapbooking supplies.
Unfortunately, printer paper is extremely thin, making it difficult to roll and can cause it to lose its shape relatively quickly.
Text weight paper
Text weight paper, a middle ground between printer paper and cardstock, is thick enough to hold its shape while thin enough to roll easily and pinch into a particular pattern. It’s stable enough to do a longer-lasting project.
This paper is slightly more challenging to find, though it’s widely available online. It can also be difficult to get long strips of it, as it’s usually sold in letter-sized sheets. It’s generally between 60 lbs. and 80 lbs.
Paper to avoid when quilling
You should avoid using cardstock or heavy weight paper when quilling. Most quilling projects work best with paper weights between 20 and 80 lbs. Therefore, you should avoid heavier paper that is more rigid or requires scoring to fold.
While it offers incredible stability, cardstock isn’t an excellent choice for most quilling projects. It’s cover paper, a larger standard size, so the weight is measured differently.
Cardstock can be too thick to roll effectively, potentially leading to a bent and bunchy mess. This makes it more challenging to use in a project, but not impossible.
If you do decide to use cardstock, you’ll need to work with a looser spiral or larger design. It’s best to avoid cardstock when you’re just starting in quilling.
You’ll also want to avoid heavy-weight papers like that used for greeting cards and such. They need to be scored before making a simple fold, so they are not conducive to shaping. This kind of paper is designed to hold its shape through the postal system.
Though it technically counts as paper, it goes without saying that extra-heavy weight paper – think chipboard and gift box paper – is inappropriate for quilling and will also not work correctly.
How quilling paper affects the quality
Though it’s often overlooked, the kind of paper you choose for your quilling project can have quite a lot of impact on the finished product, from the ease of its construction to the piece’s integrity over time.
The kind of paper used in a quilling project can determine its finish, the amount of detail it can hold, and how long it holds its shape overall. Quilling paper can be bought in different weights and widths depending on the project being done.
- Most quilling projects will be done with 1/8-inch strips of mid-range weight paper. This will hold its shape well and last quite a while if well maintained.
- More complex projects like miniatures may require thinner paper – such as printer paper – and thinner strips. These projects tend to be challenging to shape, require more precise tools and better glues, and are fragile.
- More significant pieces, like flowers, tend to require mid-range weight paper that’s cut into thicker strips, up to about 3/8-inch. They may also call for heavier paperweights such as cardstock and usually last quite long.
How to choose the right quilling paper
Choosing the right quilling paper will depend heavily on your project. Assess the level of detail you’ll need, any patterns or gilding you want to incorporate, and the time you’ll have to do the project.
Choose a paper that’s appropriate to the level of detail and the size of the project – the smaller and more finely detailed the project, the lighter and thinner your paper strips should be.
Consider any details on the paper as well. Gilding will add minor weight but may impact the paper’s flexibility. Patterns will need to be accounted for when orienting your paper as well.
Embossed paper tends to be thicker than standard paper and may work well if you want the added texture.
For particularly picky projects, you may consider cutting your own strips to have as much control as possible over their size and shape. If, however, you’re in a time crunch, consider getting precut strips locally. Order online only if you can account for shipping times.
You may also choose to combine paper types; use a heavier weight for the base of the project and lighter weight for the finer parts or the parts that require more shaping. Be sure that the glue you use is appropriate for all materials involved.
Summary: What kind of quilling paper is best?
As you can see, most quilling paper comes in paper weights between 20 and 80 lbs. Quilling paper can be purchased premade, printer paper, or as text weight paper. Avoid using heavy weight paper, like cardstock as it can be difficult to shape.
Quilling can be a gratifying pastime. It’s relatively simple and produces a beautiful end product you can be proud to show off. Choosing the right paper makes quilling all the more fun and enjoyable.
As long as you consider the paper’s weight, detail, and scale, you’ll be sure to end up with a quilling project you’ll love.