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Friday, May 07, 2010

Tutorial: Quilled Monogram Letter

If you haven't checked out the work of Yulia Brodskaya, which I first saw on Cake Wrecks, click this link NOW. Seriously, you will want to look for hours.

I was so inspired by her, I knew I wanted to create a monogram, ala Yulia's amazing work. Quilling takes patience and some time, but the skill needed is pretty minimal.

This is my end result:

I'm thrilled with it. Utterly thrilled. It's hanging above my stairs and will be a focal point for the entry way.

Ok, supplies needed:
Colored Paper (I used scrapbook paper because it's what I had on hand, but quilling actually works much better with non-textured paper)
Print Out of Outline of Letter
Craft Knife
Mod Podge
Scrapbook Paper Backing
Medium Painter's Brush

Step One:
Print out an outline for your monogram. You can do serif or sans serif. I choose a serif font called Lucida Fax. Print it out in light gray (or a light color to match your paper). Your goal is to get this to disappear. (Your word processor should have an option to change the font to outline. Usually it's under the text effects or similar heading. You want no fill and a small weight outline, if you have the options. In Microsoft Word 2010, it's under the home tab, and next to the highlighter tool.)

Step Two:
Pick a color to go around your letter and cut out 1/4" strips of paper. I needed three to go around my letter.

Step Three:
Start measuring and folding your paper, using your print out as a guide.

It's important to be completely accurate. I made a tiny mark, then used my quilting ruler to fold it up.

Keep checking as you go to make sure you're getting the turns right, but don't glue until you finish a whole strip of paper. It also works best if your seams are at a corner, so cut it off cleanly when you can't make any more lengths. Once your length is done, go ahead and glue it to the paper. To do this, use a paint brush to put Mod Podge just inside the lines, then press your paper into it, holding it for a bit. Work slowly and use the corners as anchor points.

Oh yeah, another tip. Wash your hands thoroughly before beginning and if you step a way for a minute. It's so easy to smudge this up that it's worth being a little fussy about clean hands.

Once you've got the outline done, it will look something like this:

I think you could stop there if you wanted, but I love the swirls, so I'm going to keep going.

Step Four:
Cut a bunch of 1/4" wide strips of paper in four or five colors or shades. I needed about 4 strips of each color for my design.

The basis of quilling is making paper rolls. The best way I've found is to bend the paper slightly with your finger to get a curve, then roll up as tightly as you can around a needle. Keep rolling past what you would need. Then trim off to the size you want. To get the pretty arcing rolls, sort of pop the rolled up paper (after it's off the needle) and let go quickly. If you need to roll it up again you can.

Step 5:
Start working on the design, doing a dry fit, making rolls as you need them.

Once you like a section, glue it down. It's best to pick up the roll of paper, turn it over and apply glue to the bottom with a brush. Then press into place, hold for a few seconds and then let go. I use a pair of tweezers for more accurate placement. When doing the longer, not-as-rolled pieces, make sure to put some glue on the side that will butt up against the monogram sides, and not only the bottom.

Step 6:
To make the swirls look they cross the monogram outline, use small arcs of paper. Dry fit to find the right size and arc, then glue down, making sure to line it up with the end, so it looks like one continuous piece.
Mine a bit more done:

Keep going until you like the look. After you finish, brush the whole thing lightly with Mod Podge. My quilling all done:

Step 7:
Mount on a piece of scrapbook paper and mat with strips of paper, if desired. Pop into the frame (without the glass) and hang.

The frame I got at Savers and it was $5. It looks pretty good after some spray paint. The paper was free, since I used scraps of my scrapbooking paper I already had around. So, my total cost for the art? $5 and a little spray paint and some paper scraps. Sweet!

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