For free birthday cards with an elegant flair, it’s hard to beat quilling. This art began during the Renaissance when nuns started creating lovely designs with strips of paper. They mainly used the trimmed gilded edges of books and rolled the strips around quills. The rolled strips could be modified to form several different shapes, including spirals, hearts and a marquis.
Once enough coiled paper strips were collected, these were assembled into patterns and glued onto paper or sometimes other surfaces. In the 18th century, the art became very popular among European women of noble birth. Examples of quilling exist on several different types of objects. Picture frames, tea caddies, cabinets and even purses sported the lovely ornamentation.
To make a quilled card, begin with a design that incorporates simple shapes. Flowers, butterflies, leaves and geometric patterns make wonderful quilled pieces. Paper already cut into the strips comes in many colors and is inexpensive. To make the card completely free, cut strips from paper already on hand. Old magazines can provide a source of paper for this craft.
Most public libraries will have at least one book on quilling. The technique is also described at Wickepedia.com. Look for ideas in books taken from the library, and choose a design and colors that reflect the interests of the person who is having a birthday. Use Elmer’s or craft glue that will disappear when dry to keep the design attractive and neat.
This is a craft that requires time and patience, but with practice it is possible to develop a respectable amount of skill. The recipient of a quilled card will be impressed with both the care and time invested and the beauty of the design.
A quilled card may be done on solid paper suitable for framing, with a birthday sentiment added in graceful script. A crafter who has calligraphy skills can create a particularly elegant card. Or print the sentiment before creating the design and use one of the many lovely fonts available for the computer.
To create a quilled card, you will need:
Strips of paper in appropriate colors
Backing paper that is sturdy enough to support the design
Pencil to draw outlines of a design
A template, compass or other drawing aids
Ideas from books
A work surface that allows the card to be undisturbed
Time, patience and love
Assemble everything you will need at a handy table with good lighting. First draw the design lightly on the backing paper. If a folded card is desired, write the salutation inside the card before quilling the outside. Print or write the sentiment for the card.
Curl one strip at a time, secure the end with a tiny dot of glue, and place quills on the design. Create all quills that will be needed before gluing any in place. This will ensure that enough quills will be available to complete the picture.
When pleased with the overall design, glue each quill in place. Allow to dry thoroughly before the card is disturbed. Place the card in a small box instead of an envelope so the quills do not become crushed, and tie with a slender ribbon.
Even a person who does not draw or paint can design an exquisite quilled card for a special loved one. Keep the design simple enough to ensure success and use compatible colors for a pleasing effect. These free birthday cards will be treasured for years.