In my living room I have a great big sideboard. Something like this. (Image from Google)
It is absolutely crammed with projects that I’ve been meaning to get to. Some things have been in there for years. Like the weaving kit I was working on. One of the other things in there is the contents of a Makerly box from several years ago.
Makerly boxes are a monthly craft subscription box which comes with just about everything you need to make a project in a certain craft. I decided to try this box out and got myself a few a while ago. The bath bombs I made last year was a Makerly kit.
In October 2018 I got a box to wrap up and stick under my Christmas tree – I love having things to open on Christmas day. It was this Sugar Skull quilling kit. Which I opened, looked at, looked forward to doing, put in the sideboard and forgot about.
Inside the kit there was almost everything you need – it was just missing a pair of scissors.
There’s quilling papers, a slotted tool, a shape template board, tweezers, pins, glue, a skull template, backing cards and a photo frame.
I started working my way through the little instruction book. The first step was to cut out the skull shape and glue to a backing card. Then to glue a strip of paper around the edge for the border.
This was really difficult. Not the cutting out part. Getting the edge of the paper to stick. The instructions do say you can skip this part. So after a long time of trying and failing I moved on.
I made the small tight circle that was the next step.
And I put an unglued coil in the template board to relax into a loose coil, the moved it to a shape to turn it into a teardrop.
It was whilst gluing that teardrop closed that I realised that using the glue dispenser wasn’t necessarily the best way. Right when I squeezed glue all over my fingers. So I put a blob of the glue on a scrap of paper and used a pin to apply it.
Next I tried to turn a sealed loose coil into a shape by hand. Following the instructions on the guide.
Now it was time to look at the back of the book, and the extra tips it provided. The first was to use half a strip to make smaller shapes. This worked great with the tight coils, and with a hand-shaped eye.
But that loose green coil was meant to be a heart shape.
It wouldn’t settle into the shape though. I thought perhaps I’d picked too big a heart so I had a go with that smaller heart. That seems to work better. And I hand-shaped a moon with the other half of the red strip.
The next tip on the back was joining two shapes together to make another one.
With my first attempt the two teardrops turned out different sizes. But the purple attempt worked better.
The final tip was to put a closed coil inside a larger shape to add some texture. I made a tight black coil. I coiled a piece of green and tried to loosen it up enough to fit the black inside but couldn’t get it to loosen properly and it ended up looking odd.
After working out all the techniques, it was time to move on to actually making something. The sugar skull was pretty, but not really my style of thing. I have hundreds of ideas stored on my laptop, but I wasn’t near my laptop at the time. So I had a quick scout on Pinterest and picked out two fairly simple ideas.
I wanted to make all the pieces first, then put them together. The ducks were easy. Just a teardrop shape and a circle, with a little orange strip folded for the beak. Then I went to start with the owl’s eyes and realised that the kit had no white strips.
I’d been thinking about doing one of my dome monsters somehow, and had an idea of how to include that with the ducks. I made some more shapes, and then drew out a little outline on some backing card.
Then I glued everything in place. I learned a lesson about making sure I glue the right side of the shape – especially with the water curls. I learned that the paper folds I’d intended to do the beaks with were just as bad as the border – mostly paper edge – and I couldn’t get them to stick. I ended up cutting teeny tiny triangles and gluing them flat. I used a hole punch to cut a circle of white card for the catchlight of the dome monster’s eye.
But I’m really happy with it.
By now I had a handful of little shapes, and some strips torn from the block that I made into more random shapes. What was I going to do with them?
With a little more Pinterest searching I found a trend for taking a silhouette and filling it with different shapes to make a pretty abstract piece.
I liked this idea and drew out a C on card, cut that out and glued it to another piece of backing card. Then I glued on all the shapes I had made.
Obviously there’s still a lot of space to fill in, but that had to wait until I got home. I was on holiday with some friends at the time.
By the time I got home I’d done a whole load of research online, because that’s the sort of person I am. I’d found multiple reference images of all the different shapes you can make.
And I’d collected lots of little images that I wanted to try making.
First though, I had to finish my C. I remembered that I had a bunch of quilling papers and things in a box somewhere in the bedroom amongst the millions of crafts supplies I have.
I played with those for a while, making some more shapes and trying some new techniques that I’ve found in my research – like looping the paper around a lid to create a strong open circle, and using multiple colours in a coil.
Then I rolled a LOT of loose coils, from the old papers and the new ones…
…and I turned them into a lot of different shapes. I filled in some of the space in my C, then realised that there was still a lot of space. So I made more shapes. And then I made teeny tiny shapes and coils with just an inch of two of paper to fill in the smallest gaps.
Eventually I had my piece complete. And I decided I didn’t like the backing card. So I cut the shape out carefully – it was a lot easier to do on the outside of the curve – and re-backed it. I put it in the frame that came with the Makerly kit, and voila!
It’s been sitting on my desk for a while now and hasn’t fallen apart yet, so I must have done at least a semi-decent job.
I’ve done some more experimenting with quilling, and bought myself a couple more supplies. But I’ll save that for another blog post.