Handmade quilling dolls: Little Miss Rosy and Sweet Old Grandma

Learning new forms of art and craft is a beautiful way to live your life. It acts like a repellent to the negative thoughts that generally stem from an empty or disturbed mind. After getting a hold on the basics of quilling, I realized these could be applied in many many creative ways to build new stuff. I stopped planning on any creative or craft based projects, I decided to go impromptu!

There are quite a few stationary stores in my area, and I hardly visit them. This time I did and there were some quilling strips in amazing mix of colours. Usually, I plan what I can make from them but this time I put a brake on my over excited brain. I bought quite a few packets with interesting colours and stored them in my craft drawer. Yes, I have one now! 🙂

Paper by itself is just a plain one-dimensional sheet, but when it is moulded in different ways you can create the world with it. There are so many beautiful ways to create a 3D world using paper: Origami, Paper-mache sculptures, Paper cutting, Quilling, and more. I chose the most easy technique from all these and that is quilling. Here are a few posts where you can learn to make miniature paper roses and paper flowers in a vase, and some ethnic paper jhumkas.

With knowledge of basics one can make miniature dolls too. When I was scouting through all the colours I had, there was a big bunch of flesh-tinted strips that said, “Make a little doll from us!” And, strangely so, there were beautiful colours for little dresses too, so that was it. I decided to apply all the basic quilling techniques into making a paper doll.

For the below dolls, I’ve made four units – one sphere and three conical shapes (the technique is the same as the one used for making the vase and the jhumkas shared in the earlier posts). Stick a couple of miniature roses on the doll’s  headband and some frills across the neck using the daisy flower making technique. I added some frills on the sleeve ends and the skirt ends.

Quilling dolls
Little Miss Rosy

For sweet old grandma, I wanted to do something different with her hairstyle and dress. Unlike little Miss rosy, she cannot have flicks in the front. So as you can see, grandma’s head was painstakingly covered in spiral strips from side to side, giving the look of curly hair tied into a bun. The same technique can be used to make a weaved basket too. (I made one, but gave it away along with the dolls without clicking a picture.)

quilling doll green
Sweet Old Grandma

Also, grandma has short puffed sleeves ending in frills. This is just a first try so maybe there could be better dolls in the future.

Useful Tips: The only thing that will spoil the final look of your doll is balance. If little Miss Rosy and sweet Old Grandma can’t stand properly on their own, that would be a sad story. So, take pieces of thermocol and stick it inside the cone shape of the gown/dress. This will add some mass and also give it balance. Add little shoes if you feel like it, or leave it at that.

Also, about the sphere of the head. Before joining the two half cups stick thermocol pieces on both side and keep a tiny pebble in between. This will always ensure the head is weighed down on the body and help in making your figure stand straight!

Good luck and Happy Quilling to you!

Handmade Quilling Jhumkas

Midlife crisis had set in bad, but it left me good. This year has been one of learning and discovering the little joys of life. Now I know what the wise ones meant when they said, “When life gives you scraps, make a quilt!”.

When life gives you scraps, make a quilt!

So here I am making little pieces of craft from M-seal and now quilling paper strips. I started first with learning to make a paper rose and then one thing led to another and I ended up learning more types of flowers and 3-d quilling too. Quilling is a simple paper craft technique with many applications.

Here a few pictures of the jhumkas I made in the last few months:

quilled jhumkasHow to make them and useful links:

For the jhumkas, I referred to this video tutorial on YouTube.

The materials you will require from the craft shop, apart from quilling strips, are: fevicol, quilling/paper varnish, eye pins, jewellery pins, earring hooks, beads, stick-on beads, pearls, stick-on pearls. You will also require a plier and a wire cutter to attach your handmade jhumkas with the hooks, these may be available at the craft shop or you can easily find these at a hardware shop near you.

Match paper colours with the outfit you will be pairing it up with. Experiment with the number of strips and add different colours to create 2-coloured or 3-coloured jhumkas. Add a nice shine by brushing it on with the paper varnish, this also makes your jhumkas water-proof and strong, apart from adding the finishing touch. Decide what you want to create and make a list before you enter the craft shop. Or else you can just have fun. Like I did!

Here are some variations, because what’s life without some masti! Here I stuck on some craft rope on the jhumkas with fevicol, and another white one is covered with the off-white stick-on pearls. My nieces are calling these party wear jhumkas!

quilled jhumkas

When life gives you quilling strips, make a jhumka!

Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted and otherwise manipulated to create shapes which make up designs to decorate greetings cards, pictures, boxes, eggs, and to make models, jewellery, mobiles etc.


Quilling miniature paper flowers in a vase

I just loved the experience of quilling miniature roses; it is quick, fun and happily satisfying. I explored further into making miniature flowers using quilling paper and tried to make a vase instead of a pot this time. Now there are quite a few little flower pots and vases in my home!

Here are some pictures of the miniature flower vases, with the leaves and some fancy variations: from up close, a little far and on the table.

quilled flowers

How to make them and useful links:

To make the quilling flowers, I referred to this basic quilling YouTube tutorial.

For the vase, I made two hollow pieces, the top one with a hole like a doughnut and then pulled it up longer. In the bottom pot, I put a tiny pebble so that it can balance all that weight. Then I filled both the pieces with little rounded thermocol bits and stuck them together using fevicol. For the stems, I used a thin metal wire I’d bought from the craft shop earlier and attached it to the flower with fevicol.

When things have all dried and your vase is balancing well, you can add a nice shine to the flower vase by painting on some quilling varnish. You will get this bottle from any craft shop; it makes your paper water-proof and strong, apart from adding the finishing touch!

Good luck and happy quilling!

Quilling miniature paper roses and a vase!

The Saturday has been particularly uninteresting, but I have gone back to an old interest of mine – pencil sketching! A few Saturdays back, I wanted to dabble into some paper quilling, but didn’t know how to go about it. What paper, tools, and skills go into making a nice piece of paper quilled art? Will it take too much of my time and more importantly, will it be worth learning?

But then, I said, “Let me just have fun!”

So, here are two tiny little pots with roses in them, created entirely by quilling paper. All you need is quilling paper, a little block of thermocol, some paper pins and fevicol, and you are good to go!



Some helpful links:

To make the pot, I used the jhumka making technique and then flattened the bottom. Here’s the YouTube tutorial for it.

To make the roses, I referred to this YouTube tutorial.

Quilling: Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted and otherwise manipulated to create shapes which make up designs to decorate greetings cards, pictures, boxes, eggs, and to make models, jewellery, mobiles etc.

My personal tip: Use thinner paper especially for roses as it is very difficult to keep folding reverse with thick paper, as you can see in my roses. Also, it is better to buy the mixed quilling sheets costing Rs. 30, these usually have pink, red, yellow, peach, green and more in the same packet.

All the best and have fun!

Some art & craft to the rescue!

It’s been ages since I visited this space last. The thought that I have reached the middle ages and yet not found contentment in my life or the meaning of this existence, was too overwhelming and left me with a scary feeling. But, like they say, courage need not roar and so, I made feeble attempts to face the clear and now present. “If not now, then when?”, I said to myself, almost feeling like the last warrior fighting the lonely battle all by himself!

And, again, like they say, ‘art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’, I surrendered to my creative pursuit in art and crafts. I can admit it’s true; art indeed is a very fulfilling activity and apart from helping you while away your wasteful hours, it charges up your worried and scared grey cells with new positive energy. You end up using your brain for what it is meant to be used for – creation.

I started with M-seal knowing fully well that my first and supposedly last project with the epoxy resin from Pidilite, was a disaster. Still, it left me with two vital lessons – a) mix small quantities so you can work on it before it gets hard, b) Break the form into little areas that are manageable, beforehand.

M-seal art

I bought the small packet for ten rupees at the local hardware store; now that’s not too much of an investment for a scared beginner like me!

The big question was, what do I make of it? Little people with varied expressions? Miniature forms of the seven wonders? Cute dolls or grotesque monsters? Dropping all these ideas, I chose something simple, something which I could do with confidence, some topic that always fascinates and cheers me up – flowers. I decided to make little roses out of them and stick them onto some thing – but what?

A few days back, we had ordered a ‘Handi Biryani’ from the speciality North Indian takeaway nearby. The Biryani was average but the pot it came in, was very ‘handy’!! I cleaned it up and voila, it was all ready to be painted and decorated with golden roses. Now you get the picture?!

m-seal art

Liking what I saw, I looked for more things to decorate. There was a square, wooden box with four little square compartments inside. Those had mini cupcakes in it once, a Diwali gift. The box was painted a dark brown and instantly decorated with the m-seal roses and then sprayed with some antique gold dust.

m-seal craft

By then, the contents of the ten rupees packet were over, and I felt so much contentment in this simple creation. Time to move over to some other craft, quilling maybe 😉

Sculpture time with M-seal!

As I begin to write this, I can see my M-seal creation winking at me. The online resource said M-seal dries in an hour but this blob defied all laws of epoxy resin and dried up in 40 minutes. The 20 minutes denied to me were the most tormenting 20 minutes of my life. It would have been an ideal drying time had I used it for concealing leakages. But I was moulding it into a mother-child shape! Here it is for your grand wonderment, my first M-seal assignment and also hopefully my most amatuerish!

When you buy M-seal from the hardware shop, you will get two oblong rectangles of a soft moldable substance packed separately. It is basically epoxy resin and I am not its friend yet. You can learn more on the internet like I did but remember it dries up within 40 minutes. One is dark gray and the other is pale olive green, but when you mix the two, the mixture starts getting a darker tone and eventually turns into a warm black mass.

While you are kneading the two blobs, you have to be quick with your design judgement. As soon as the dough turns black, it also turns very soft and malleable. Begin moulding right away if you intend to make a one-piece structure. But if you want to create seperate little design elements to be then joined together or stuck/hung/beaded into something, then I would suggest to mix only that much as is required.

My orignially intended sculpture was very different from what has shaped up but I’m happy I ended up wiser on this learning curve. In half an hour, I had managed to knead that black blob and create the required shape. Just then I got worried my sculpture won’t stand without a tough base. So I created a flat cylindrical base and tried to attach it with a metal nail to the main body. The nail got stuck midway through the body since it had solidified at the core by then. I gave up pushing further and decided to pull out the nail. But the base had solidified by then. The next 10 most precious minutes were spent in pulling the nail out and patching up the hole it had created.

That was about it. My M-seal project came to an end as I struggled to give it a smoother finishing. The mother-child formation, very obstinately to my liking, chose their shape and stuck to it. No matter how much I pushed or carved, it didn’t change a square millimeter. Perhaps I have to start being friends with this epoxy resin creature, to really get a hang of its likes and dislikes and get myself thoroughly acquainted with its mood swings if I were to ever create an awesome shape with it.