Paper Quilling in Japan - Motoko Nakatani

Motoko Nakatani is an avid quiller in Japan who loves teaching others. She and I first met at a convention of the North American Quilling Guild several years ago.

miniature quilled flower arrangementsMotoko's paper floral miniatures

Maggie, as she prefers to be called, was introduced to paper filigree while she owned a small toy and goody shop in Kobe. She liked the look of rolled paper so much, she taught herself and began importing quilling tools and paper from the United States and England to sell. After attending her first NAQG convention, Maggie was inspired to offer quilling classes in which she taught the techniques and ideas she'd gained from other NAQG members.

quilled chocolate assortmentquilled chocolates

Now she teaches beginner, intermediate, and accomplished classes ten days each month, and reports that interest in quilling in Japan continues to increase. Maggie is also the lead instructor for Botanical Quilling Japan, a group that expresses the seasonal beauty of plants and flowers.

quiller Motoko Nakatani

I'm grateful to have met her, not only because she's delightful, but because Maggie introduced me to my most favorite quilling tool. A little back history... my hands are sometimes bothered by a needle tool as I tend to grip it too tightly. I'd tried finger rolling, but that method didn't feel right either, and I wasn't happy with the large crimp that a traditional slotted tool produces. Quite honestly, I was thinking it was time to stop quilling. (Oh, the drama! My apologies.)

When I noticed Maggie rolling coils with a Japanese tool, I couldn't believe the incredibly tiny crimp it made. Luckily she had brought extras along in her suitcase and I purchased one on the spot.

slotted quilling tool with a very fine tip
The ultra-fine slot is set well down into the tool's handle, the ribbed area at the top provides a nice place for fingers to rest, and the white disc rotates smoothly on the palm as the tool is turned. It's a precision instrument, not an ordinary sewing needle with the eye's tip snapped off, which is what seems to define current U.S. fine-slotted tools.

quilled floral design

This is a close up of some quilling I did with the tool, using graduated color strips. Notice how teeny-tiny the marquise and tight coil centers are!

If you are an international customer and would like to buy the tool, you will find it in Etsy shop Quilling Maggie [currently not listed; see note below]. If you're in Japan, order directly from Maggie's online store, Stripe.) The tool is not inexpensive, but I can vouch for the fact that it is superior to any I've used.  


[EDIT March 2023 Motoko (Maggie) is still shipping the super-fine quilling tool worldwide, but Covid continues to cause delays. She can ship it via EMS to the U.S. for about $28. Alternatively, less expensive regular airmail has been taking about one month and does not include tracking or insurance. Contact her at to place an order.]

I'd like to make it clear that Maggie did not ask me to blog about her or the tool. This post is strictly my idea and I receive no commission from sales.

One more thing... A regular slotted tool still comes in very handy when making folded roses and rolling fringed strips.

Make that two things... If you haven't left a comment yet to enter my First Blogiversary Giveaway, it's not too late - the contest ends at midnight tonight EST. Good luck!


All Things Paper is an Etsy affiliate.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Oh those chocolates look delicious! Yum!

  2. You always have me leaving your blog wanting more! What an awesome find. "What crimp?" I said. Exquisite holes. Thanks for giving your opinion on the tool - I can't wait to try it out!

  3. Thanks, Ann, for letting us know about the fine quilling artists all over the world.

  4. the floral arrangements are beautiful!! i didn't believe they were quilled and thought they were real until i enlarged the picture!!!

  5. Her work is amazing. I can't believe those floral arrangements, they are beautiful. The quilling you did using her tool is also great.

  6. wow! so beautifull projects!!!!

  7. The flowers are great. Sweet. Congratulations.

  8. Maggie's work is amazing!!

    And you, my friend, are single handedly responsible for spreading the word about so many high caliber paper artists, quillers in particular. Thank you for that.

    I was telling my friend Jen about your blog the other day when I heard myself say "It's my favorite blog," - and I realized that's true.

    You rock, Ann!

  9. Thanks Ann, and everybody!
    Quilling is getting popular little by little here in Japan.

    I am very glad to see your comment!

    (Motoko Nakatani)

  10. I don't know how you found my blog but I am so glad you did! I love your blog! I just started quilling and I am loving adding it to my scrapbook pages!! I am following your blog so that I can learn from your tutorials! Love it! TFS!

  11. I have learned soooo much since being a follower of your site. You have shown me many new,different and exciting things in quilling, stuff I never imagined. Thank you and contnue the great and interesting work

  12. thanks ann for showcasing maggie's wonderful quilling and nifty quilling tool.

  13. Such lovely comments everyone; thanks so much for taking the time to write them.

  14. amazing work ..
    I'm hoping I can meet her this summer :)


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