Quilled Spill Tutorial

A quilled spill... funny name, but there really is such a thing. This life-sized branch was shown in my first quilling exhibit a couple of summers ago - the long, tapered stem is an example of a spill.

Quilled Blackberry Branch
Quilled Blackberry Branch

I don't know how the name originated, but can tell you that googling "rolled paper spill" mostly results in paper towel references (no surprise there!) but also gives the olde English definition - a piece of wood or rolled paper used to light a fire.

So how appropriate it is to use quilled spills as birthday candles!

quilled candles on birthday card

Recently I made a card for another one of our nephews (remember this quilled owl card?) who was having a birthday and snapped a few quick pics before heading to his party. Can you guess what I was intending with the design? The curve is supposed to be the top of a cupcake. Too abstract for a three year old? Or even an adult? Righto... I was afraid of that.

quilled candles

Spill Tutorial

1. Begin by cutting a square of light to medium weight paper of any size. As an example, the candles were made with 2.5 inch squares.

rolling a paper square on a sturdy wire to make a spill

2. Roll one corner around a stiff, sturdy wire (a cake/muffin tester will work just as well). You might find it helpful to begin by roughing up the corner a bit with your fingernail. This breaks the fibers and softens the paper.

3. Roll the paper firmly to the opposite corner and glue the end in place. The more tightly the paper is rolled, the stronger the spill will be.

Quilled Spill

4. Trim the angled ends. I chose not to cut the flame end, but it's just a matter of personal preference.

The flames are 3 inch quilled teardrops. Metallic gold-gilded paper adds fire-like shine.

What's very neat about spills, besides their versatility, is how incredibly strong they are. In additions to branches and candles, they can also be used as the spokes of a wheel, ribs in a hand-held fan, soda straws, or lollipop sticks. I hope you'll give them a try sometime - and I'd love to see what you make!

Recommended quilling and paper craft supplies can be found in my Amazon shop.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. You had me at blackberry branch! Few things in life are better than berries...

  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [19 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  3. Oh! The branch is so lovely! I have never tried to do something like this before, but I think I might give it a whirl! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Have you tried this type of work with handmade paper?
    Thanks Ann!

  4. ps
    I really appreciate you including a link to my blog on your awesome blog! I wanted to let you know that I renamed my blog "Green Post" and am focusing my blog on my work with paper. Your blog is a great resource to me.

  5. Thanks everyone!

    Kendra, I haven't tried quilling, or making spills specifically, with handmade paper, but I'm pretty sure it would be fine. Just work with the paper first by rolling it by hand a few times to soften it a little. I just made the name change for your blog btw - thanks for pointing that out to me!

  6. Now that looks like something I can even manage to do. I love it, so cute

  7. Love the blackberry branch!

  8. Ann!!! The blackberry branch is amazing and your idea is amazing. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  9. I discovered your blog through Dude Craft and now I'm a frequent visitor. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing and for re-igniting my love of paper quilling.

    Your art is lovely!

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial. I can't wait to try this technique.

    That blackberry branch is amazing!

  11. Ann,
    What a exquisite piece of quilling in the blackberry branch!I love your nephew's 3 year old card, it's very clever!

  12. A very cute card! And I just love the intricate leaves on the blackberry branch! It is exquisite!

  13. The blackberry branch is beautiful! Thanks for sharing this technique.

  14. Iam a huge fan of your work. The black berry branch is too beautiful for words. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the tutorial.

  15. I spent half of my work day looking at your blog.
    This is impressive, really! So much useful and interesting information, so much Beauty at one place!

    Thank you!!!

  16. You all are so nice - thanks very much for your comments!

  17. Hi I am Dr Sonia S V ENT Surgeon from Bangalore,India.I just started quilling and this design is so elegant.Thanks for taking the time to write a tutorial.
    Dr Sonia S V


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