Remarkable 65 Piece Quilled Paper Orchestra

I love to see people breaking new ground when it comes to paper art, and a complete orchestra quilled in miniature size by Kariana Leinbach certainly falls into the Wow! category. The moment I came across it on the Quilled Creations Facebook page, I wanted to interview Kariana so that we could enjoy hearing about all that went into completing this monumental project.

three quilled miniature violins

As a senior music major at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania this past year, Symphony in Paper was Kariana's honors project that combined her passion for music with a love of quilling. She created each instrument, music stand, and orchestra member almost entirely of quilling paper (tiny details like bow hairs and reeds were included for realism), and based the configuration on the university's own orchestra. Other materials used included jewelry crimp beads, wire, pins, paper clips, toothpicks, thread, colored beads, and cotton balls.

Quilled paper orchestra on display

Let's start at the beginning... when and how were you introduced to quilling?

When I was about 14, my cousin Lydia gave me a little quilled ornament that she'd made. I was charmed by the detail and wanted to give quilling a try. Then a dear neighbor gave me a box of old quilling papers; she thought I would enjoy experimenting with her leftover materials. At the same time, another neighbor gave me a book on paper art that contained a few pages about quilling. From those three pages, faded papers, and a paper clip, I began rolling strips into crazy little shapes - and I fell in love.

Quilled miniature kettle drum

Have you mainly done 3D quilling?

Through the years, I found myself quilling all sorts of subjects. I was like a kid in a candy shop and had to try everything! Being a fan of miniature things, it didn’t take me long to begin experimenting in the 3D world. An enthusiastic violinist, I naturally attempted a tiny, detailed violin and I was thrilled with the result. At the time I’d even thought to myself, “Hm, I wonder if I could make a cello? A trumpet? A clarinet? Good heavens, what if I could make an entire orchestra?" but pushed the idea aside knowing what a time-consuming project that would be.

quilled miniature paper oboes

How did this project come about?

Being an orchestra member at Kutztown quickly became the center of my college career. There’s something beautiful about the teamwork, dedication, comradeship, and accomplishment that I found while playing in the orchestra.

As I approached the conclusion of my junior year, I was required to complete a capstone project on any topic of my choice. A number of ideas circulated through my mind until my long dormant conception of a quilled orchestra was revived. I took the idea to our director, explaining my passion for quilling and love for orchestra and how I would be willing to invest myself in making this idea a reality. After showing her examples of my work, she fairly squealed with excitement and told me to go for it.

metallic paper miniature quilled French horn

How long did it take to complete?

During the summer preceding my senior year, I began gathering my materials, building models, taking measurements, and building instruments. I completed the orchestra by the beginning of April 2018, nearly eleven months of late nights, intricate work, and cramped fingers.

quilled miniature paper bassoons

What are your favorite tools, glue, and quilling paper?

My slotted needle tool, needle-nosed tweezers, reverse-action tweezers, cup molds, and circle template were perfect for precise shaping and sizing. I also use common household objects as tools, such as paper clips, chopsticks, bottle caps, and clothespins. My favorite glue is Aleene’s Tacky Glue (not clear or fast-drying). I love that it doesn’t take too long to dry, yet allows time for adjustment. Quilled Creations paper colors are bright and I’ve never had a problem with fading. Its strength enables me to make really tight pieces without tearing, and it holds shapes and creases well.

quilled bass drum in stand

Was there a favorite instrument to create and which was the most challenging?

Each instrument had its fun, as well as frustrating moments. If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be either the violin, cello, bassoon, bass drum, or clarinet. (Not necessarily because they were the easiest, but rather because I was most pleased with the results.) The brass instruments were the most challenging and frustrating; I think I would say that the tuba was the worst because of its intricate tubing and valves.

paper music stands with sheet music 
Tell us about the music stands and sheet music.

I chose Finlandia by Jean Sibelius, a piece the KUO had performed. This helped me to determine the number of instruments, specific instrument sections/types of instruments, number of chairs, musicians, music stands, and other auxiliary equipment, such as sheet music and woodwind stands. I downloaded the music files for Finlandia, shrank down the music images to scale, and used the real parts in miniature for each instrument... meaning that the cellos have their own parts, violins I and II had theirs, trumpets I, II, and III, oboes I and II, the conductor had a score, etc.

miniature quilled piccolo

Is the orchestra still on display? Do you have future plans for it?

The orchestra is currently on display through the Fall 2018 semester at the Kutztown University campus library, which is accessible to the public. My ultimate plan is to sell it since it is too big to keep in my house… besides, I’d rather it be out in the world where others can enjoy it.

miniautre paper musician playing a quilled paper flute

What are your feelings about quilling now that the project is completed? Are you still quilling?

I’m still avidly infatuated with quilling, and although I haven’t had a chance to get into more projects following the completion of the orchestra, I totally intend to continue quilling. I think it is a beautiful art that more people should know about, and because I’m always talking about it, my circle knows me as “the paper girl.”

 three miniature quilled trumpets


What's next for you in the art and music worlds?

I hope that I’ll always continue quilling gifts and I’ll certainly resort to it whenever I need a creative outlet. I’m also open to the idea of commissioned quilling work, which I think would be an interesting project should I ever get the chance. Music, however, is my ultimate path; I run my own private teaching studio at a music store where I teach violin and piano. Next year, I am traveling to Heidelberg, Germany to teach music and English in a K-10 school.

seven miniature quilled paper cellos

Do you enjoy other types of art or paper crafts?

I have dabbled in other crafts over the years (such as knitting, sewing, cross-stitching, drawing, painting), but none of them have really stuck like quilling has. I suppose I’ve found the one and only for me!

Kariana has agreed to share a tutorial for creating one of the orchestra instruments. Which one would you like to learn to make? Reply below and you just might get your wish in an upcoming post. Update: look for Kariana's tutorial on September 10!

Learn even more about the orchestra on Kariana's Facebook page, Symphony in Paper


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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Absolutely amazing! Love the attention to details!

  2. Those are incredible. She said she took measurements. Could you inquire as to what scale model size she used for the orchestra?

    1. Hi, Karin! Great question; I scaled each instrument to my violin. I tracked down dozens of my friends from orchestra who played different instruments and took pictures of their instrument side-by-side with my violin. (I took photos from all angles too!) :) I then did all my work based off those pictures.

  3. Really extraordinary. . . and special.

  4. Extraordinary and simply amazing. I can't get my eyes off from the quilled violin. I would like a tutorial on violin please.

  5. Amazing!! I LOVE this beautiful orchestra. I'm a violin player, so I'd definitely have to say violin please, but I'd also love to know how you made the people and seats, as they'd be helpful for a project I'd like to make.
    Congratulations on such a beautiful accomplishment x

  6. OMG! This is such a remarkable work!

  7. Wow!! Amazing would love to see the tutorial of all the instruments..
    They are so pretty..

  8. They're all so perfect, I'd like to know how to make the drum.
    Gail Freed

  9. I also would love a tutorial on either fiddle or cello. Really nice stuff!

  10. I am totally in awe. I have been looking for a guitar pattern for quilling. I would LOVE to purchase a pattern for this amazing set!

  11. Bravo! My favorite is the clarinet, I played in school. It is beautiful as are all your pieces.
    Thanks Ann for another great artist.
    XO April

  12. Amazingly detailed! So fun to watch her orchestra unfold.

  13. I too would love a tutorial for the clarinet. My grand daughter just started playing the clarinet and I would love to make her a jewelry set (earrings and matching necklace) that she can wear to class and performances. Your work is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your talent and creativity with us. Absolutely amazing!!!!

  14. Wow! Your work is amazing! As a clarinet player and a quiller I would love to learn how to make a clarinet. All of the instruments are amazing! Congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment! Good luck in Germany!

  15. I love the detail and and the amount of work you have done. I would like a tutorial on the violin �� please

  16. Well that's just bloody extradinary, how absolutley beautiful. The patience to do it, alone spins me out let alone the detail.
    I've loved miniatures all my life and have made a few but now my hands hurt and I need new glasses lol 🤣
    Getting old sucks, I made a couple of miniature books today and they kinda resemble something a 5yr old might make for mum at kindy hahaha.
    Then I see something like this, thanku for the past and pics it brightened my day. Thanku 🥰

  17. So glad you enjoyed seeing Kariana's orchestra. As long as you like doing your hobby, keep at it!


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