If you want a quilled monogram of your own, they are surprisingly easy. This version of quilling requires much more patience and time than actual skill, and practice seems to be helping too. :)
I and the Crafty McCrafters group were inspired by this beauty by Kara at Craftastical, and she has a great tutorial and tips, so check her out. I give my two cents and tips below. If you'd like some additional inspiration, check out Yulia Brodskaya's work, either here in her portfolio or by doing a Google image search.
Others of the Crafty McCrafters did freehand quilled monograms -- instead of filling in an outline, they used the curls and curves to create the letter. I haven't been brave enough to try that yet, but I'm planning on making one like this soon for a friend (Heather, what do you think?):
Regardless of which style you go for, you'll need the same supplies. These are what we used:
- Cardstock or double-sided scrapbook paper
- Paper cutter and scissors
- Paper plate
- Rounded tools of various diameters -- needles, toothpicks, skewers, pens, etc
Printing an outline: I have been doing filled-in monograms because I like having an outline. It's easier for me to fill something in than create something from scratch. :) Print your monogram outline in the center of your paper in a very light gray. Some fonts have curves that are difficult to make with paper, and if your outline is barely visible, you won't feel as bad for going off the outline. :)
Cutting paper strips: Traditional quilling strips are 1/8 inch, but our group found that was a little too thin for us. I prefer 3/16 inch and even 1/4 inch works well. Just be sure that all of your strips are the same width -- you can see here that some of mine were thicker (and it bothers me -- look at how much taller the yellow curl is than the green outline!):
Gluing: Kara says she brushed a thin layer of ModPodge on the bottom of her curled strips, but we found it was easier to spread a thin layer of ModPodge on a paper plate and then dip the very edge of the curled strip in the ModPodge. And try to use the glue sparingly -- smudges will show a little bit and too much ModPodge can make your base cardstock or your curled strips warp from the moisture, so that your base and your letter have a gap between them. True quillers don't actually glue their curls to a base, only to each other... Yeah, I'm not that dedicated, either. :)
Tweezing: Nope, not your brows -- your curls! The curls are so thin and often need to be placed with such precision that even the smallest and nimblest fingers feel clumsy. You'll want your tweezers, especially for those tiny little curls that looks so cute all grouped together. Promise. If you're worried about getting glue on your tweezers, just pick up a cheap pair at the $1 store.
Curling tools: Kara just curled her paper with her fingers, but I prefer using tools. Various diameters give you different sized curls: needle, toothpick, bamboo skewer, pen, glue stick. For tighter curls, wrap the paper tighter and for looser curls, looser. I also loosened some of my curls and stretched them out a bit by gently running the tool that I curled them between the the layers of curls to gradually expand the diameter of the curl.
It also helped me to give the whole paper strip a little curve by running my fingers down it -- think of curling ribbon -- before I started the hard-core curling. If you need a tighter curve, use one of your tools to create it.
Do your best to have your paper curved exactly how you want it so that it fits the shape naturally, before you glue it. This is especially important when you are crossing the outline or another strip of paper and want your curve to look continuous even though you'll have two (or more)separate pieces of it. If you have a continuous curve to begin with and then just cut it, it's easier to have it look more natural. Having to reposition the paper when it's glued or forcing it somewhere else takes away from the natural curled look and can make it look too angular or just "wrong." Plus, the glue dries quickly so it's easiest if the curl will kind of fall into place instead of having to manually position every last bit before the glue dries. :)
Different shapes: This chart from Quilling.com was invaluable as we were thinking of different ways to curl the paper. I chose to stick with mostly traditional curls and scrolls, but others in the group were creating beautiful floral-type arrangements with lovely marquis and teardrop shapes. The bravest I got was this cute little heart:
And these layered curls, made by curling two pieces of paper around the same tool:
So... you should try this. I will warn you though... you might possibly become addicted. Luckily, it's an inexpensive craft. :)