Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994


Quilling and Reverse Shading


6th - 7th Grades

Paper filigree is a very old craft dating back to possibly the 13th or 14th centuries and was tied to the beginning of papermaking which originated in China. During the 15th century, French and Italian monks and nuns recycled the edges of old documents and books into strips and wound them to resemble scrolls and coils to decorate icons and pilgrimage mementos. Because of the fragile quality of the materials, much early filigree work was lost.


Popsicle stick easels

The display easels were each made from 4 popsicle sticks and painted to match each art piece.

Paper filigree enjoyed extensive popularity in Europe during the 18/19 centuries and was crafted by several important women of the time, Jane Bonte, Queen Elizabeth, and others. Some schools at this time offered classes in paper filigree. This art found it's way to early America and this is where it picked up it's current name of "quilling," probably because they might have used feather quills to wind the paper around to make the coils.


Quilling fell out of favor for several years as the abundance of paper became available and quilling became less exclusive. In recent years it has gained a rise in popularity and is considered a very beautiful and precise craft. Even with the advent of technology, this artform only requires a quilling tool, hand dexterity, creativity, and good eyesight!


Quilling     Quilling     Quilling


Reverse Shading Exercise

7th Grade

After working in regular graphite pencil shading, students practiced working with reverse shading... working on black Construction Paper. with white pencil. Middle school students tend to outline with the whilte pencil first so this is a good exercise for looking at the white highlights first and working around the black areas. We kept the theme non-objective at first to practice the value effect. Later we worked with a recognizable object. And... even later we began Scratchboard. as they now already understood the reverse shading with no outlines technique with this exercise.


Reverse shading

By Jordan H.

Reverse shading

By Lauren F.


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