Advanced quilling designs can look overwhelmingly complicated. When you break them down to their most basic elements, however, you will see that all of quilling is made up of several simple shapes. Listed below are the nine basic shapes that you should master as you begin quilling. With these shapes, you will be able to make nearly any design that you can dream up or find around the internet. Each of the shapes below is formed with just one quilling strip. You can find a list of the supplies that you will need for quilling in the article Getting Started Quilling for Scrapbooking and Card Making - Basic Supplies Needed. You can click on any of the images to see them full-size in greater detail. You can find a simple flower made with three of the shapes below (Marquis, Tear Drops, and Loose Coils) in the article Rolled Paper Flowers - Simple Quilling for Scrapbookers. Pretty fall leaves made from marquis shapes and loose coils can be found in the article Autumn in New York - Fall Leaves for Scrapbook Pages.
The "Tight Coil" is formed by rolling a quilling strip as tightly as possible and gluing it while it remains tightly wound. Tight coils make great flower centers, teddy bear ears or muzzles, eyes, or knots in tree trunks.
The Loose Coil
The "Loose Coil" is formed by starting with a tight coil and then letting it relax and spring open to a predetermined size. A Cork Sizing Board is helpful in keeping all of your loose coils the same size.
Marquis or Eye
The "Marquis" shape resembles a cat's eye. It is sometimes referred to as an "eye shape." To form a marquis, you start with a loose coil and then pinch two opposite sides of the circle to make an eye shape. These shapes are perfect for flower petals, parts of a leaf, or many other simple quilling designs.
The "Tear Drop" is formed just like the Marquis above, the only difference is that you only pinch one side of the loose coil. When you release it, you will have a tear drop shape. Once again this shape is frequently used for flower petals and leaf parts.
A "heart" shape starts with a tear drop. Once you have formed a tear drop, you will push in the rounded bottom of the tear drop shape and pinch the two sides of the rounded section towards each other. Release and let the inside of the coil relax into the heart shape as shown.
The "Loose Scroll" is a great filler piece in quilling. It makes lovely branches or stems. Is is simply a loose coil which does not have the end glued down. Depending on how you plan to use the loose coil in your design, you may end up leaving more or less of a "tail" on the end. You can turn this shape into a "Tight Scroll" by pulling the center tight and gluing it in place while still leaving a tail hanging off the end.
The "S Scroll" is another filler shape that adds elegance to any design. To form and "S" you will need to roll one quilling strip in towards the center from both ends. Make sure that you roll each end in the same direction. If you roll one end clockwise, you will roll the other end clockwise as well. If you roll them both the same way, you will end up with a "C Scroll" (see below). Like the loose scroll above, you do not glue the scrolls in place until you place them in you final design.
For a "V Scroll" you can crease your quilling strip in half before you start rolling. Then roll each end towards the center crease.