Protect your Quillings

We’ve had a few enquiries recently about spray varnish which protects your quillings.  Through the years, we have tested several spray varnishes.  You might use it on be a quilled mobile or a free standing piece, or such as flowers which can be stuck together, ready to use later in an 3D floral arrangement.

Quilled Fan

Quilled Fan

The hope is that the varnish makes the quilling stronger, less likely to collect dust and easier to clean and maintain its shape, without unravelling the coils or changing the colours.  The best results come from a better quality and weight of papers.

The best varnish we found is Humbrol’s Acrillic Krylon Crystal Clear varnish spray.  Sadly, Humbrol is no more, but the people who made it for them sell one under the name of Keen.  Be sure to get this one and not one of those which is intended for fixing artwork, etc.


Hints as to use.  It is wise to use it in a ventilated room.  Place the quillings onto newspaper, which will absorb any excess spray – you don’t want the quillings to drown or to dry, fixed to a solid lake of varnish.  It’s hard to incorporate bits of the racing page of the Daily Whatever in your bouquet.  If you can, make a bonfire shape out of a collection of quillings you need to spray, for economy.  Shake the can.  Use mini-squirts from different angles so as not to drench the paper.  Let the quillings dry for an hour or so.  (I sometimes flick the wet quillings onto a dry part of the paper immediately, to save their sticking to it or each other.)  When dry, re-position them for a second coat.  Again, use very little.  For extra strength, more coats are better than heavier spray.

If your quilling is on card, be careful to test first.  Card tends to dry in blotches.  I would build the quilling on a quilling board, remove it and spray it, then apply it to the card later.  Pictures on wooden mounts, cork, wooden spoons, hessian, etc. all spray well.  Wood and slate become shiny and you need to be frugal with the spray, if it is not absorbed by the surface.  Use the corner of a paper kitchen towel to suck up excess or burst any bubbles that might have formed.  I have used a finger to make the background regular, immediately after spraying, in case of runs.

After use, always invert the can and give a short spray, to clear the nozzle, although the acryllic spray doesn’t suffer the same clogging as the older gloss varnishes.

We have, by mistake, dropped varnished quilled jewellery into the washing up bowl, fished it out, and it has been OK.  Remove any pieces of sprout or carrot from the earrings reasonably soon, if that happens to you, unless they colour co-ordinate.

I have used clear car touch-up spray paint in the past, as an experiment.  It seemed to work at the time, but you should test it well.  It is cheaper, though.

You can buy the Acryllic spray in the UK from here under the name Humbrol or Keen.  I think it’s the same thing.     Good quality papers from .

Happy squirting,   Paul


About Jane Jenkins Quilling

My interests are: Quilling - the art of manipulating paper strips to create pictures, greetings cards, free standing characters, floral displays, etc. Also Calligraphy - the art of fine writing. Decorative Painting/Folk Art - brush stroke work to decorate wooden and metal objects and paint on canvas.
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3 Responses to Protect your Quillings

  1. quilliance says:

    Thanks for this excellent post – such a wealth of useful information! So many quillers ask about this, and it’s great to find such comprehensive guidance here!! Philippa

  2. michelekay says:

    Wonderful information here and I love the way you write – great sense of humor! Hope I get to meet you someday. Do you ever attend NAQGCON?

  3. Leah Huntley says:

    Thanks so much for the information, I’ve now used Keen’s and won’t use anything else, it’s brilliant!

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