No tools? Try the vortex.

This entire butterfly was made with fingers…no rolling and no quilling tools!

The shape is call a “vortex coil”. A talented quiller, Licia Politis, from Australia invented this new shape!  It actually looks really cool when it’s done with a longer strip of paper (16 inches or longer), but I wanted to experiment with  graduated papers. Graduated papers are only 12 inches in length and they fade from white to a color.  I love the effect of this paper…but here’s my attempt with the vortex coil.

- 1/4-inch Graduated Paper (pink, purple, bright green)

- craft glue

- scissors


1.) The vortex coil is like making a wheatear or continuous loops. First, make a small loop.  Then make a slightly larger loop by wrapping the paper strip around the first loop.  Keep the loops close together and evenly spaced. When you get to the end of the paper strips, glue the paper’s end to the base (or point) of the wheatear and trim off any excess paper.

2.) Hold the base of the wheatear. Then push the round end inward.  Release the coils near the base and allow the coils to shift into the “vortex” shape.  You can play around with pinching and reshaping during this step!  (I’ll have to show you what it looks like with a longer or bigger wheatear in a future post! Shorter papers don’t show enough of the vortex shape.)

3.) Make 8 bright green, 4 purple and 4 pink vortex coils. Glue them into groups.

4.) Wrap a 12-inch purple strip around each groups.

5.) Make a body and an antenna.  Glue the pieces together.

Definitely a unique shape and I didn’t use a tool!

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15 Responses to “No tools? Try the vortex.”

  1. andrea says:

    how beautiful—i must get some of that graduated paper!

  2. Cathy Schlim says:

    Very pretty! Love your step-by-step instructions! Thank you!!!

  3. Cathy says:

    Very clever… thanks for the step-by-step instructions.

  4. licia politis says:

    Thanks Ali for mentioning and crediting me with the vortex coil design, I just love how you have used the graduated paper in your butterfly design!! It’s extremely effective!!!
    I love seeing quillers use the votex coil in their quilling pieces.
    Thanks again

  5. Alli says:

    So nice to hear from the creator of the vortex coil! Some ladies and I were working on this coil technique all weekend at the NAQG conference. Congrats on winning the top award, “People’s Choice”, for your beautiful quilled teapot arrangement!

  6. Gail Freed says:

    I love this, can’t wait to try it.

  7. Eileen Bernier says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love finding new techniques. Thank you for giving us step by step instructions so we can make them also.

  8. Christy says:

    that is a very pretty butterfly

  9. Philippa says:

    Lovely effect – must try this!!

  10. Sandy O says:

    WOW, this is great. So glad I found your site!

  11. ropaz says:

    beautiful work. I hope you visit my blog where I present paper jewelry

  12. Anastasia says:

    Thanks for sharing. It is so beautiful and easy to create

  13. sonal chauhan says:

    very nice ,its amazing .i will definately try this

  14. Anastasia says:

    Just found your website and did a butterfly and flower following your directions. Would love if you would take a look on my blog
    Thank you so much for the clear and easy to follow instructions

  15. Baukje says:

    thank you for the nice explanation
    I love your work!
    Greetings Baukje

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