If you are going to make more than just one or two pieces of quilling, you owe it to yourself to purchase one of the quilling work boards and design guides that are currently available. These are quality boards made of dense self-healing cork or durable foam that are sturdy and made to last for years. The design guide helps you keep your quills straight during assembly, which is very important when working with symmetrical patterns such as snowflakes. However, if you are working with a group (Scout troop, church group, craft club, etc.), it is not always practical to purchase each member their own quilling work board and design guide. You can make them instead.
A simple, temporary quilling board can be made from any sturdy sheet of cork board, plastic foam, corrugated cardboard, or other similar material. A nice size is 6″ x 8″, but use what you have. For my quilling classes, I have taken inexpensive 12″ x 12″ cork squares, cut them into four 6″ x 6″ squares, and edged them with masking tape. These work very well, and if one happens to get away from me, it can easily be replaced. Go green with a quilling work board made from corrugated cardboard cut from a box that was headed for the trash. When it has too many holes to be useful, just place it in the recycling bin.
Wax paper makes a serviceable cover sheet for your work board. It is handy and certainly cheap enough, however, if too much glue is used and the quillwork is accidentally glued to the wax paper, the wax may come up with the design when it’s removed. I prefer to use clear plastic sheets cut from scrap (think old office sheet protectors and transparencies) or recycled plastic packaging. Even heavy-duty food baggies will work. You can either pin the work board cover in place, or wrap it around and tape it to the back. To use, simply slip your quilling pattern underneath the cover sheet (plastic or wax paper), pin it in place, and assemble your quilled masterpiece over the pattern.
For symmetrical work, a design guide can be created from a piece of graph paper cut to fit your quilling work board. Count the squares horizontally and vertically to find the center point of your graph paper. Using a ruler and black pen or fine-tip marker, draw a vertical and horizontal line that cuts through the center point to divide your graph paper into fourths. This will give you 90 degree angles. Next, using the lines of the graph paper as your guide, draw an “X” on the paper that runs through the center point and bisects the quarters. This will give you 45 degree angles. Continue to draw lines running through the center point to divide your paper into as many sections as needed for your pattern. Circles can be added to the guide with the aid of a compass or circle template. Be sure to center the circles on your guide using the intersection point of the lines as the center of the circles.