One of my new favorite tools is the Border Buddy (click here for some beginners tips on how to use it).  Mostly I use it for creating paper quilled jewelry, but soon I’ll be experimenting with more designs to use it for.

Don’t have a border buddy?  Don’t despair!  The basic premise of a border buddy is to wrap your paper around a particular shape to create what I usually refer to as an open roll/open shape.  You can use any object for this, not just the border buddy!

The first thing to do is look around your home for what you can use.  Obviously it’s easiest to try to find round objects.  Pens, markers, glue pens, bottles, small jars, and cups are just a few of the types of objects that I’ve used for making open circles.  They work perfectly well!  The only difficulty comes when I forget what object I used for a particular project and then have trouble replicating it.  Usually I write down what I used and keep it around my desk and use it often.

Some alternatives to using the border buddy for paper quilling  - Honey's Quilling


What about squares and triangles?  These are admittedly a bit harder to find around the house.  You can find some pens/markers that have triangular barrels that would work.  You can use small boxes for squares and rectangles. Check your kitchen to see what sorts of different shapes you can find!

If you can’t find the triangles and squares that you need, you can also make your own.  It’ll take a bit of time to get it just right, but it’s definitely possible!  Triangles are easier to make sturdy than squares.  Simply cut out three rectangles of equal size (the length of the rectangle being how long you want each side of the triangle to be) and tape them together in a triangle prism shape.  Or just use one longer rectangle and fold it into thirds, bend into a triangle, and tape securely.  Before I tried this idea myself I saw it some time ago on Erin Curet’s facebook page for her  Little Circles Paper Quilling.  Click here to see the original photo.

Some alternatives to using the border buddy for paper quilling  - Honey's Quilling


When you make a square it is too easy for it to squish flat, so you need to tape an extra strip of cardboard across one end as shown here:

Some alternatives to using the border buddy for paper quilling  - Honey's Quilling


Speaking of Erin, she also has an excellent idea for making your own stacked circle quilling form (her term for something to wrap the paper around to make an open shape).  She originally posted the tutorial on her blog some time ago and now also has a youtube video to show how to make them.  Basically you use wide paper to roll large tight rolls of various sizes.  Glue those rolls onto each other like a tower, and use each layer just like you would the border buddy.  Genius!  You can make them as large or small as you want, which is great!  Not only does Erin show you how to make one, but she sells a kit in her etsy shop with all of the paper and the tool necessary to make it.  How convenient!  I haven’t made a complete form, but I have made a couple layers in some sizes that I use often for my jewelry.  I found that it was handy to keep them separate instead of gluing together in a form so I could put them into my travel quilling box.

Besides creating your own forms and using what’s around the house, there are other types and brands of forms and mandrels that you can purchase that work perfectly.

Firstly, it’s back to Little Circles – in her etsy shop she sometimes has gorgeous handmade wooden forms for sale.  You can see them in the above link for the kit.  As I write this post the only ones available are the needle style, not the stacked ones.  But when they are all available they are here in her tools section.  These are something I definitely want in my collection in the future, I love that they are handmade and made of gorgeous wood!  She has both the stacked forms in wood, as well as a set of wooden ‘needle’ tools in different widths.  Both look awesome!

Here is a picture of the needle form tools  in Erin’s shop:

Some alternatives to using the border buddy for paper quilling  - Honey's Quilling


After using the border buddy for awhile I noticed that there were similar looking sets being sold by a lot of quillers in India.  They call it the border buddy as well, though of course it is not sold by Quilled Creations.  You can find these from many of the shops in India that selling quilling supplies (see shops around the world on this page) such as Anandha Stationary.

After I saw that the there were other variants of the border buddy floating around (different colors, but looked otherwise the same) I also found the same tool being sold by a wire jewelry supplies company.  It is used for wrapping wire around to get the same shapes.  The brand and color is different, but the tool is exactly the same (except that it comes with a fourth shape, the oval).  I actually have one myself. As far as I can tell the quality is equal to the border buddy, it’s just a different color.

So I’m not really sure whether this border buddy tool was originally designed for quilling and then it was also picked up by wire jewelry makers or if it is the other way around.  Honestly my guess is that it was used for wire wrapping first as that has an extra shape for the tool which wouldn’t be quite as useful for quilling (since a circle can be shaped into an oval) and I see the beadsmith mandrel is available on many beading/jewelry making supplies websites.  I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but it is an interesting question!


Whether you decide to use objects around the house, make your own forms, purchase one of the similar tools, or the original Quilled Creations border buddy (available here on Amazon and here on Custom Quilling) you will have lots of fun making various open shapes for quilling.  Stay tuned for some new tutorials in the coming month using the border buddy!

What do you like to use for making open shapes?


Stick around and check out some of the other fun stuff on the blog!

Click here to view  free paper quilling tutorials!

Click here to view paper quilling tips and tricks!

Click here to view a list of places to buy quilling supplies around the world!

Click here to view some of my own quilling projects, with tips so you can make your own if you’d like!

*All products and supplies mentioned in this post I purchased and/or made on my own.

*This post contains some affiliate links, and some non affiliate links.  If you purchase products through the affiliate links I get a small percentage (at no extra cost to you!).  I only link to products that I believe in and/or love to use myself.  Thank you for supporting my blog!