Quilled bumble bee tutorial

Русская версия МК - в блоге Хомячок challenge

The insect I've chosen has a complicated configuration so I had to study a dozen of photos to understand what parts I should make and how should I connect them. So, let's look at the photo:

The bumble bee consists of a few parts:
* "bumble" - the heaviest part,
* "chest" - a less heavy ball,
* head with antennae,
* 6 legs,
* 2 wings.

Let's begin with the biggest part. We'll need a lot of fringes. And the finer you cut it, the better!
There're two ways of making fine fringes quick:

1) if you have sharp tiny scissors with a fine tip. Hold a strip with your left hand, take scissors in your right hand and rest them on the fingers of the left hand, so that the distance between the scissors tip and the strip edge would stay approximately the same as you move the strip when cutting.

2) a photo with extra back light. Take a thin strip of harder material (e.g. cardstock) and place it under the strip you're making a fringe from, close to the edge that should stay uncut. Use any scissors you like - no need for a fine tip. The scissors will stuck in the cardstock piece and the upper edge of the strip will remain uncut.
You'll need to change the cardstock piece now and then as it gets worn out.
So, find some patience and nice music and cut!

For the bumble and the chest you'll need 7 mm wide strips:

0,5 strip of light yellow color (for example quilling set #19)
3 strips of black color (for example, from quilling set #24)
1 whole, 2 halves and one strip half of which is cut in fringes and half of which has 5 mm width - dark yellow color (from quilling set #19)

The heaviest part will consists of two elements - half-balls. For the first, back part join light yellow fringe (0,5 of strip), black fringe (1 strip) and dark yellow fringe (0,5 of strip):

Begin to quill from the light end:

When you're finished with the "tail", glue the end of the light fringe. Holding the roll gently, insert the handle of the tool into the roll to make it "pop" and add dimension:

Cover it all with glue from the inside - and let it dry, so that the tail will hold its shape:

Continue to quill the fringes you have - black and dark yellow - but take care to move in spiral motion, the fringed roll shouldn't be "flat", make it 3d:

Adhere the tip of the fringe and again cover the inside of the bumble shape from the inside:

That's what you're going to have:

When the glue is dry to touch, fluff the bumble.

For the front part of the "bumble" you'll need a looong strip made of glued together:

whole dark yellow strip, half of which is 5 mm wide and another half - 7 mm wide - is cut into fringe, then connect a fringed 7 mm strip of black color and then 0,5 strip of 7 mm dark yellow strip.
Begin to quill from the 5 mm wide end. Make a tight "flat" roll with the 5 mm wide part.

When the fringes begin, use spiral quilling:

Each color should be glued and covered with glue from the inside:

When this part is complete and dry, fluff the fringes:

And now let's join the "bumble":

If you made it right, one part can be inserted into the other. Use a drop of glue and the bumble of the bee is complete.

Now let's make bumblebee's chest. It also consists of two parts. The first one:

1 dark yellow fringed strip and 0,5 of black fringed strip. Quill from the yellow end. Glue the tip, push it slightly from the inside to make it pop and fill with glue to fix the shape. Let it dry and fluff the fringes.

The second part:

1 black strip 5 mm wide + 0,5 of black strip 7 mm wide cut in fringes. Start quilling from the 5 mm end, make a flat tight roll. Glue the tip and fluff the fringes, bend it as much as possible to the rear end.

Cover the rear end of the second part with glue and place the first chest part on it, press tightly and let it dry:

The bumble and the chest consist of two parts each, and there's a "flat waist" between them. And we need to disguise them. Take a piece of 7 mm wide strip, fold in lengthwise and make a double fringe:

You'll need about 4 cm long strips. Dark yellow for the bumble and black for the chest.

Apply some glue to the "waists" and stick the double fringe there around the whole piece:

Repeat the same with the chest.

Now let's connect the bumble and the chest. We have flat parts on each segment - made of 5 mm wide strips, remember?
Apply glue to them

and press the bumble and the chest together:

Let it dry.

The bumblebee needs 6 legs. It's easier to make them wired - then you can shape them any way you like, use them to settle the bee somewhere or just make funny gestures =)
Choose "floristic" wire - wire wrapped in tissue. Each leg has 3 segments, marked with bends. Place a piece of wire on the ruler, measure and bend, measure and bend, measure and cut:

6 legs, dimensions in mm:

Rear legs: 18-12-3
Middle legs: 17-10-5
Front legs: 15-7-3

Take 3 mm wide strips of dark chocolate color (from the quilling set #32). You'll need an 8 cm long piece for one leg (6 cm for the front legs). 4 cm of this strip should be cut in fine fringe. Begin to wrap the strip (uncut end) around the wire from the "toes" end of the leg:

The third - the longest - segment should be fluffy, so the fringe should begin there. Cover the fringe with a thin layer of glue and wrap in a spiral motion around the wire:

That's the finished leg:

Probably the most complicated thing to explain. They are done in technique of looping/husking. Normal people do that "with pins", making perfect loops. I never was patient enough to use pins, so I do everything with my ahnds only, so taking pics of the process is just impossible.
So I offer a pattern:

On the right part of the pic the first pattern (I) shows how you should loop the strip (little blue arrows along the outline). Double blue arrows show the dimensions (mm). Green arrows show the pressure to be applied. Red arrows offer to add some glue there where they point (almost everywhere).
Choose the thinest strips you can find for the wings - 1 or 1,5 mm wide. White color or even better use translucent vellum.
When the part I is complete, wrap another strip around it three times trying to form the shape II. The first time wrap the strip tightly and let the inner part of the wing be deformed. The other two times wrap the strip loosely. And don't forget to apply glue at the tip of the wing (red arrows)

And now let's make the wings more "natural" and shiny. Take clear nail polish, get a big drop of it on the brush and touch the tip of the wing slightly. With a very well controlled slow motion spread the polish to the wing. The nail polish drop will make a thin film between the loops. If the film doesn't want to stay there - add a little more polish and repeat the brushing movement until you're satisfied.
Be careful not to damage the film and let it dry.

1 black strip 3 mm wide, quilled in a roll (not too tight so that you'll be still able to shape it). Glue the tip. Use your fingers to make a drop shape. And then make it a little 3d: press slightly on the back of the head to make it "pop". But try to apply pressure to the back of the head only - the "nose" is better be flat.

Cover with glue from the inside and let it dry.

Take a 3-4 cm long strip of dark brown color cut in fringes (can be left from the legs) and wrap it around the head:

Apply a little drop of glue on the fluffy end of each leg and tuck them in the body of the bee:

the rear legs should be placed in the middle of the front black stipe,
the middle ones - between the bumble and the chest,
the front ones - between the black and the black parts of the chest.
For better symmetry glue the legs by type: both rear, both front...

Apply a drop of glue inside of the head and press it to the chest as it's shown on the photo:

Don't press the nose down.

Take two 1 mm wide black strips 15-18 mm long, fold them to make the antennae. Apply glue and place them in the head, trying to tuck between the head and the fringe going around it:

Glue the wings:

The tip of the wing should be placed in the middle of the black stripe - the junction of two chest segments.

The bumble bee is ready:

Have fun creating your winged and striped insects!
If you have any questions - don't hesitate to ask. I'll try my best to explain.
Good luck!


  1. Алёна, шмель прелестный! Так и хочетсйa потискать :))) Спасибо за МК!

  2. what an excellent tutorial. It is so detailed and the pictures are perfect.

    I know this takes time so thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

  3. Инна, спасибо за комментарий =) Признаться, он вышел крепким малым, его у меня тут уже все затискали, пока ничего не отвалилось, вопреки опасениям =)

    Cheryl, thank you very much for your comment! Especially about photos =) I never was too proud of my pics, the ones I made with one hand in poor light, so I'm really happy you liked them =)

  4. Alijona!! This is awesome. thank you so much. It does look so real and scary:)).Your pictures are so clear and easy to follow. So realistic!!

  5. Thank you, Suganthi! Your comments are much appreciated!

  6. Он просто великолепен! Наверное, ночью тихонько летает по комнатам и жужжит :) У меня бы терпения не хватило на такое чудо. Очень-очень правдоподобно выглядит!

  7. Анешка, спасибо большое за комментарий! =) Наверное, жужжит, то и дело нахожу его в разных местах =)

  8. I'm glad you decided to post the tutorial, Aljona! You can see now how much work went into this, both researching and the actual work. I am amazed by all the details, especially the legs and how you made them look hairy :))
    Thank you so much for sharing it!

  9. Manuela, thank you very much for stopping by and commenting =) I'm always happy to see you in my blog!

  10. Да уж! Не Алена , а просто Левша !
    Чудо! Такая кропотливая работа...Здорово!

  11. Спасибо за комплименты, Индра! =)

  12. отличный учебник, спасибо за обмен!!
    excellent tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  13. Thank you, Nati! Hope it's useful for you =)

  14. Well, my jaw has dropped to the FLOOR...and I am kneeling in awe of your quilling talents!!! AMAZING!!!!

  15. Dear Kelly, thank you so much for your flattering comment! =) It's very inspiring =) *hugs*