Scovill Zoo Quilled Cheetah

Scovill Zoo Quilled Cheetah

A few months ago I was contacted by a woman affiliated with the Scovill Zoo in Decatur, IL. She told me she’d seen my “Hear Me Roar” piece and had looked me up in hopes I might take on a project for the zoo’s August fundraiser. As you can imagine I was both incredibly flattered AND excited to have another opportunity to create a fantastic beast!

The woman told me that the zoo’s biggest draw was their cheetah exhibit, and considering their logo is also a cheetah, it was only logical that I create a cheetah for them. I immediately began researching cheetah’s and eventually settled on a pose similar to their logo, but with a lot more detail.

Scovill Zoo Quilled Cheetah

I created the cheetah in two layers. The first was the head which I created a scaffolding support to hold up 1/4″ above the background. The head layer was primarily combed, with a select few quilled pieces for interest. The bottom layer was just the neck portion and it as made with a new technique I developed in an attempt to make paper strips look more like real fur. Pictures might not really show it, but in person you can imagine it’s short tufts of fur. I added a lot of whiskers and even a few ear tufts that raise up from the top layer. All-in-all, it came out exactly as I’d planned it and every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped.

The cheetah will be heading off to Illinois in the next couple of weeks. I hope the auction goes well and the piece brings in a lot of money for the zoo. I am forever grateful for being able to be a part of this event. Thank you Scovill Zoo for believing in my art and for helping keep quilling alive!

See more details about the cheetah on my follow-up post here.

Scovill Zoo Quilled Cheetah

Where I Buy My Supplies

Paper: Little Circles

I chose Little Circles paper for this project because I needed a wide variety of colors in the same family to produce shading effects. Little Circles has the largest array of colors available (that I know of) so it was a logical choice. I used two different types of their paper for the cheetah.

  1. Culture Pop – this is their normal weight quilling strip. I believe it’s 70lb weight. I always use 1/4″ strips for extra depth and a bold presentation.
  2. On Edge – this is their new outline weight quilling strip. It’s too thick to make quilled shapes with, but perfect for thick, bold lines. In this piece I used 1/4″ black On Edge strips to create a sturdy scaffolding to hold the head up off the background and I used 1/8″ white On Edge strips for the whiskers.

Tools: Quilled Creations

I always used Quilled Creations tools. I don’t think there are any exceptions to this. I love the quality, I love the innovation, and I love the variety.

  1. Savvy Slotted Tool – this is their new slotted tool which is ergonomically designed and features a teeny tiny slotted tip. I will never go back to a regular tool after using this one!
  2. Fine-Tipped Tweezers – a must have for holding, placing, and maneuvering individual pieces.
  3. Fine-Tipped Scissors – a nice set of scissors that are small and compact with a fine tip for getting into tight places.
  4. Mini Mold – I never thought I’d use this but I can’t live without it now. Especially for my eyes.
  5. Needle-Tipped Glue Applicator – again, another must-have weapon in your quilling arsenal. You’ll never go back to thicker tipped applicators once you see how amazing this one works.
  6. Fringer – these fringing scissors are tough, solid, and more than aptly do the job required.
  7. Crystal Coat Glaze – perfect shine, every time!

Background: Dick Blick

I have been through a variety of backgrounds over the past few years. I have used cardstock and then watercolor paper, and now I have decided the only background that is worth my time is the fiber-infused artboard through Dick Blick. It cures everything I hate about other background materials. It doesn’t warp even with excessive glue use. It doesn’t discolor over time. It allows for quick and efficient editing even after quills have been glued down for days! I’ll never go back to another background medium for my larger, more elaborate pieces.


My art is for sale. If you would like to purchase something you see on my site, or want an entirely unique quilling made just for you, please contact me. I have some listings for original artwork and prints available on my Etsy Shop, and can always create a custom listing for you. Do you have any comments, questions, or suggestions? Please feel free to let me know what's on your mind. Or, you can contact me directly. Please visit Quilled Creations for all your quilling needs. They offer some of the best products on the market including premium quilling paper, high-quality tools, kits, and much, much, more.

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