Iris folding is a fun and easy paper folding technique that originated in Holland. It’s an excellent way to use paper scraps, used envelopes, left over wrapping paper, etc. The texture and depth of the card or scrapbook page you create are just amazing! You start with a simple pattern; many basic templates are available for free online. Iris folding is the layering of folded strips of colored paper (or even wide ribbon is neat) in a spiral pattern that resembles the iris of a camera.
Iris folding is similar to paint-by-number, except that you are using folded strips of paper instead of paint. If you are using thin paper, it must be folded in half to create depth or if you are using cardstock, you do not need to fold the strips. When creating our cards we worked from the back of our cardstock. We traced our pattern in the center with a pencil. It is very helpful to laminate your pattern so you can use it over and over again without it ripping or tape sticking to it. Next, cut your design out creating an opening in the middle of the card. Tape your pattern to your work surface and then lay your cardstock over your pattern making sure you are still working from the back.
The lines on your pattern indicate where the strips of paper will be placed. Always keep the folded edges of the paper strips toward the center of your design. Tape #1 strip using the specified color, then onto #2. It is important to layer in sequential order or your design will not flow. I found it very helpful to mark my pattern with highlighters to distinguish the colors I would be using instead of always having to refer back to the color chart. So if my pattern read:
I would take 4 different color highlighters, one for each letter, and then highlight the numbers. It is a real time saver. When taping your pieces always be sure you are taping to your cardstock or other strips of paper. Never tape anything to your pattern or work surface. You will be very disappointed at the end if this happens. Use little pieces of tape. As you add new strips you may trim as you go along or at the end. Continue in sequential order until you reach the middle and then turn your cardstock over. Your masterpiece!!! The results are quite impressive! Tape another piece of cardstock to the back where you were working so no one can see the mess.
Since we were teaching approximately a dozen girls I tried to be organized. Each girl was assigned a brown gift/shopping bag with their name written on an address label and attached to the handle. Inside of the bag every member had their own roll of tape with their name on it as well. We had downloaded a dozen free pattern templates and stapled them together into booklets for each member to use at the meeting as well as to keep to enjoy at home. After a brief introduction and demonstration, the girls were able to choose from several projects. We had displayed several card project ideas with a small clothesline. Their gift bag now became an iris folded project as well. They could put any cards they created into their bag for safe keeping.
Jody Sanger, Pennsylvania