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An introduction to iris folding

A simple paper folding technique is combined with aperture cards to give stunning results. Square, round or die cut apertures are decorated with folded strips of different coloured papers arranged in a spiral.

Iris folding
From left to right: folded strips of coloured paper; Iris folding pattern; finished card.

The Iris folding pattern used in this demonstration is from the book Iris Vouwen voor kerst by Maruscha Gaasenbeek and Tine Beauveser and used by kind permission of the publishers Forte Uitgevers. The book is in Dutch.


In this demonstration we are using a card that has a die cut aperture by "Make Me". These come in packs of 5 cards and tie in with the patterns in the book. They are single sheets and when the design is complete the card is mounted on the front of a greetings card of your choice.

You can use double fold aperture cards that come with rectangular or oval apertures. In this case you would fold in the extra leaf to hide the back of the work.

Alternatively you could also cut your own apertures. In this case you would trace the aperture shape from your pattern, tape it in position on your card and cut out the aperture using a craft knife on a cutting mat.

The design is based on a layout pattern showing the position of the folded strips of paper.

Select three different coloured or patterned papers that harmonise together.

Cut your paper into strips 20 mm wide.

Fold each strip in half along its length with the patterned side out. It is easier to fold if you score the paper along the fold line first. The back end of a craft knife and a ruler can be used for this.

Lay your Iris folding pattern on your work surface.

Lay your aperture card over the pattern with the wrong side facing towards you. Fix it to your pattern with tape.

Iris foldingIris foldingIris folding

Take a folded strip of patterned paper and place it on section 1 of the pattern. The folded edge should be against the line of the pattern. Trim each end of the strip so that about 5 mm overlap the edge of the aperture at either end. Fix the strip to the card with small pieces of adhesive tape at each end.

Select a strip of another colour and fix this in position 2.

Add a third coloured strip in position 3.

Work around the pattern adding the three different strips in sequence until your design is complete.

The small hole left in the middle of the design can be covered with a flat piece of paper in a colour of your choice.

Mount the finished pattern on the front of your greetings card.

This project was originally published at Card Inspirations. It is reproduced here here with kind permission. Card Inspirations are sponsors of the Card Making Inspirations web site.

Product availability

We regret that we are unable to advise the reader of a source of supply for the materials used in the projects on the Card Making Inspirations web site.

The layouts and techniques used in these projects are timeless. However, products such as stamps, stickers and patterned papers are quickly discontinued to be replaced by new items. When this happens we suggest that there is a lot of satisfaction in finding an alternative product that suits the design.

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