Iris Folding Card Tutorial

Iris Folding Card Tutorial

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Christmas card making season is in full swing!  I finally sat down to work on some cards and decided to give my hand at Iris Folding!

Have you heard of Iris Folding?  This addicting paper crafting technique originated in Holland.  They use to use paper from the inside of envelopes, but modern crafters often use scrapbook paper, origami paper, or even ribbon!  Iris folding does NOT require a die cutting machine (though you can use one if you have one available).  I know it looks complicated, but I promise it is easy and fast once you get the hang of it!  Grab a pair of scissors, some paper and tape and let me show you how you can make a really neat card too…

Let’s get started…

For my card I used:
– 5/8″ Quilling Paper (What’s quilling?  That’s a whole other blog post!)
– Cricut scissors, from my Cricut tool kit
– Glue Glider Pro with Permatac Cartridge
– Cardstock (white for card base and shiny pink for front)
– Iris Folding Template
– Sunny Yellow Viva Decor Paper Pen (not pictured)

I started out by cutting a 4″ ornament from my Artiste Cricut Cartridge.  You can use any die cutting machine, if you have one, but you can also use metal dies, or some scissors, to cut out your design too.  The beauty of Iris Folding is that you can use ANY shape you desire- it is so versatile!  This technique looks great on Christmas cards, new baby cards, birthday cards and more!  And you’re not limited to using this technique on just cards either- add one to your scrapbook layout or home decor project too.

Once you have your shape, tape it to your template with the front of your paper facing DOWN.  You will be building your card from the front to back.  I used regular scotch tape for this step. You can center your middle square, or off-center it, like I did here:

Most Iris folding techniques instruct you to take a strip of paper, fold over an edge and then scotch tape it to the back of your cut out.  This can lead to heavy, bulky cards.  I decided to use my Glue Glider Pro and quilling paper (without folding an edge over) to save on overall weight.

You can do this technique with all the same color paper or 4+ different colors.  If you use different colored paper, it is helpful to assign a letter to each color paper you have.  Start off with one color and fill in as much of that color as you can before switching to another color.  In my example below, I got a little carried away with the pink (b) and started on red (d) before I remembered to stop myself to take a picture!

So as you can see in the photo above, the pink (b) section, continues down and around to the middle, but past the point where I stopped, you would be overlapping the (c) section.  I needed to put down (c) before I could finish up with (b).

Use a tape runner on the outside of your shape to hold down each layer of paper.  I used my Glue Glider Pro.

Once you have your tape in place, put the next strip down- make sure to follow the lines on the template.  Cut your strips to fit, this not only saves paper, but will cut down on bulk as well.

Keep on building and building until you reach your center square.  You can put in specialized paper in the middle or an accent color.  I chose to put a pop of yellow.

You can see from the above picture that it gets a little messy looking on the back, but the good news is that no one will ever see this part! To finish off the card, trim any excess that hangs over the edges.

Now take your finished shape and attach it to a card front.  I tried to stamp a sentiment on the bottom of my card, but the paper I used has some sheen to it and my stamp smudged (sad face).  I ended up trimming the card down and using a Viva Decor Paper Pen in Sunny Yellow to add a little more of the yellow accent color.   Just a few dots pulled the card together and I decided I liked it better without the sentiment on the front anyway.

I had such fun making this card that I had to try it again with another ornament card using patterned strips of paper and a leaf from the template as well.  Here are my results:


There are so many ways you can use this technique and it is so fun and easy to do!  As you can see on the leaf card, you can line up the template however works for your image- you don’t have to include the square middle if you don’t want to!  I added some Hey Jealousy Megan Elizabeth Sparkle Lights my second ornament card too- I think the little details can really make a card special, don’t you?

A few lessons I learned:
-If you are doing patterned paper, it is better to use small patterns.  Large patterns can make your shape look busy.
-If you would like to emboss or stamp on your card front, do it before you start the Iris folding.
– Remember that you are building your card upside down, so your pattern will be reversed when you finish.  Keep this in mind if you decide to offset your square middle.

Here are all the steps in one easy to follow photo pictorial:


This really is a fun technique to do and you only need one template for any shape!  This is so easy to do and makes such an impression, people will wonder how you did it.  I hope I have inspired you to try it out!  If you do- let me know how it goes and, as always, feel free to show off your projects on our Facebook page!  Leave some comments below- I’d love to know your thoughts!

Happy Crafting!


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