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Card making - Iris Folding


Beginners Guide to Card Making using Iris Folding

It is always nice to send someone a handmade card and one of the easiest techniques to use, producing really attractive results, is a paper craft known as iris folding.

Iris folding involves creating a pattern of different paper strips stuck down in numbered sequence across the back of an aperture card. The hole can be a geometric shape such as a triangle or octagon, or it can represent a recognisable object such as a cat, butterfly, tree or boat.

When the card is turned over, the paper strips form an attractive pattern that fills the aperture with colour.

There are three decisions to make when setting out to create an iris fold card:

1. what shape you want to use for your aperture(s)

2. which papers to use to create your pattern

3. if you want to cut the aperture directly into the card, so that eventually you will need to stick a piece of paper over the inside to hide your work, or if you prefer to work on a smaller piece of card (as in the above example) which is then stuck onto the front of a separate card blank.

Finding Iris Folding patterns

You will find Iris Folding patterns for making cards in books, magazines and on the Web, and you can even create new patterns very easily by placing your own choice of cut-out shape over a basic geometric pattern. One of my favourite books is: "460 Iris Folded Cards to Make" by Maruscha Gaasenbeek & Tine Beauveser as it shows how you can use the same patterns to create a wide variety of cards. Free Iris Folding patterns to practise on are available from many websites including 

Whatever pattern you choose, you will see that they all consist of a series of numbered sections. As you work round the shape in sequence, sticking down paper strips, you follow the numbers to create curving blocks of colour. Usually you need to choose between three and six different types of paper, depending on the number of strips needed to cover the entire pattern. This will then show as blocks of colour made up of identical strips stuck close together.

For example, where the pattern displays 28 numbered sections, you could use four different papers:
Paper 1 for sections 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25
Paper 2 for sections 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26
Paper 3 for sections 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 23, 27
Paper 4 for sections 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28


Click below to read

Card Making using Iris Folding - Part 2

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