Iris Folding….Whaaa???

I’ve had an issue of Stampin’ Up!’s demonstrator magazine on my craft table for almost three years…because I wanted to try a cool technique highlighted in it.  Iris Folding, while appearing very complex, really is quite easy.  And addicting. When it’s complete, the paper folds look like a camera lens, or iris.  Aaahh, that’s the explanation…I bet you were just waiting for it, weren’t you?

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Isn’t that amazing?  I practiced with the kids first, because apparently it’s my responsibility to actually entertain and perhaps educate my offspring.  Even the four-year-old managed this quite well.  I dispensed pieces of tape for everyone, because I felt the potential for disaster lurking in that step.

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Here’s all you need: 

  • Colored paper (not cardstock), in as many colors as your iris template has sides
  • Tape
  • Template (I downloaded mine here, at Family Crafts
  • Cardstock with a shape slightly smaller than your template image cut out of it (If I had a Silhouette Cameo, this would have been so very much quicker…if anyone reading this is looking to buy me a really, really perfect present)

1. Tape your cardstock lightly to the template, right side down. My cardstock is 8-1/2” x 5-1/2” and the square is 4”x4”.  I cut a square with my paper cutter from scrap cardstock, then traced it on each piece of cardstock and cut it out using my paper trimmer. See what I mean about a Cameo?

2. Cut your colored paper in 1”x6” pieces, if doing this with kids.  For the “Imagine” one above, I cut 2”x6” pieces and used a bone folder to fold them in half lengthwise, for more texture and depth.

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3. Place your first piece of paper along the first template line, and tape it onto the cardstock.

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4. Place the second color down on its first template line and tape it in place. Continue around the template with each color.

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5. Continue to place and tape each piece, going around and around, until the template is covered.  The paper will be quite thick by now.

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6.  When you’ve covered all of the template except the very middle, trim around the edges of the cardstock (using scissors), so papers aren’t poking out everywhere.  Remove cardstock from template, flip it over, and prepare to be amazed.

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7.  We made our finished pieces into birthday cards, using ribbon, stamps, and punches…from Stampin’ Up!, of course!

To make the “Imagine” card/artwork above (I think I’ll find a 6×6 shadowbox frame for it), I used patterned DSP.  It took about a 6×6 piece (cut into 3 strips 2″x6″) of each color.  I cut the strips to fit before taping them, so I didn’t have to trim afterward and it used fewer strips.

To finish it, I glittered the card base behind and added ribbon and buttons from SU!.  The stamp is from the Word Play stamp set and I used Apothecary Accents and Labels Collection Framelits with my Big Shot. Oh, and a couple of brown pearls from the craft store.

These were a fun way to spend an hour or so, using few supplies and providing almost instant gratification.  And they learned about patterns and how to use a really large amount of tape.  I had to dig out the spare roll from the Christmas wrapping supplies, even!

These will be fun to do for holidays…a pumpkin shape for Halloween or Thanksgiving, an apple for a teacher, a shamrock, a heart…you get the idea.  Have fun, and go create something…even if it’s just a clear spot on the couch to take a little break!

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