Iris paper folding

iris paper foldingI always love discovering a low cost craft. I did iris paper folding recently at a craft group: a few weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of it and now I’m hooked. My first attempt at iris paper folding was rubbish so I’m not even showing you the picture. But I’m quite pleased with this heart.

Iris paper folding involves folding small pieces of paper and sticking them into place to create a layered pattern. You need a bit of patience and lots of sellotape.

I mentioned iris paper folding is low cost. It’s because you can use scraps of paper you have lying around. The paper needs to be fairly thin so wrapping paper and paper cut from magazines works quite well. Standard white paper you find in sketchpads or for printers is okay too. For this heart I found some patterns online and printed them out. You can buy paper specifically made for iris paper folding and other thin craft papers are okay too.

You start by choosing a shape for your pattern: it can be a simple square, heart or whatever you want. You need to cut this shape out of a piece of card and it really does help to have a craft knife for this. My attempts with scissors don’t give a perfect finish.

You can find lots of patterns for iris paper folding online. I liked the first of these two here, so I printed it out and then taped my card border face down onto it. The idea is to work from the outside in on the reverse of your card. This introduces the slightly exciting experience of not seeing your final creation until you’ve finished it and untaped it again.

Patterns use a number of different colours, the one I used has three. Cut your paper into strips about 3cm wide and then fold in half and cut lengthways to size before taping into place. You need to follow the numbering system on the pattern so that your pieces are taped into place in the right order. if you mess up with the numbering, your final work will look wonky.

I cut strips of magazine paper for this square one, and I graded the colours slightly to create more depth to it. I found magazine paper does wear quite easily where it’s folded – paper from better quality magazine is probably best.

iris paper folding

And what looks like a mess when you’ve finished…

iris paper folding

Turns out to be something quite nice when you turn it over : )

iris paper folding

I’m not very good at writing instructions so if you want to give iris paper folding a go then you’re probably best googling it for patterns and tutorials. There are videos on YouTube for iris paper folding too.


About Emily

Freelance writer and author. And eater of chocolate.
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