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Iris Folding 101


I recently learned about a new paper folding technique and wanted to share it with you.  Iris folding involves layering strips of paper or ribbon in a spiral pattern to create dimension.  The result resembles the iris or lens of a camera.  You can use patterned paper or alternate colors to create an interesting effect.  Finished pieces can be framed or can be used to decorate a card.  




Iris folding stamps include a design where a portion of the image is replaced by an iris folding pattern.  The stamp looks quite strange if you don't realize that the numbers will be replaced with strips of colored paper.  The series of numbers in the pumpkin indicate the space where strips of paper or ribbon will be placed.  

After stamping the image on a card base, you will use an Exacto knife to cut out the numbered portion of the stamp. (This is the hardest step for me.  I am better with numbers than with knives.)  You will remove this portion and it will serve as the template for your pattern.  Next,  flip over the card and begin layering the paper or ribbon in the spiral or iris pattern.

Don't be intimidated!  You simply lay down strips of paper or ribbon in numerical order to achieve the iris effect.  The results can provide great texture to your card or project.  

To create the spiral, you lay down the outer strips first and move inward. You place a piece of ribbon or strip of paper where you see the 1. You tape it down and then add a strip of paper at the number 2. You continue layering the strips of paper until you reach the center that is marked C.  When you flip over the card, you will see the the dimension you created with the layering.  Thin paper can be folded or ribbon can be used. The card below used ribbon for the pumpkin and the center of the sunflower. The stamped flowers and leaves were colored with Prismacolor pencils. 



People often associate Iris Folding with origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.  The techniques discussed in this blog actually originated in Holland.  In the 1800's, businesses in Europe sent invoices in envelopes lined with patterned paper, similar to the security lined envelopes we see today.  Dutch crafters would remove the patterned liner and create beautiful artwork.

 Art Lab Creations offers a variety of iris folding stamps that range from simple geometric shapes to elaborate dresses and holiday decorations.  

Click to see our collection of iris folding stamps.  

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