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Iris Folding

Updated on August 20, 2014

Iris Folding Patterns and Instructions

This page includes information on how to do iris folding and also contains dozens of links to free iris folding patterns. You can use these patterns on greeting cards, bookmarks or as scrapbooking decorations.

Iris folding began in Holland using the patterned paper from the inside of recycled envelopes (like the teapot above). The iris is the section in the middle. In the teapot card above, I used a candy wrapper in the iris to make this a card made almost entirely from recycled materials.

Where possible, I have labeled each pattern with the number of folded paper pieces. (16pc) means there are 16 folded paper pieces in the design. Usually, the fewer the pieces, the easier the pattern. Enjoy!

Note: All the cards in the large photos shown on this page were made by three generations of crafters - my mother, my daughter and me.

What You Will Need To Do Iris Folding

Recommended Supplies

Essential supplies:

- decorative paper (you can use the insides of business envelopes with different patterns)

- card

- adhesive tape (preferably in a sturdy dispenser that allows you to get your piece of tape using one hand)

- scissors (may not be necessary if you get the items below)

And to make life easier:

- paper trimmer (for cutting your paper strips)

- self-healing cutting mat (for cutting out your template)

- craft knife (for cutting out your template)

- metal edge ruler (for cutting out straight edges of the pattern in your card)

How to do iris folding

There are some illustrated instructions on how to do iris folding here:

and here (top link on page):

Or you can watch this video:

Kids can do this craft too

Even though iris folding seems a little fiddly, children are still capable of doing this craft. In our homeschooling co-op group, we had children as young as 7 doing a great job with creating iris folding cards. Just choose the simpler patterns, such as the geometric patterns, for them to attempt. You may also need to cut out the shape out of the card for them. And if they complete one of the geometric shapes, they could could use their imagination to draw a picture around the shape eg a square could be made into a house, a mug, or a candle, a circle could be made into a crab or a flower etc.

Basic Tips

  • You may find it helpful to use a colored pencil to color the pattern to show which paper to use in that spot
  • You can print out the patterns then put them into a clear plastic pocket or laminate them so that they can be used over again without the sticky tape damaging them.
  • Use a paper trimmer to cut your strips - very quick and easy
  • It is best to use card to stick your strips onto since then you won't be able to see strips through paper that is too thin or light. You will probably have to use a craft knife to cut this card.
  • Make sure the folded edge of your paper or ribbon goes against the pattern line.
  • If the paper is not wide enough to fill the pattern gap, you can use a second piece to fill in the gap or cut a wider strip of paper.
  • Make sure you follow the numbers so that all your pieces will be lying correctly.
  • If you use folded paper, you don't need to use scissors to trim to the right size. I usually just rip the paper to the desired length. You won't see the ripped edge because it is on the back.
  • You can use fabric ribbon or florist ribbon (torn in half length-wise, then folded in half length-wise like the paper strips) instead of folded papers. You may decide it is better to fold the paper over one third rather than halfway since this will make the card less bulky.

Get Two Cards From One - Reuse the cutout section

Iris Folding Dress
Iris Folding Dress

Sometimes the card shape that you cut out will be suitable for making another card if you cut it out carefully, like these two lovely dresses shown here made by my daughter, Kaylee. (She gave me the one on the left for my birthday.) To see more of Kaylee's artistic work, see Facial Recipes and Flower Coloring Pages.

Iris Folding Patterns

Geometric Iris Folding Templates - Shapes - such as square, triangle, circle etc.

geometric iris folding
geometric iris folding

A triangle, square and pentagon. These patterns are colored so you can easily see which colored papers go where, but they are not numbered. The way to do them, is to start with one color. Stick it down. Then, working in a spiral, take the next color and stick it down. Keep working in a spiral taking the next color. Click on the numbers at the bottom of the screen to see a more detailed tutorial.

Hexagon (48pc), pentagon (40pc), square (32pc) and triangle (18pc)

An easy circle (16pc) with basic written instructions

Circle (40pc)

Oval (20pc)

Links checked Jun 2014

Free Flower Patterns - Great for Mother's Day Cards

flower iris folding
flower iris folding

8 petal flower pattern - 32 pieces

5 petal flower (35pc)

A flower cart (16pc). Also uses some paper punches

2 tulips (25pc)

Shamrock made up of 3 hearts (57pc)

Autumn leaf. Find "gabarit" on this page. The first three are the template and patterns for the leaf. Note the second one is based on a triangle and the third one is based on a square

Links checked Dec 2013

vase of flowers

rose bud

maple leaf

yellow flower

cute flower in a pot

colorful pot of flowers

watering can with flowers

watering can with background

Free Heart Patterns - add a little love

Heart Iris Folding Patterns
Heart Iris Folding Patterns

Instructions for making a Valentine's Day card with an iris folded heart (24pc). Includes a pattern and a suggested layout

A squashed heart (18pc) - shown above, although I made the heart a little pointier

The word "LOVE" - this template doesn't specify the order in which to lay the papers, so leave this pattern until you are more experienced

Links checked Jun 2013

heart couple

heart with arrow

heart gift box

Animal Patterns

animal iris folding
animal iris folding

This delightful puppy card was made by my daughter, Kaylee, who loves Cute puppies.

Cute terrier as done by my daughter above (28pc)

Several patterns here: poodle (32pc), sitting cat (23pc), dog paw (28pc), turtle (24pc), dachshund (I think it's a basset hound)(42pc) and a robin (15pc)

Butterfly (32pc)

Scroll down for another butterfly (36pc)

Sitting cat (55pc)

Horse head (30pc)

A bunny rabbit (23pc)

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a snail (24pc)

A chick hatching (28pc)

Lamb (26pc)

Rearing horse (30pc)

Kiwi (24pc)

Links checked Aug 2013










sitting cat

Food and Drink Patterns

Pumpkin (29pc + 2).

Strawberry (15pc)

Apple (15pc). To see the pattern, click on the link which says click here for printables

Links checked Oct 2013

wine bottle


block of chocolate

ice cream cone

cupcake with candle

birthday cake with candles

funky tiered birthday cake

champagne in ice bucket

Designs for Ladies - More Patterns Suitable for Mother's Day


Tea kettle template(32pc)

Scroll down a little for a perfume bottle (21pc), a cancer awareness ribbon (18pc) and a handbag (33pc + more)

Fan (8pc) - very easy pattern

Cameo face with a pretty hat (41pc)

Coffee grinder (20pc)

Scroll down for Best Dress - a skirt (20pc)

Links checked Nov 2013

elegant lady

hat and dress


lady's boot

stiletto boots

pretty handbag

little hat

lady's handbag

lady with black hat


old-fashioned shoe

What about a printable Mother's Day card?

Printable Mother's Day CardsMaking your own Mother's Day card is the perfect way to show your love to your mother. And printable Mother's Day cards are not that hard to make. Many of these...

Patterns for Men's Cards - Great Father's Day cards or Birthday Card for a Man

men's iris folding
men's iris folding

Train engine (26pc)

Instructions for making a boat / yacht (26pc) similar to the card shown above - suitable for a Father's Day card. Includes a template and a suggested layout

Fishing pole with a big fish (16pc)

Car (23pc)

Hot air balloon (26pc)

Tractor (28pc)

Links checked Dec 2013

Model plane


Golf cart


knight on horseback


What about a printable Father's Day card?

Printable Fathers Day CardsMaking your own Father's Day card is the perfect way to show your love for your Dad. And printable Father's Day cards can be quite easy to make. Many of the...

Patterns for Kids' Cards

For you to make for children

Raggedy Ann doll (31pc)

Rocking horse (26pc)

Sun bonnet Sue (23pc)

Balloon (24pc)

Princess Jasmine from Aladdin (not numbered)

Belle from Beauty and the Beast (not numbered)

Cinderella (not numbered)

Ariel from The Little Mermaid (not numbered)

Links checked May 2013

colorful clown

ice cream cone

pirate ship

teddy bear

toadstool house

fire truck


Baby Patterns

iris folding for baby
iris folding for baby

On this page you'll find IrisFoldingAlphabets0001.pdf. Use this alphabet to make the word BABY, GIRL, BOY or a short name

Baby's onesie outfit (26pc)

Baby carriage / pram (28pc)

Teddy bear (31pc)

Links checked May 2013

rubber duckie

baby bib

baby shoes

stork birth announcement

baby carriage

baby boy

cheeky monkey

baby feet

Wedding / Engagement Patterns

Scroll down to Pearl Wedding for a lovely heart card (9pc). This card also includes beads and weaving.

Stained glass window (58pc) - perfect for a wedding card or Easter card

Links checked May 2013

couple in love

wedding cake

couple in love

wedding couple

couple hearts

golden vine glasses

wedding rings

Christmas Patterns

Christmas iris folding
Christmas iris folding

On this page you'll find IrisFoldingAlphabets0001.pdf. Use this alphabet to spell Christmas words such as NOEL or JOY

Sleigh (17pc) + parcel (12pc) + others. Also a menorah perfect for Hanukkah.

Star of David (21pc) - in the picture above

Christmas stocking (30pc)

Christmas stocking (29pc) and Christmas bell (19pc)

Santa Clause (27pc + extras), Christmas lights (32pc) and Christmas tree (19pc)

Scroll down to Swirly Snowman for a cute snowman card (24pc). Also includes a Christmas robin (20pc), a plum pudding (20pc) and a Christmas ornament (25pc) - all based on circles

Scroll down to Fun Firs for some lovely fir trees(27pc)

Christmas snow globe (27pc)

A gingerbread man (28pc)

Links checked Oct 2013

Christmas penguin

Christmas tree

2 Christmas trees

Christmas decorations

3 wise men

Christmas decorations

Christmas holly

More Christmas card Ideas

Printable Christmas CardsOn this page there are links to dozens of printable Christmas cards.

Handmade Christmas Card IdeasOn this page you'll get lots of different ideas for making your own handmade Christmas cards this year.

Hanukkah Patterns

(Hanukkah menorah (22pc))

(Hanukkah candle (30pc))

(Scroll down for a menorah perfect for Hanukkah.(16pc))

Links checked May 2013

Easter Templates

A couple of crosses

Several patterns here: an iris folded cross (31pc), an Easter chick hatching (28pc), an Easter bunny (23pc), and a lamb (26pc)

Links checked May 2013

Easter eggs

Easter basket with flowers

Easter bunny

Fancy trying some printable Easter cards?

Printable Easter Cards

This Easter , as you decide on which Easter cards to send to your family and friends, why not consider making your own. These printable Easter cards will provide...

Iris Folding Cut Outs

One the fiddliest parts of iris folding is cutting out the "windows". Here are some cards from ebay with the patterns already cut out for you:

Haven't had enough yet?

I admit that it can be a little fiddly to get these free patterns printed out at the correct size for a card. So if you'd rather have a book with hundreds of ideas, all at the correct size, you may like to look at this book.

Are you interested in more free crafts? - Choose from cross stitch, knitting, origami and more

Craft Projects For All AgesI am compiling a list of craft projects (many of them free) available on the internet. So whether you're a child or an adult, there may be a craft project here to suit you.

Have you ever tried iris folding?

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    • Craftymarie profile image


      5 years ago

      I haven't done this for quite some time and yet it is a lot of fun. Thanks for the reminder :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this lens! beautiful and creative projects from just paper. Thanks for posting this fun, soon to be new hobby for me to do.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Holy Cow! I have just discovered a new craft to use with my scrapbooking and cardmaking! What a terrific lens! I will definitely be checking out those pattern links! Thanks for writing such a detailed lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I really like the Easter Basket with Flowers

    • GonnaFly profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Sorry Sylvie, I'm not really sure which pattern you're talking about...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      J'aimerais savoir comment faire un pétale de pétunia don't la coupe n'est pas droite.

      Votre site est de toute beauté, je vais lui référer fréquemment.

      merci et au plaisir de recevoir l'indication pour me dépanner.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Never tried iris folding, but your lens makes me want to give it a go! Great information here.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      yes, totally addicted now...

    • ResearchAddict profile image


      7 years ago

      I've never tried it - never heard of it until now. This is absolutely fascinating and beautiful. I love love love the teapot!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting lens. I'll have to try iris folding.

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      7 years ago

      This was a well written lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • EpicFarms profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, I've done a few (it's really a neat craft). Wonderfully done lens!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Oh this is so nice! I'll have to try this craft with my grandkids. Thanks for the great tutorial and links for more patterns.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      No, but it looks very cool!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image


      7 years ago

      I'll bet that takes some patience!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Iris folding looks a little complex, but I appreciate the crafts that allow you to move them around individually and configure them differently.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      I've never heard of this before. It looks like something related to scrapbooking. It looks beautiful, though! My artsy son would love doing this kind of stuff! Beautiful lens! Blessed and liked.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      7 years ago

      I've never seen how to do this before. It looks pretty simple and the possibilities are endless.

    • BuddyBink profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative video. An interesting and (looks to be) an easy and fun way to be crafty. Nice job.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      7 years ago from Kansas

      Oh. I think I've learned something new. I've never seen this technique before.

    • hlkljgk profile image


      8 years ago from Western Mass

      Congratulations on being featured on the 50 Crafts I Want To Try MonsterBoard!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      8 years ago

      great lens and a lovely art, thanx;)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      These are really attractive. I enjoy paper crafting during the winter and make my own Valentines every February.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow. I knew about this papercrafting area but had no idea of all the things that are possible. Thank you for including so many examples. I've always been curious about this, but now my brain is racing with possibilities. Blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice art

    • dustytoes profile image


      8 years ago

      I have never heard of this and it is a lovely form of art. Your daughter is very talented. Thanks for showing so many of the finished products.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      8 years ago

      I love the way the presentation and implementation of this lens. Iris folding is new to me and it looks very interesting that I would try it someday. Thanks for sharing. Favorited and blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These are really very nice. I like this lens.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful... i will certainly try this... Thumbs up!!!

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      8 years ago

      What a beautiful and easy to learn craft! Definitely making some Valentine's Day cards with these ideas...

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • wildlens profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens and a lot of cute designs. Thumbs up from me!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Beautiful work...blessed and added to my December Blessings lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Blessed by an angel

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      8 years ago from USA


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative lens with great instructions. Thumbs up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice idea for a lens. Very informative. Gave you a quick thumbs up.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You just made my day! Almost a year ago, my mom asked me if I'd heard of iris folding and being the least crafty person on earth the obvious answer was no. She, on the other hand, is the ultimate crafter and so she pulled out all of these beautiful strips of paper and showed me the cards she had made. They were gorgeous but finding designs can be so hard. Wait until she sees this great resource! And your lens looks amazing, too! ;)

    • hlkljgk profile image


      8 years ago from Western Mass

      this is so cool - and beautiful

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Never tried it or heard of it before, but now I'm definitely intrigued! Added to my favs.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      I have actually never seen this before and i love it. It is very similar to quilting. Fabulous! All of your designs are beautiful, but I especially like the puppy. Just adorable!

    • Petstrel LM profile image

      Petstrel LM 

      9 years ago

      A terrific lens!

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image


      9 years ago

      I've seen this before, but never tried it. It's really cool looking. Great lens. Blessed by an Angel.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      9 years ago

      I've never knew about iris folding. Interesting.

    • CCGAL profile image


      9 years ago

      I went to a craft class with my cousin once, and we made a card using this technique, but I had no idea it had a name or that there were so many wonderful things to do with it. This is a wonderful resource, and an excellent example of what makes Squidoo so great. Thumbs up, a fav, and I've posted to facebook. GOOD JOB!!!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      9 years ago from UK

      This looks like a lot of fun. Well done Kaylee on her beautiful designs!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      9 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Colorful and easy to follow page.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      9 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Yes, and I am happy to see you are using my video in which I make a fall themed card using iris folding. Great lens with lots of patterns. I'm giving it a lenroll.


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