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
- decorative paper (you can use the insides of business envelopes with different patterns)
- 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)
Craft Supplies From Amazon
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.
- 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
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.
Geometric Iris Folding Templates - Shapes - such as square, triangle, circle etc.
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
Links checked Jun 2014
Free Flower Patterns - Great for Mother's Day Cards
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
cute flower in a pot
colorful pot of flowers
watering can with flowers
watering can with background
Free Heart Patterns - add a little love
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 with arrow
heart gift box
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)
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)
Rearing horse (30pc)
Links checked Aug 2013
Food and Drink Patterns
Pumpkin (29pc + 2).
Apple (15pc). To see the pattern, click on the link which says click here for printables
Links checked Oct 2013
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
hat and dress
lady with black hat
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
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)
Hot air balloon (26pc)
Links checked Dec 2013
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)
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
ice cream cone
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
stork birth announcement
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
couple in love
golden vine glasses
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
2 Christmas trees
3 wise men
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 menorah (22pc))
(Hanukkah candle (30pc))
(Scroll down for a menorah perfect for Hanukkah.(16pc))
Links checked May 2013
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 basket with flowers
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?
Marie on January 18, 2014:
I haven't done this for quite some time and yet it is a lot of fun. Thanks for the reminder :)
janae-stuart-7 on December 12, 2013:
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.
ScentsWithBling on August 17, 2013:
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!
anonymous on May 19, 2013:
I really like the Easter Basket with Flowers
Jeanette (author) from Australia on January 22, 2013:
@anonymous: Sorry Sylvie, I'm not really sure which pattern you're talking about...
anonymous on January 17, 2013:
J'aimerais savoir comment faire un pÃ©tale de pÃ©tunia don't la coupe n'est pas droite.
Votre site est de toute beautÃ©, je vais lui rÃ©fÃ©rer frÃ©quemment.
merci et au plaisir de recevoir l'indication pour me dÃ©panner.
Craftymoose on November 27, 2012:
Never tried iris folding, but your lens makes me want to give it a go! Great information here.
anonymous on October 05, 2012:
yes, totally addicted now...
ResearchAddict on September 23, 2012:
I've never tried it - never heard of it until now. This is absolutely fascinating and beautiful. I love love love the teapot!
anonymous on August 26, 2012:
Interesting lens. I'll have to try iris folding.
Millionairemomma on May 07, 2012:
This was a well written lens. Thanks for sharing.
EpicFarms on February 29, 2012:
Yes, I've done a few (it's really a neat craft). Wonderfully done lens!
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on February 24, 2012:
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.
RocklawnArts on February 22, 2012:
No, but it looks very cool!
TransplantedSoul on February 06, 2012:
I'll bet that takes some patience!!!
jimmyworldstar on February 03, 2012:
Iris folding looks a little complex, but I appreciate the crafts that allow you to move them around individually and configure them differently.
Shannon from Florida on February 01, 2012:
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 on December 03, 2011:
I've never seen how to do this before. It looks pretty simple and the possibilities are endless.
BuddyBink on November 02, 2011:
Very informative video. An interesting and (looks to be) an easy and fun way to be crafty. Nice job.
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on October 28, 2011:
Oh. I think I've learned something new. I've never seen this technique before.
hlkljgk from Western Mass on September 15, 2011:
Congratulations on being featured on the 50 Crafts I Want To Try MonsterBoard!
Echo Phoenix on August 31, 2011:
great lens and a lovely art, thanx;)
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 18, 2011:
These are really attractive. I enjoy paper crafting during the winter and make my own Valentines every February.
resabi on August 10, 2011:
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.
seoacrossworld on August 03, 2011:
Very nice art
dustytoes on March 28, 2011:
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 on March 06, 2011:
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.
anonymous on February 22, 2011:
These are really very nice. I like this lens.
Harshitha LM on February 17, 2011:
Beautiful... i will certainly try this... Thumbs up!!!
Jennifer Sullivan from Chicago, IL on February 05, 2011:
What a beautiful and easy to learn craft! Definitely making some Valentine's Day cards with these ideas...
anonymous on January 21, 2011:
I AM VERY NEW TO IT BUT SO FAR I AM ENJOYING DOING IT
wildlens on December 10, 2010:
Great lens and a lot of cute designs. Thumbs up from me!
Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on December 09, 2010:
Beautiful work...blessed and added to my December Blessings lens.
KDimmick on December 06, 2010:
Blessed by an angel
Tonie Cook from USA on November 20, 2010:
scar4 on October 28, 2010:
Very informative lens with great instructions. Thumbs up!
WriterBuzz on October 02, 2010:
Nice idea for a lens. Very informative. Gave you a quick thumbs up.
Sojourn on September 29, 2010:
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 from Western Mass on September 28, 2010:
this is so cool - and beautiful
Angela F from Seattle, WA on September 21, 2010:
Never tried it or heard of it before, but now I'm definitely intrigued! Added to my favs.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 20, 2010:
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 on September 17, 2010:
A terrific lens!
eclecticeducati1 on September 16, 2010:
I've seen this before, but never tried it. It's really cool looking. Great lens. Blessed by an Angel.
VarietyWriter2 on September 08, 2010:
I've never knew about iris folding. Interesting.
CCGAL on August 21, 2010:
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!!!
Indigo Janson from UK on June 09, 2010:
This looks like a lot of fun. Well done Kaylee on her beautiful designs!
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on May 30, 2010:
Colorful and easy to follow page.
June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on April 21, 2010:
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.