Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simplified Iris Folding Black Cat tutorial

I love iris folding! It is one of the first techniques I learned to do and I still like it. It is simple and creates a stunning results. Thinking about the Kids Crafts Halloween crop that Amy E and myself are planning for this Saturday at Fiskateers I had an idea for a simple iris folding Halloween project that will be suitable for kids.

There are plenty great iris folding tutorials on the web, I am not going to write another one, I will just show step-by-step how I did my project. I like to use the generic iris folding templates that I found few years ago on the web. Thy are created by Judy Headrick. Each pdf file contains the same template in different sizes. The number of edges will determine the number of the different types of paper that will be needed for the project. For the cat project I used the triangle template.

1. Download the template and print it.
2. Cut a 5"x7" piece of cardstock for the background. I used orange.
3. Cut a 2.5" circle opening using aUSX and a circle shape template in the lower part of the cardstock piece.

3. Attach the cardstock with the opening to the template page face down using temporary adhesive. Triangle template page gives 4 sizes of triangles. When you select a template make sure that the template is larger than the opening. I used the largest triangle. Center the iris as you wish. I put the iris slightly off center. Transfer the numbers on the template that are not visible to the visible part. See the next picture.

4. Choose 3 patterned papers or cardstock to use. I used different types of black - some printed paper from an old paper pack, some Bazill bling and some shiny paper that was a CD envelope in it's former life. Cut few strips of each paper 1/2" width.

5. Create a key. You can skip this if you know what are you doing, but if you work with kids it is nice to have a key. Mark 3 sides of iris with different signs. I put circle, asterisk and star. Glue 3 square samples of the chosen papers and mark them with a selected sign. See next picture.

6. Apply adhesive around the opening and start covering the stripes in the pattern with corresponding stripes of paper. Start with the lowest visible number. Remember that that the paper goes face down. If the iris is not in the center like in my example, some of the numbers will be missing. It is ok. Continue from the lowest to the highest number applying adhesive where needed to secure the strips. That's where the simplified part comes in. In traditional iris folding you use pattered paper or origami paper and you fold each strip. To make it easier for the kids we are not folding the paper. As a bonus we can use cardstock and thicker patterned paper.
7. Continue till you are done and only one triangle is left uncovered.
8. Remove the temporary adhesive, flip the cardstock and decide what paper to use for the last triangle (the iris). Cut a piece of paper large enough to cover the iris and adhere it from the back
8. Cut a piece of cardstock large enough to cover the mess and adhere it to the back of the project.
9. Flip it over and admire.
10. Cut out a cat head from a piece of cardstock (I made a template for my daughter to use) and attach a pipe cleaner tail. You are done!
Notes: I made this project with my 8 years old daughter. I cut the opening and attached the cardstock to the template. She chose the paper, cut the paper stripes, built the key (with my help) and completed the project. She decided to make a face for her cat and than she added the paws, the fish and the trash can :)

In a similar way I used an oval shape and a square iris folding template to make a witch hat

Hope it is clear enough. Post your questions in the comments :)


  1. I found your blog through Scrappy Times. I think the cat is fantastic!! Where do the templates come from?

  2. Maya, I've never tried Iris Folding before. But this looks fun and definitely seeing my kids liking to do it. It's sort of a papercrafter's version of connect the dots or paint by number. :P
    Love the pipe cleaner for the cat tail!

  3. I found your blog through fiskateers. I like the aspect of easy iris folding. I think my daughter would like to make that cat for your challenge.