How to Make An Iris Fold Card

This week we are tackling a papercraft technique that is having a resurgence; Iris fold paper designs. If you've never heard of an iris fold design, prepare to be wowed. These cards look super complicated, but Design Team Member Michelle is here to break it all down for you and show you how to make iris fold templates, what paper to use for iris fold cards, and share lots of tips for beginners who want to create an iris fold card design. Let's get started and answer some of the most common questions about iris folding. 

how to make an iris fold card held in hand featuring gray and teal patterned paper

If you want to just jump right into creating an iris fold card, you can watch this tutorial video and come back to read more about the most common questions after watching. 

What is the iris fold technique?

Iris folding is a paper crafting technique the uses small strips of folded paper to create geometric designs. The center of the design is called the iris, named after the iris of a camera. Iris folding is done with a pattern and the crafter lays strips of paper along the pattern to create a layered design. The finished iris fold can then be used on the front of a handmade card, or a scrapbook layout. 

The iris fold pattern is created on the back side of a paper "window" and when the card is flipped over to reveal the magic, only the beautiful geometric paper design shows through.

picture of supplies needed to make an iris fold pattern

What supplies are needed to make an iris fold card?

To make an iris fold card, you'll need to gather the following supplies.

  • Cardstock for your template  - This becomes the front of your card. I used Bazzill Smoothies in Coconut Swirl.
  • Coordinating lighter weight paper - 6x6 Paper Pads are great for this! 
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Transparent Scotch Tape
  • Washi Tape or any kind of removable tape
  • Scissors

What is the best paper for an iris fold design? 

An iris fold card is designed by stacking layers of folded paper. Because you are creating your design with lots of layers, lighter weight paper is better. If your cardstock is too thick, the underside of the card front (where all the layers are) will be too thick and your card front may bulge. 

For those reasons, I recommend you use paper that is 65# or less for iris fold designs. Many patterned papers meet these qualifications and we have several paper lines that are lighter weight, so they are perfect for layering.

(Need a refresher on paper weights, head here)

Recommended Papers for Iris Fold Designs

how to make an iris fold template

How do you make an iris fold template? 

I'm glad you asked. Though it looks super complicated, making an iris fold template is actually pretty easy once you understand the basic concepts. The iris fold pattern is just a series of squares that get smaller and smaller as they rotate inside of each other. It requires a bit of measuring, and the more precise you can be, the better your design will look, but honestly, it's best if you just grab a pencil and a ruler, watch the tutorial video and give it a shot. They say you learn best by trying and in this case, I think it's 100% accurate. 

Here's a Few Beginner Tips for Making Iris Fold Templates

  • Start with a square. This is the easiest pattern to make and will help you understand the basic concept. 
  • Grab some scraps and just give yourself a test run without the pressure of a finished product. Just try the technique and get familiar with how it all works. 
  • Use a pencil to draw your design. Mistakes happen and you want to be able to erase. 
  • If making your own iris fold template is too daunting, there are tons of free iris fold templates available online. Do a Google search and you'll find lots of options. 

So there you have it! You now have all of the info you need to learn how to make an iris fold pattern, and hopefully we've inspired some creativity so you'll be excited to try it on your own. 

pumpkin iris fold

After finishing my square card, I made a circle iris fold version and created this adorable pumpkin card. Are your creativity wheels spinning now? 

If you make one of these iris fold cards, be sure and share them with us over on our Facebook page, or by tagging us on Instagram


design team member michelle price

Here's another trending cardmaking idea!


  • Janet

    I made these cards using scraps in 4 different color ways and envelopes to match. I love how they came out. Have to buy more tape! LOL

  • Liz

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Naomi

    What a beautiful project. Definitely going to try it.

  • Karen

    Thank you for showing how to make your own iris folding pattern. I have done these in the past, long ago past! I think I will try it again.

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