Inventive iris folding

Posted by TheDocraftsTeam, 09 Aug, 2017

Set your sights soaring with trimming, folding and scoring, and revisit a classic papercraft technique.

There’s a reason that some crafts hang around for decades; iris folding is a perfect example. Originating in cool and crafty Holland in the 20th century, the technique, which consists of assembling many small, folded pieces of paper in a decorative pattern, hasn’t changed much since. Ever as effective as it was those many years ago, we fancied our chances of adding a contemporary spin to the much-loved method. Differing from the traditional way of framing the folded design in a pretty shaped aperture, we’ve used the folded papers as a means of decoration for one super colourful hot air balloon design. All you need is a 6 x 6" paper pack, a set of paper creasers and a strong adhesive and you’re well away! If hot air balloons aren’t quite up your street, the technique could easily be replicated to create any design of your choice – coming up with your own template is easy once you know how!

If you’re a complete beginner to iris folding, bigger is better. We’ve used an A4 card blank to display our balloon. However, if you wish to recreate our design in a smaller size, simply shrink the template. As your confidence grows and your precision folding skills are unleashed, start to cut and fold smaller strips… There’s no limit! With an easy template and our step-by-step guide to follow, your iris folding skills will be fl ying high in no time.

1. Transfer the templates on page 93 onto cardstock and cut out each section – five to make up the balloon (1-5), one for the basket (6) and then the final piece (7).

2. Select five colours of paper. Trim into 2cm wide strips using a paper trimmer or a metal ruler and a craft knife. Score and fold each of the pieces 5mm in from the edge.

3. Apply double-sided tape to the coloured side of the 5mm strip and the white side of the 15mm section. Repeat on all of the cut strips.

4. For the central balloon section, measure rows 1cm apart at an angle of 45° along the whole length of the panel, making sure they're centred and even. Repeat on the other side.

5. Starting from the bottom, position a coloured strip along one of the 45° lines so that it just overhangs the vertical centre of the piece. Alternate coloured strips until you have covered the whole piece, then flip the panel over and trim the edges with a sharp pair of scissors.

6. For the side panels of the balloon, take a strip and (starting from the bottom) stick it along the inside edge so that the horizontal fold slightly overhangs the side of the panel. Take a second strip in a different colour and stick it a little further up the panel, but angled outwards slightly. Repeat this process, alternating colours, until the whole piece is covered. Once again, flip the panel and trim the edges.

7. Cut out single colour panels using sections two and three of the template. Transfer the shape onto the white side of the paper before cutting out. Arrange all five onto a sheet of white cardstock. Once happy with the layout, stick everything into place. The iris folded sections will be significantly thicker than the rest, so use 3D foam tape to raise the other elements so that they're all level. To complete the balloon, cut away any excess cardstock with your scissors.

8. Cut the basket from kraft cardstock and attach to the balloon with a few lengths of twine, securing the three strands in place with a little masking tape. To decorate the balloon, centrally adhere a wooden number four and die cut 'Today' using the Xcut mini alphabet dies. Stick each in place with a thin layer of Anita’s Tacky Glue.

9. Cut clouds from grey and white pearlescent cardstock, positioning some behind and others in front of a blue sheet of vellum. Stick in place on an A4 card blank.

Project and how-to instructions by Jason Cluitt. Project originally published in issue (81) of docrafts Creativity magazine.

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