Iris folding is a paper craft technique that involves folding strips of colored paper in such a way to form a design. The center of the design forms an iris—a shape reminiscent of the iris diaphragm of a camera lens.
Iris folding originated in 20th-century Holland, where early craft people made their designs using patterned paper cut from the inside of envelopes. Today, crafters use any light weight paper, such as scrapbook paper, origami paper, wrapping paper, the inside of envelopes or pages of magazines. Ribbon is also used.
Iris folding is done with a pattern. The crafter uses the finished product to decorate the front of a greeting card, as a scrapbook embellishment, to decorate an altered book or a mixed media collage, or in various other ways.
Supplies for iris folding include a pattern, strips of colored paper, permanent transparent tape, cutting tools and a temporary tape such as painters tape. The temporary tape is used to hold the pattern in place while the craftperson creates the design.
Iris folding patterns are available from booksellers or as downloadable files made available on Internet web sites. Other craft persons doing iris folding create their own patterns.