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Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Cardmaking 301, Stars and Stamps, Tutorial, Uncategorized | 14 comments

Tutorial: Reverse Iris Folding

Are you ready for a five star challenge?? A little while ago we did an Iris Folding. This one is similar, with a little twist. It was sent to me by Melinda. (Lindy) It’s called REVERSE Iris Folding and the result is a stunning, origami looking design. She’s made up some really pretty samples and has lots of great ideas on paper selection and things to put in the center as a focal point. Here is an example of some of her finished cards. Aren’t they fun? I would imagine that this would be an excellent way to use up lots of leftover holiday paper, especially if you purchased one of those huge stacks. I think that I have a stack that I feel like donating to this cause… I can’t wait to get started! 

Reverse Iris Folding Tutorial

This is a fun and easier variation of traditional reverse iris folding. The traditional technique uses the same image (photo, print etc) reproduced 5 times, cut, layered and combined. The end result is the original image appearing as a combination of all of the layers. The artist needs to be very precise both in the cutting and layering since even a small variation will make the image appear distorted (A vintage Santa face I attempted didn’t look so great with facial distortion!) This variation of the traditional technique is quite forgiving and easy to master. (And you won’t end up with distorted faces or other disjointed images!)

Materials list:
5 coordinating or contrasting papers-lighter weight scrapbooking papers work best (you can use heavier papers but you will need to score the folds and your design will be bulkier) cut into 5 1/4’” x 3 ¾” pieces. *see notes and photos at end for some other ideas regarding paper choices*

Straight edge or ruler
Exacto knife
Cutting mat
Push pin, awl or other pointed tool -to make guide holes in the pattern and then poke through pattern for marking where to cut on each of your papers
Scotch tape
Adhesive for assembly of layers(ATG or other papercrafting roll on adhesive or tacky glue lightly applied. Glue sticks will NOT be strong or long lasting enough)
This is the pattern you will use to mark each of the 5 papers for cutting:

Right click on this to open the full size and print – it should print at the correct size for the tutorial.

Print it and attach it to a piece of cardboard that is 5 ¼” x 3 ¾” (same as your 5 sheets of paper)Notice the holes in the 4 corners of each shape, 1-5. Use pushpin or awl and enlarge each hole on the pattern.
After you decide the order of layers for your finished card, place paper for top layer behind your cardboard pattern(printed side facing back of pattern).

Use your pin or awl to poke 4 holes through the pattern and paper on each side of shape #1. The holes are marking your cutting lines for the next step. I use a piece of fun foam with the pattern and paper on top and just poke through both papers into the foam.

Repeat this hole poking in corners of shapes for #2-5 for each of the remaining papers, stacking each behind the pattern separately as you did for #1.
Now you are ready to cut-use the ruler/straight edge and cut 2 diagonal lines from hole to OPPOSITE hole. It’s way easier to see the holes and cut on the back side of your patterned paper. You will have 4 pointy wedges on each piece.

Work on the back side of your papers. Fold back each wedge from back of paper, trim so that the wedge doesn’t extend past the paper edge and tape to secure it down flat. *see note at end of instructions about using heavier papers

Repeat folding, trimming and taping with all 5 papers.

Almost finished! Time to assemble. Stack up all 5 papers in order, #1 on top to #5 on bottom and admire how cool it looks! Glue it all together by applying adhesive along edge and placing next layer on top. Don’t worry if edges aren’t perfectly aligned. You can trim it all after everything is together.

This size of layered papers will fit on a standard A-2 card(like most of our OWH cards) with a small border all around. If you want a center that is a different color than your card base, on the back side of the stack, tape a square of the desired paper. If you have a small sentiment that goes in the center, this is a good method of getting it placed well. Embellish the center as you wish otherwise. Use tacky glue or some other strong adhesive to attach gems, layered punched papers, stickers, brads, buttons etc.
A few ideas for different paper combinations:
Monochromatic colors can look cool if they are of differing textures. Try using embossing folders to add texture.

Try stamping an all over design on sheets of plain paper and using that for several or all of the pieces.


Don’t forget to stop by Lindy’s blog, Paper-Ravin’ to see some more excellent examples of this technique and to see some other really beautiful folded cards! Who is brave enough to give this technique a try? I love that you can use up tons of light weight patterned paper for these cards. I’ll add an InLinkz so that you can all show off your skills… Don’t forget to email me if you have any tutorial requests or submissions! 


  1. This looks really cool and a great way to use up some paper. Thank you! 🙂
    Melissa T.

  2. I really like this look a lot. I have done the “normal” way of Iris folding, but this is a really new way.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks. The paper folding gives the card maker a little variety and I can always stamp on the inside of the card.

  4. I realized I should have added this note at the end of the instructions-you can use heavier scrapbooking papers for this technique if you score the fold line after you cut the “x” in each paper.
    Heavier papers give this technique alot of cool dimension.

  5. This is just great! I’m definitely going to try this right now! Thanks.

  6. Oh wow – I love this! Great way to use some of my coordinating papers!

  7. wow. that is all I can say! I am adventurous but seriously…not EVEN going to try this one. I will just be impressed! lol

  8. This is so cool and the samples are great! I’ve done Iris Folding, but never quite mastered it. Way to much cutting and folding for me. I’m definitely giving this version a try.

  9. The inside papers were easy to do – the 2 top ones were cut so close to the edges I feel like I did them incorrectly. Love the look though. Thanks for the easy to follow directions!

    • The top 2 layers ARE really close to the edges. Don’t think you did it wrong! I end up re-trimming one side of each edge on a bit of an angle so I can put a tiny piece of tape on it. Fussy for sure but it does usually work. Glad you thought the instructions were easy to follow-I know the length is intimidating but once you see how it works, it’s an easy technique.

  10. I’ve done Iris Folding and absolutely love it! Will definately try this as well. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I had so much fun with this! I love this and it is very easy to do, 🙂

  12. Nice technique, TFS

  13. I love Iris folding. This looks more complicated to me, but I would love to try.


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