Feature Friday- Iris Folding with Fabric

iris folded fabric

My guest bathroom has had blank walls for years.  Simply because I just haven’t come across what I really wanted in there.  Then I ran across an old vintage crafting magazine that mentions the art of Iris Folding.  Iris Folding involves folding strips of paper and glueing them down following a grid outline.  It is called Iris folding because the final result resembles the iris of a camera.

I wanted to put my own style into this technique, so I decided to use fabric instead of paper, and mount the finished art on some small dollar store canvases to create a montage for my blank bathroom wall.

For this project I used:

 6 ea. 8″ x 8″ canvases
Assorted fabric pieces in greens and purples
Lots of hot glue
Balsa wood strips (for finishing)
Brown acrylic paint

iris folding pattern

I started by drawing out my pattern on a piece of paper that was the exact size of my canvases.  This is the pattern that I decided to use.  Be sure to number it as you will definitely use those numbers as you go along.  Start numbering from the outside with the number one and end in the center.  You can find a similar Iris Folding Pattern to print out from my Free Pattern Page.

Cut your fabric into roughly 2 inch wide strips for easy folding.  Then beginning with the number one, fold a selected strip of fabric in half lengthwise and place it directly over the number one section of your pattern with the fold towards the inside.

Select a second strip of fabric, fold it lengthwise and lay it over the number two section, overlapping the first strip being sure to have the fold toward the inside.  Add a dot of hot glue at the intersection of the two fabrics.

iris folding fabric iris folding fabric

Do the same with the third section, and so on.

iris folding fabric

You will get a rhythm to this as you go and use plenty of hot glue, so keep extra glue sticks handy.  Always remember to place the fold of the fabric towards the center.

The final section will just be a square in the center.  Cut your fabric larger than the center square and hot glue it down.

iris folding fabric

Then flip it over!  Cool, right?

iris folding fabric

To mount these on my canvases, I simply put a bunch of hot glue down and centered the finished piece onto my canvas.  And then used hot glue to glue the fabric down over the sides and towards the back.

iris folding fabric iris folding fabric

You could stop here, but I wanted a finished look on my edges.  Sort of a frame.  So I cut strips of 1/4″ balsa wood to fit around the edges of the canvas.  And of course, I used hot glue to hold them down.  I really love hot glue.

My final touch was to paint the frames brown.

iris folding fabric wall art

I’m very pleased with the result.  I plan in the future to experiment a bit more with the Iris Folding technique.  There are so many possibilities!

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Enjoyed this tutorial?  Be sure to check out my tutorial page for many more!

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Michelle Roberts November 16, 2017, 4:44 am

    Wowzeers, I was looking at iris folding, and was sure it would look great using fabrics, then I found your tutorial – wowzeers I love love love these. Would you be OK for me to have a go at making these for my blog with a link to your page? Huge thanks in advance xx

  • Anita July 23, 2015, 10:00 am

    This is such an amazing idea! Thanks for sharing it. I’m Anita visiting from Showcase Your Talent Thursday.

  • Jamie July 22, 2015, 8:37 pm

    Those are beautiful!! I’ll have to try this out and see if I can actually do it! 🙂

  • Maria@SewTravelInspired July 19, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Susan, this is absolutely beautiful! I would hang something like this for my sewing room. Come join the linky party. I would love to see this posted on Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  • MPaula April 16, 2014, 12:44 am

    I just started Iris Paper Folding. I thought it would be well suited for fabric, especially considering I have a mountain of beautiful fabric. I have been using magazines, calendars, flyers, wrapping paper and anything I find around the house. Thanks for proving that fabric works. (swoon>

  • Wendy Nielsen February 20, 2013, 8:16 am

    Fantastisk but where is the printer friendly button.

  • Debi M February 14, 2013, 10:31 am

    These would be wonderful as gifts for birthdays or christmas.

  • Marilyn December 27, 2012, 4:25 pm

    Oh my goodness I have so much fabric just waiting to do this! Thank you so much!

  • swati April 25, 2012, 3:54 pm

    amazing art , why not put a small mirror in that space in between , would give an amazing shine

  • Theresa M February 24, 2012, 12:07 am

    OMG! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! I have some Batik fat quarters and scraps that would look amazing with this idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Randal Bradford January 8, 2012, 11:15 pm

    Girl, you make me SICK ……..with jealousy LOL…you never fail to amaze me with your ideas and creativity…and now I have an idea for the iris folding but its not using fabric or paper….I’ll keep the secret until I see if its going to work LOL..again your work is beautiful as always!

    • Suzy January 9, 2012, 5:58 am

      Thank you! And now you have me totally intrigued! Let me know how your project turns out!


    • Kathleen Kempen October 18, 2017, 12:13 am

      Did you ever get successful with your idea regarding Iris Foldng “not” using fabric?

  • KatieQ January 7, 2012, 11:00 am

    Thanks for sharing. They look absolutely fabulous.

  • Jaan January 7, 2012, 10:25 am

    Oh, love this idea for decorating. We are moving to a huge city, new home, etc. And this will be a great way to use up odd pieces of cloth that I just can’t seem to throw away. Thanks for showing us how to create something so uniuqe.

  • randee January 6, 2012, 10:35 pm

    LOVE your blog!!! I am your newest CHAOTIC follower!! Hope you will ocme check out my CHAOS!!

  • Christine January 6, 2012, 2:15 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this on catch as catch can. This is so cool and I can’t wait to try it myself!

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