Iris folding is a paper craft that originated in Holland using the patterned insides of envelopes. By layering strips of paper, you create a pattern that resembles the iris, or “eye,” of a camera. Hence the name.
Today iris folding has become popular and is done with a variety of materials. Scrap paper, wrapping paper and even ribbon can be used to create an iris fold design. Foil or holographic paper is especially attractive as the “iris” or center of the pattern.
Patterns for iris fold designs can be found in books or on the web. But you can also make your own patterns, so the design choices are limitless.
Tea bag folding also originated in Holland but is slightly different than iris folding. Tea bag folding is also known as miniature kaleidoscopic origami. It was created by a woman named Tiny van der Plaas. According to the story, Tiny was in need of a birthday card. As she sat thinking, she began absently folding a tea bag envelope that was on the table and tea bag folding was born.
Unlike more traditional origami, tea bag folding is used to create symmetrical designs and medallions.
So, the primary characteristic of an iris fold design is the iris. The primary characteristic of a tea bag fold is the symmetry. While similar, they are technically different.
Come learn more about iris folding and make three projects you can take home at our Iris Folding Techniques class.