I first discovered Iris Folding through a library book. It took a long time to understand the instructions, but I figured it out and made tons of Christmas Tree cards that year! Iris Folding has a learning curve, and after that, each project still takes awhile. For that reason I make fewer greeting cards and more frame-worthy projects. Plus, after learning the traditional methods I decided to be less rigid with my style. I prefer more random color patterns & less calculated placements of each paper, and I don’t care for the “Iris” shape in the center. Plus, for this project I’m using paint chip samples, which if I folded them, they’d be way too thick! So, this project is inspired by Iris Folding, but if you’d like to see the original methods, I recommend the book 460 Iris Folded Cards to Make: The Complete Iris Folded Compendium. And for more images & inspiration, check out the Flickr Iris Folding Handmade Cards Group.
Here are instructions to make this tree, along with a free original pattern.
Paint chip samples-a variety of green colors & one brown
5″ x 7″ piece of white cardstock
Paper Cutter, sharp craft knife, scissors, & cutting mat
Printout of my tree pattern *You’re welcome to use this pattern for any personal use. Please do not use for anything you would sell without permission. Thanks!*
5″ x 7″ frame
A clean workspace-your cardstock is white, so dirt will show!
1. On your cutting mat, use the craft knife to cut out the perimeter of the tree pattern. Trace this shape onto the center back of your 5″ x 7″ piece of white cardstock. Cut apart the pattern where the greenery & tree trunk meet. Discard the tree trunk portion.
2. Use the craft knife to cut out the perimeter of the tree on the cardstock. Discard the inner tree cutout.
3. Roll up a piece of tape & adhere the greenery part of the tree pattern to your work surface. Lay the cardstock over the pattern & line them up. Use a piece of tape to tape the left side of the cardstock to your work surface to keep it from moving.
4. Cut a rectangle that’s just slightly larger than the tree trunk from the brown paint chip sample. Set it aside.
5. Use your paper cutter to cut the green paint chip samples into strips that are just slightly larger than 1/4″ in width. The amount of strips will vary depending on the length of strips you have. For my project I cut 2-3 strips of 10 colors and had a few leftovers.
6. This first paper where the greenery meets the branch is the hardest, but after this the pattern moves quickly. Use your pencil to draw little hash marks on the pattern where the trunk meets the greenery. Remove the tree pattern from your work surface, turn it upside down, & draw the hash marks on the other side of the pattern.
Find the number 1 on the pattern. Cover the entire number 1 section with a strip of green paint chip paper that’s upside down (green faces the pattern). Allow each end to overlap beyond the pattern, and cut off the excess.
While holding the strip & pattern together, draw on the green paper the location of the trunk and the bottom outline of the greenery. Use scissors to cut out this section (you can cut wider near the trunk area.) Make sure not to cut off the overlapping edges though. The goal is to make a nice edge to the greenery.
7. Now replace the tree pattern to your workspace. Tape the number 1 piece face-down to your cardstock. Here’s what the front will look like.
8. Take your brown rectangle for the trunk and tape it in place face-down. It should slightly cover the number 1 strip.
9. Cover the number 2 section with a strip of paint chip paper face-down. Cut off excess & tape into place. Continue numerically with the rest of the pattern through the end.
10. When finished, place your artwork in a 5″ x 7″ frame.