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Card Class 2: Tutorial #3 - Card Making Idea

Strip Folding Heart

What we will be making:

In this greeting card tutorial, make a card for Mother's Day or your sweetheart that features a framed heart while learning how to use a strip folding template. Once you learn this technique using the heart template, additional motifs can be made using other templates.

What is strip folding? Strip folding is a card making technique using long folded strips of paper. It is based on foundation piecing, sometimes called paper piecing, a popular quilt making technique. In fact, many of the templates designed for foundation piecing can be used to create beautiful motifs for greeting cards. Simply put, use single block foundation piecing quilt templates and apply the folded strips in reverse order. Try out the heart template in this project to get started!

This greeting card tutorial builds on the Card Class 2, Tutorial #2: Strip Folding Cards and previous tutorials in the original Greeting Card Class set of tutorials. If you are new to card making, review these tutorials for ideas and basic techniques.

Refer to Card Class Tutorial #1: Four Patch Cards for how to make card blanks and envelopes.

Here's what you need:
  • Card blank, blue or white: 4¼″ by 5½″
  • Decorative papers in blue and red
  • Coordinating solid colored papers
  • Strip folding template (see below)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler, cutting mat and craft knife
  • Glue stick
  • Removable clear tape
  • Optional: Brayer or wallpaper seam roller, double-sided foam mounting tape, colored pencils

This is a Greeting Card Class 2 tutorial and is rated AVERAGE to do.

How to Make a Card with a Strip Folding Heart

Read through the tutorial before starting.
Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It

Choose the pattern for the heart template you would like to use. Download and print the pattern on paper. Each pattern includes a template in two sizes—2¼" and 3". Tip: Print the black & white templates if you plan to use colors other than blue and red, then color the template strip areas to match your color scheme.

The sample card featured in this tutorial uses the Heart Templates. Once you understand the strip folding technique, try the Striped Hearts template. 

Heart Templates
Printable pattern for strip folding heart templates
Striped Hearts
Printable pattern for strip folding striped heart templates

Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The Adobe Reader is available for free.

All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter size paper (8.5"x11" or A4). When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.

Paper selection Step 2: Select Papers

Select coordinating papers for the heart motif's strip areas, the inner frame and the outer frame. Choose solid color papers for the frames and decorative papers for the heart motif. A colored card blank works well with the heart motif.

The recommended colors for the heart motif's strip areas are blue for the background areas and red for the heart areas. You can use multiple papers in each tone or a single decorative paper.

The sample card uses two of of Aunt Annie's ePapers for the motif: Green-blue Marbled Stones and Red nonpareil marbled paper. The inner frame is made with yellow paper and the outer frame with turquoise paper. The sample's card blank is dark blue cardstock.

Strip folding template - heart motif Step 3: Using a Strip Folding Template

A strip folding motif is created by applying folded strips to a paper frame according to a template. The template consists of areas to be filled with folded paper strips, numbers indicating the order for filling the areas, and arrows showing the direction an area is filled.

For example, fill the strip areas of the heart template in numeric order, 1 through 7. Lay the strips with the folded edge in the direction of the arrow in the area. If multiple strips are used to fill an area, lay overlapping strips at a right-angle to the arrow. Start from the arrows tail and align the last strip to the side of the area pointed to by the arrow. Tip: Review the step-by-step illustrations below.

Cut, fold and glue strips Step 4: Make Folded Strips

Cut, fold and glue strips to fill the template's strip areas. You may use a single strip to fill an area or multiple overlapping strips. For overlapping strips, cut strips that are ¾" to 1½" wide (widths are before folding.)

When using a single strip for each area, the  2.25" inch template requires 2½" wide red strips and 2" wide blue strips. For the 3" template, use 3" for red and 2½" for blue.

Tip: Plan on using overlapping strips with the Striped Heart templates.

Fold the strips in half lengthwise and glue the layers together. Tip: For better adhesion, roll the strips with a brayer or a wallpaper seam roller.

Make inner frame Step 5: Make Inner Frame

Cut four yellow folded strips for the frame—2¾" long for the 2.25" template and 3½" long for the 3" template. Arrange the strips into a square using the template as a guide. Glue the strips together at the corners. Be sure to turn the folded edges of the strips toward the center of the frame.

Tape frame to template Step 6: Tape Frame to Template

Tape the frame to the template using removable tape on each corner. Turn the frame so the best side is down—this is the front of the frame. The heart motif will be built on the frame by gluing strips to it in the order specified on the template.

Fill strip areas 1 to 4 Step 7: Apply Folded Strips

Cut a length of the blue strip for area #1 that is long enough to go across the corner of the frame. Lay the strip, with the folded edge toward the center, across the corner and glue to the frame. Align the folded edge of the strip to the side of the area pointed to by the arrow.

Do the same for areas #2, #3 and #4, filling each corner area with a single folded strip or overlapping layers of folded strips.

For the Striped Heart template, use the dashed lines in area #3 as guides for placing overlapping strips to create a striped heart.

Tip: Don't worry if the strips extend beyond the outside edge of the frame. You will trim them in a later step.

Fill strip areas 5 and 6Cut a red strip to fill area #5, glue in place, applying glue to the strips that are overlapped. Cut a blue strip to fill area #6 and glue.

Tip: Be careful not to glue the strips to the template or the tape holding the frame corners in place.

Fill final strip area - #7Cut a strip that is large enough to cover the remaining area, #7, and glue in place.

Front of heart motifRemove the tape and flip the frame over to see the completed heart motif.

Add outer frame to motif Step 8: Add Outer Frame (optional)

If you like, use solid color blue strips to create an outer frame. Glue the strips in place, leaving just a little of the yellow frame showing.

Trim heart motifStep 9: Trim Motif

Trim any paper that extends beyond the outer edge of the frame. Tip: For best results, use a craft knife, ruler and cutting mat to trim the excess paper away. Place the ruler such that a narrow sliver of the frame will also be cut way.

Step 10: Assemble Card

Glue the heart motif to the card front. Add a coordinating accent strip across the card near the bottom.  Tip: The motif's back can be difficult to glue to the card due to uneven layers. To avoid this problem, use double-sided foam tape to mount the motif.

Assembled card using heart motif

That's it! Use the same technique to create folded strip motifs using other templates.


Before you start a tutorial:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read through the tutorial.
  • Think about what you plan to make. Imagine how you can add your own creative touch.
  • Gather the materials you will need.
Get ready, and get started!!!
Sample cards with multiple strips used to fill strip areas

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Tip: For more interest, use multiple overlapping strips to fill the strip areas.

Share images of your strip folding cards to the Greeting Card Class Flickr group or on Aunt Annie's Facebook wall.

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