Tutorial: A Fan using the Dahlia fold

Today I want to show you how to make a fan embellishment for your paper projects that will lie flat.  Of course you can make an accordion folded fan, but it will not fare well once you stuff it in an envelope.  This fan is deeply dimensional, but flattens nicely.

The two main things you will need are double-sided paper and circle punches.  The radius of your fan will be the diameter of the circles you will need to cut.  For example, if you want a fan that is two inches wide, you will need a one inch circle punch.  If you don't have double-sided paper, then color the back by brayering or burnishing with a dye ink.

If your paper has a repeating motif, try to punch your circles so that they are identical.  

This paper doesn't have a repeating motif, so I tried to simply make sure they looked as similar as possible on the top edge.
Crease each circle into quarters by first folding it in half vertically, opening it back up, then folding it in half horizontally, then opening it again.  This is the back of my demonstration piece.   I cannot stress this enough - keep track of the top of your circle!  Double-check before you fold!
With the back side facing up, fold the curves towards the center, using the bottom and side creases as guidelines.  Because the back side is up, it is very easy to accidentally fold the wrong edges.  Double-check before you fold!
To complete the "petal", flip it over so the right side is up.  fold the two folded edges from the previous step to the center crease.  It looks a little open in this photo because I'm not pressing it down, but the two edges do meet in the middle.
Put an arc of glue on your base.  I like tacky glue for this because I can slide the petals around to adjust them.  This base is an ATC, and the circles I am using here are 1 1/4 inches.

Here is the completed card.  After I glued the petals in a fan shape, I put a doodad in the middle.  This particular doodad is a gold charm, and it already had a hole for a ribbon.   I like putting ribbons on my fans, a consequence of too many years at the ren faire.
You can go to any size.  You can see by the grid underneath that the circles are only slightly over a half inch in diameter.  Note also that I carefully punched the paper to give me identical circles, and lined them up so that the white flower is at the top.

It's an inchie!  a fancy brad is enough for a hinge.
Stripes are great for these fans, but one again, be careful how you line them up!  they will look good either horizontal or vertical, but terrible if you mix them up or don't pay attention.
This is a standard size card.  I used 2 inch circles, and to make the handle, I first punched a small flower out of gold cardstock, then punched a hole for the ribbon.  I wrapped the ribbon in gold wire to make a handle.  See how dramatic the stripes are?

I hope you will give this a try.  I would love to see your results!

Diane in Idaho sent me a photo of her fan.  She says that this is a work in progress, but doesn't this fan work perfectly with the image?  The heart brad at the hinge is terrific, too!  Then she made this one, using half-inch circles:

Jeannie has a great dahlia fold fan on her blog - you can see how great it looks when the papers in the fan are echoed in the layers on the card.  She also made a medallion using scalloped circles.

Becky Partan of My Paper Moon Stamps put made a card using the same paper in the background, the fan, and paperpieced as the kimono on her image .  She left the back white, and the contrast really pops!

Vicky did an awesome job using this fan in her vintage themed shadowbox. Not only geishas hold fans!
Juliet Arrighi


Shelly Schmidt said...

Excellent tutorial and I love how you show the fan in all different sizes.

Beach Cat ! said...

OH my gosh these are soooo teensy. Dahlia fold on an inchie, now that is really something. I do thing they are very effective, nice job girl!

Gerri Herbst said...

Fabulous tutorial. Loved your folded piece today for the red and gold challenge. take care, gerri

Shar B said...

Such a great technique! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

Becky said...

I printed out the instructions and finally made one. I'll post it to my blog so you can see it. I'm not sure it's absolutely correct, but I kinda like it. My blog is www.becky-mypapermoon.blogspot.com