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A card with a
surprise inside!

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Examples of step pop-ups
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Pop-Up Card Crafts

Step Pop-Up Card Ideas

What you will make:

Everyone enjoys receiving a card with a pop-up inside. It's easier than you might think to add a pop-up to one of your handmade greeting cards. For inspiration look at the three cards with step pop-ups presented below, then check out the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial for detailed instructions and how to make the pop-up mechanism.

If you are new to card making, review the Greeting Card Class tutorials for ideas and basic techniques. For how to make card blanks and envelopes, see the Four Patch Cards tutorial or see the Envelopes to Make craft project for envelope templates and instructions.

Here's what you need:
  • White or blue card blank: 4¼″ by 5½
  • White and colored paper and cardstock
  • Decorative paper strips or scraps
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Fine-tip black marker
  • Ruler or paper trimmer
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Optional: Colored pencils, markers, rubberstamps and stamp pad

This project is rated EASY to AVERAGE to do.

Make Step Pop-Up Cards

Read through the instructions before starting.

Scroll down to see the instructions for the three card options. Two of the card options use digital paper that you download and print on white paper. The second card, Clip-Art Pop-up Invitation, requires clip-art downloaded from the internet, and rubberstamps.

#1: Paper Appliqué Birthday Pop-Up Card
Happy Birthday step pop-up with flowers Paper applique Sun card face
Decorative paper:
Solid color paper or cardstock:
  • Blue and white cardstock
  • Yellow, light blue and green paper
  • Two white card blanks: 5½″ by 8½″ cardstock folded in half
Other tools:
  • Butterfly and flower rubber stamps
  • "Happy Birthday" rubber stamp
  • Black stamp pad
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Two white card blanks: 5½″ by 8½″ cardstock folded in half
  • Opaque white marker

Appliqué card: Download the Clouds in blue sky and Abstract bright ePapers and print on white paper. Use the printed papers and the blue cardstock to make the card front following the instructions in the Paper Appliqué Cards tutorial. Write "Happy Birthday" on the card front with an opaque white marker.

Prep work for pop-up:  Download the Light blue dots ePaper and print on light blue paper. Cut a 5½″ by 2" rectangle from the printed paper. Cut a 5½″ by 1½″ strip from the green paper. Follow the instructions in the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial to make a step pop-up mechanism with three step platforms using the Step Pop-up Platform Template for a three-step card.

Stamp and color images: Stamp butterfly and flower images on white cardstock. Color them with pencils or markers and cut out. Stamp "Happy Birthday" on a strip of white cardstock and trim away excess cardstock.

To assemble card: Refer to the picture above and follow the instructions in the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial for completing the pop-up and gluing it inside the card.

#2: Clip-Art Invitation Pop-Up Card
Clip-Art Invitation Pop-Up Clip-Art Invitation Pop-Up Card
Solid color paper or cardstock:
  • Red, turquoise, and white cardstock
  • Two white card blanks: 5½″ by 8½″ cardstock folded in half
  • Glossy photo paper, optional
Other tools:
  • Cupcake, ¾" square, and little swirl rubber stamps
  • "Surprise!" and "You're Invited" rubber stamps
  • Black and blue-green stamp pads
  • Black marker

Clip-Art card: Find and print a balloons image of your choice. A larger image, that is wider than it is tall, is best. You can use Google Advanced Image search to find a balloons image larger than 1024 by 768. Tip: Print the image on glossy photo paper for a shiny look. See the Matted Clip-art and Photo Cards tutorial for detailed instructions and more tips.

Download and print the Clip-Art Frames pattern, then cut out the second largest scalloped edge template. Trace around this template on the red cardstock and cut out. Trim the template down to the next size template, trace around it on the back of the balloons image, and cut out. Glue the balloons cutout to the red cutout and glue to the card front. Stamp "You're Invited" on white cardstock, trim to a rectangle, and mat with red cardstock. Glue to the card front.

Prep work for pop-up:  Create a message card for the pop-up. Make a checkerboard background on white cardstock by stamping the ¾" square stamp using the blue-green stamp pad. Make lighter colored squares by stamping a second or third time without going back to the stamp pad. Stamp "Surprise!" on the checkerboard along with some swirls. Cut out the checkerboard and mat with turquoise cardstock. Follow the instructions in the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial to make a step pop-up mechanism with one step platform. If you like, use the Step Pop-up Platform Template for a one-step card.

Tip: See how to make a Background Stamp.

To assemble card: Refer to the picture above and follow the instructions in the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial for completing the pop-up and gluing it inside the card. Stamp cupcake images above the pop-up. Color them with pencils or markers. Stamp some extra swirls, cut out and glue on the message card. Stamp "You're Invited" inside the card and write the details for the event.

#3: Strip Folding Heart "Love You" Pop-Up Card
Love you pop-up Strip Folding Heart card
Decorative paper:
Solid color paper or cardstock:
  • Turquoise and white cardstock
  • Turquoise and yellow paper
  • Blue and white card blanks—each 5½″ by 4¼″
Other tools:
  • Star rubber stamps
  • "I love you", "Missing You", "love" and "Thinking of You" rubber stamps
  • Black, blue, green and blue-green stamp pads

Strip folding card: Download the Green-blue Marbled and Red marbled ePapers and print on white paper. Use the printed papers to make the card following the instructions in the Strip Folding Heart Cards tutorial. Be sure to rotate the heart motif so the card is horizontal.

Prep work for pop-up:  Create a message card for the pop-up. Stamp "Thinking of You!" on white cardstock and add stars in green, blue and blue-green. Cut out the message card and mat with turquoise cardstock. Follow the instructions in the Step Pop-Up Cards tutorial to make a step pop-up mechanism with one step platform. If you like, use the Step Pop-up Platform Template for a one-step card.

To assemble card: Refer to the picture above and follow the instructions in the Step Pop-up Platform Template tutorial for completing the pop-up and gluing it inside the card. Stamp "I love you", "Missing You", and "love" on the inside of the card along with more stars.

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to make the card.
  • Think about the person getting the card and the card's sentiment.
  • Think about the card and imagine how it will look.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Balloon pop-ups in birthday card or party invitation

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Related crafts: See the Pop-up Cards index for more ways to make pop-up cards.

Mother's Day card with heart pop-up

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A number 3 pop-up with a birdie

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Tip: Make a birthday card that features the child's age as a pop-up. After you make Pop-up Birthday Cards, you will be able to add a similar V-fold pop-up to any greeting card.

Greeting card with special arched mat

Tip: Mats and clip-art can be cut in shapes other than squares and rectangles.

The arched mat is available in the Frames download.

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