How to Make a Pop Up Card: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pop up cards are a great way to add a personal touch to any occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary, or just a simple thank you. They are unique and can leave a lasting impression on the receiver. However, not everyone knows how to make them. That’s where we come in! In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of making a pop up card that is sure to impress. You don’t need to be an expert in crafts to make one – all you need is some basic materials and a bit of creativity. So let’s get started and create a beautiful pop up card together!


Pop up cards are a wonderful way to surprise and delight someone special on any occasion. Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, or just to say thank you, a handmade pop up card can add a personal touch that store-bought cards can’t match.

Greeting cards have been around for centuries, but the pop-up design takes them to a whole new level. The first known pop up card was created in the early 19th century by Robert Sabuda, and since then, this art form has evolved into a popular craft activity.

Crafts and DIY projects have become increasingly popular in recent years, as people seek to escape the fast-paced digital world and find satisfaction in creating something with their own hands. Making a pop up card is a perfect example of this trend, providing a fun and rewarding way to express creativity while also producing a beautiful piece of art.

In addition to being a creative outlet, making a pop up card can also be a bonding experience. Parents can make pop up cards with their children, and friends can gather for a crafting session to create personalized cards for each other. A handmade pop up card shows the recipient that you care enough to put time and effort into making something special just for them.

Overall, the art of making pop up cards is a fun and rewarding creative outlet that can provide a unique way to show your appreciation for someone special.

Materials Needed

When it comes to making pop-up cards, having the right materials is crucial. Here are the top materials you’ll need for this project:

Cardstock Paper

Cardstock paper is a thick and durable paper that’s perfect for creating the base card of your pop-up card. It comes in various colors and sizes, making it easy to customize your card to your preferences.


You’ll need a good pair of scissors to cut the cardstock paper and any other materials you may be using for decoration. Make sure your scissors are sharp enough to make clean cuts and avoid any jagged edges.


Using a ruler is essential for measuring and cutting the cardstock paper accurately. It can also help you create precise folds and creases, which will make assembling your pop-up card easier.


Glue is what holds everything together in your pop-up card. You’ll need a strong adhesive that can withstand the weight of the cardstock paper and any embellishments you might add. A glue stick or liquid glue works well for this purpose.


Markers are a great way to add color and personality to your pop-up card. You can use them to write your message, draw designs, or embellish your card. Look for markers that are vibrant and long-lasting to make your card stand out.

Having these materials on hand will ensure that your pop-up card turns out beautifully. Plus, you can reuse these materials for future projects as well.

Step 1: Choose Your Design

Brainstorm Ideas

Brainstorm Ideas

When making a pop-up card, the first step is to come up with a design that will make your card stand out. Before you start creating, it’s important to gather inspiration and brainstorm ideas for the look and feel of your custom-made card.


One way to brainstorm ideas is by sketching out your design. Start with a blank piece of paper and simply draw out your vision. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as this is just a rough draft to get your creative juices flowing. You can use pencil or colored pencils to add some detail or shading.

Mood Board

Creating a mood board is another great way to spark your imagination and develop a concept for your pop-up card. A mood board is a visual representation of your ideas and can include images, colors, textures, and even words that inspire you. You can create a physical mood board by cutting out pictures from magazines or printouts, or you can create a digital one using websites like Canva or Pinterest.


Finally, take some time to visualize your final product. Imagine how it will look once it’s complete and think about the recipient’s reaction when they receive it. This visualization exercise can help you refine your design and bring your ideas to life.

By combining these brainstorming techniques, you’ll be able to create a truly unique and personalized pop-up card that will impress anyone who receives it. So don’t be afraid to let your creativity run wild and experiment with different ideas until you find the perfect design.

Choose a Template

When making a pop-up card, you don’t always have to start from scratch. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of online templates and free designs available that you can use as a starting point for your own card. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a template.

Online Templates

The easiest way to find pop-up card templates is by searching online. You’ll come across a variety of websites that offer free templates and patterns. Some sites may require you to sign up or create an account before you can access their resources, while others allow you to download templates without any strings attached.

One of the benefits of using online templates is that they save you time and effort. Instead of having to come up with a design from scratch, you can simply print out the template and follow the instructions. It’s also a great option if you’re not feeling particularly creative or if you’re short on time.

Free Designs

Another option is to look for free designs that you can use as inspiration for your pop-up card. Browse through Pinterest, Instagram, or other craft blogs to see what other people have created. You can get ideas for themes, color schemes, and even different types of pop-up mechanisms.

The advantage of using free designs is that you have more creative freedom. You’re not restricted to a specific template, so you can tailor the design to fit your preferences. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn from others and improve your own skills.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to use an online template or a free design, remember that you can always customize it to make it your own. Add your personal touch by changing the colors, embellishments, or even altering the pop-up mechanism. With a little creativity and some inspiration, you can make a beautiful pop-up card that’s truly unique.

Step 2: Prepare the Base Card

Fold the Cardstock Paper

When making a pop up card, the base card is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Folding your cardstock paper correctly is essential to creating a visually appealing and sturdy base for your pop up design.

The first step in folding your cardstock paper is to create a crease along the center of the paper. A crease refers to a sharp fold made by pressing down on the paper with a ruler or bone folder. This will create a clean and even fold down the middle of your card, ensuring that it opens and closes smoothly.

Once you have created the initial crease, it’s time to score the paper. Scoring involves making a shallow cut along the crease to help the paper fold more cleanly. Use a scoring tool or the dull side of a butter knife to create a groove along the crease. Be sure not to press too hard as this can tear the paper.

By creating a crease and then scoring the paper, you will be able to achieve a crisp and professional-looking fold in your cardstock paper. This technique is especially important when working with thicker cardstock paper as it can be more difficult to fold without proper creasing and scoring.

Remember to take your time and work carefully when folding your cardstock paper. A well-folded base card will provide a solid foundation for the rest of your pop up card design, allowing it to stand out and impress whoever receives it.

In summary, creasing and scoring are essential techniques to ensure a well-folded cardstock paper. By using these techniques properly, you’ll be able to create a sturdy and visually appealing base for your pop-up card design.

Cut the Paper

Cut the Paper

When it comes to making a pop-up card, cutting the paper is one of the most important steps. You want to ensure that your edges are clean and precise so that your card looks professional and polished. Here are some tips for cutting your cardstock paper:

Use the Right Tools

First and foremost, you’ll need a good pair of scissors. Make sure that they are sharp and comfortable to hold. If you’re making several cards, consider investing in a rotary cutter or paper trimmer to save time and ensure accuracy.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Before cutting your paper, use a ruler to measure out the size and shape you need for your card. Double-check your measurements to avoid mistakes that could ruin your project.

Trim Carefully

When you’re ready to start cutting, use slow and steady movements to trim your paper. Start from the outer edges and work your way inwards. Be careful not to cut too much off at once, as this can lead to uneven edges.

Watch Your Edges

As you cut, pay attention to your edges. Make sure they are straight and even. If you notice any rough spots or jagged edges, use sandpaper or an emery board to smooth them out.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to cut your cardstock paper with ease and precision. Remember, taking the time to cut carefully will make all the difference in the final result of your pop-up card.

Step 3: Create the Pop-Up Element

Decide on the Type of Pop-Up

When it comes to making a pop-up card, selecting the right type of mechanism is crucial. Not all pop-ups are created equal, and you can choose between simple, complex, or mechanical mechanisms based on your design and skill level.

Simple pop-ups are perfect for beginners, as they require minimal folding and cutting. You can create a simple pop-up by folding a strip of paper in an accordion style and attaching it to the base card. This type of pop-up is ideal for adding depth and dimension to a card without making it too complicated.

Complex pop-ups, on the other hand, require more advanced folding and cutting techniques. They may involve multiple layers, intricate shapes, and delicate details. A great example of a complex pop-up is the butterfly pop-up, which features multiple layers that fold out to create a 3D butterfly.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making a mechanical pop-up. This type of pop-up involves creating a moving element, such as a spinning wheel or a flying bird. Mechanical pop-ups require precise measurements and careful construction, but the end result is truly impressive.

Whichever type of pop-up you choose, make sure it complements your design and skill level. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – after all, the beauty of pop-up cards is in their endless possibilities.

Measure and Cut the Pop-Up Mechanism

When creating a pop-up card, the mechanism is the most important part. It’s what makes the card unique and eye-catching. To make the pop-up mechanism, you will need to measure and cut carefully to ensure it fits seamlessly into your base card.

Firstly, take your cardstock paper and fold it in half so that it forms a crease down the center. Use a ruler to mark the center point of the fold as this will be your reference point for all measurements.

Next, decide on the type of pop-up you want to create and plan out the dimensions. Then, using your ruler, measure and mark where you want the pop-up to sit on the base card. This will help you determine the length and width of your pop-up mechanism.

Once you have determined the size of the pop-up mechanism, use your scissors to cut the mechanism out of another piece of cardstock paper. Make sure to cut straight lines and use clean cuts to ensure a professional finish.

After you’ve finished cutting the pop-up mechanism, it’s time to fold it. Using your ruler, make neat, precise folds along the lines you marked earlier. A bone folder can also help you achieve crisp, clean folds.

Now that you have your pop-up mechanism measured, cut, and folded, it’s time to attach it to your base card. Apply glue to the tabs of the mechanism and secure it to the inside of the base card at the position you marked earlier.

By following these steps, you will successfully measure and cut the pop-up mechanism for your card. Remember to take your time and be precise with your measurements, cuts, and folds. This attention to detail will result in a beautiful and impressive pop-up card that you’ll be proud to give to your loved ones.

Attach the Pop-Up Mechanism to the Base Card

Attaching the pop-up mechanism to the base card is a critical step in creating a pop-up card. Proper positioning and securing are essential to ensure that your card pops open smoothly and effectively. In this section, we will discuss different methods for attaching the pop-up mechanism to the base card.

One popular way to attach the pop-up mechanism is by using glue. Glue provides a strong and durable bond between the two pieces of paper. To use glue, spread a thin layer of glue on the tabs of the pop-up mechanism. Then, carefully position the pop-up mechanism onto the base card, ensuring that it lines up with the crease. Hold the two pieces together until the glue dries completely.

Another method for attaching the pop-up mechanism is by using tabs. Tabs are small flaps of paper that extend from the pop-up mechanism and can be glued to the base card. To create tabs, cut small strips of paper and fold them at right angles. Apply glue to the tabs and press them onto the base card, making sure they are aligned with the crease.

Positioning is also crucial when attaching the pop-up mechanism. Make sure that the mechanism is centered and level on the crease. If the mechanism is not positioned correctly, it may not work correctly, resulting in a poorly executed pop-up effect.

Overall, attaching the pop-up mechanism to the base card requires precision and attention to detail. Using glue or tabs and ensuring proper positioning will help you achieve a professional-looking pop-up card that is sure to impress.

Step 4: Decorate Your Pop Up Card

Add Color and Designs

When it comes to making a pop-up card, adding color and designs is one of the most exciting parts of the process. With the right tools and creative inspiration, you can take your card to the next level and make it truly unforgettable.

First, let’s talk about markers. Using high-quality markers is essential for achieving vibrant colors that stand out on your cardstock paper. Look for markers that are acid-free and non-toxic, as these will be safe to use and won’t damage your paper over time. Experiment with different types of markers, such as brush tip or fine tip, to achieve different effects and textures.

Next, consider your color palette. If you’re making a pop-up card for a specific occasion, such as a birthday or holiday, you may want to stick to a specific color scheme. For example, a Valentine’s Day card might feature shades of pink and red, while a Halloween card might incorporate black and orange. Use your creativity and imagination to choose colors that work well together and complement your design.

Finally, let’s talk about patterns. Adding patterns to your pop-up card is a great way to make it more visually interesting. You can use patterned paper or create your own patterns using stamps, stencils, or freehand drawing. Just be sure to balance your patterns with solid colors and negative space so that your card doesn’t look too busy or cluttered.

In conclusion, adding color and designs to your pop-up card is a fun and creative way to personalize your message and make your card stand out. By using quality markers, choosing a cohesive color palette, and incorporating patterns in a thoughtful way, you can create a card that is sure to impress.

Add Embellishments

Add Embellishments

When it comes to making pop up cards, adding embellishments is an important step that can make your card stand out. Embellishments are decorative elements that you can use to add texture, color, and interest to your card. In this section, we’ll explore some popular embellishments you can use to take your pop up card to the next level:


Stickers are a simple but effective way to decorate your pop up card. Whether you choose to use pre-made stickers or create your own, they can add a fun and playful touch to your design. You can find stickers in a variety of styles and themes, from animals and flowers to quotes and letters. To use stickers, simply peel them off the backing paper and stick them onto your card.


Ribbons are another popular embellishment for pop up cards. They come in a range of colors, patterns, and textures, making them versatile and easy to work with. You can use ribbons to create bows, borders, or even as a way to attach additional elements to your card. To use ribbons, cut them to the desired length and then glue them onto your card in the desired position.


Buttons are a great way to add a tactile element to your pop up card. They come in various sizes, colors, and shapes, so you can choose the perfect button for your design. You can use them to create flower centers, as eyes for animal characters, or simply as a decorative element. To use buttons, sew them onto your card with needle and thread, or glue them onto your card with a strong adhesive.

Incorporating these embellishments into your pop up card design can give your creation a unique and personal touch that will impress your friends and family. Just remember to not overdo it with too many embellishments, as it can overcrowd your card and distract from the overall design. Experiment with different embellishments and have fun creating your own unique pop up cards!

Step 5: Write Your Message

When it comes to making a pop-up card, the message you write inside can be just as important as the design on the outside. A heartfelt greeting or personalized message can make the recipient feel extra special and appreciated. Here are some tips for writing a meaningful message in your pop-up card:

  • Consider the occasion: Is the card for a birthday, wedding, or holiday? Tailor your message accordingly to reflect the significance of the event.

  • Keep it simple: You don’t need to write a novel to convey your message. Sometimes a few well-chosen words can have a big impact.

  • Get personal: Use the recipient’s name and reference specific details or memories to make the message more personal and memorable.

  • Be sincere: Your message should come from the heart and be genuine. Avoid cliches or generic sentiments that don’t truly reflect your feelings.

  • Add humor: Depending on the relationship you have with the recipient, adding a touch of humor can add levity and warmth to your message.

For example, if you’re making a pop-up card for a friend’s birthday, you might write something like:

“Happy birthday, Sarah! I hope this day is as amazing as you are. It’s hard to believe we’ve been friends for 10 years now – time really flies! I’m so grateful for all the laughs, adventures, and memories we’ve shared together. Here’s to many more birthdays and good times ahead!”

Remember, the message you write inside your pop-up card is a reflection of your thoughtfulness and care. Take the time to craft a message that truly expresses your emotions and shows the recipient how much you appreciate them.



In conclusion, making a pop up card is a fun and creative way to show someone you care. The best part? It’s completely handmade and unique! By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a one-of-a-kind greeting card that will leave a lasting impression.

One of the benefits of making a pop up card is that it allows you to personalize your message in ways that traditional cards simply cannot. You can choose the design, color scheme, and even the pop-up element to suit the occasion or the recipient’s personality. Whether you’re making a card for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just to say “thank you,” a pop up card provides endless opportunities for creativity.

Not only is making a pop up card a fun DIY project, but it also has therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that crafting can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase feelings of happiness and well-being. So why not take some time out of your busy schedule to unwind and create something beautiful?

Finally, giving a handmade pop up card shows the recipient that you put thought and effort into their gift. It’s a thoughtful gesture that goes beyond just buying a store-bought card. Your loved ones will appreciate the time and energy you put into creating their special card.

In short, making a pop up card is an enjoyable and rewarding activity that anyone can do. It offers a chance to be creative, de-stress, and make something truly unique and special. So next time you need a greeting card, why not try making a pop up card instead?
Your pop up card is now complete! Not only have you created a unique and personalized greeting card, but you’ve also acquired a new skill that you can use for future projects. Remember to choose a design that suits the occasion or person you’re giving it to, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your embellishments. Making a pop up card is not only a fun craft project, but it’s also an excellent way to show your loved ones that you care. So go ahead and make someone’s day today with your newfound skills!

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