How To Make A Pop-Up Birthday Card
It’s starting to look like many of the people who spent their birthdays in lockdown last year may well have to do it again this year, so why not give them something that will really make them smile on their special day? A thoughtful, handmade birthday card is the perfect way to let someone know that you care.
This impressive pop-up birthday card is surprisingly simple and easy to make – you can make it with the help of a digital cutting machine if you have one, but even good old fashioned scissors and patience will do the trick. Make sure you read all these instructions in full before you start, as there are tips later on that you may find useful.
What you’ll need:
- 1 blue A4 piece of card
- 1-2 pale yellow A4 pieces of card
- Red cardstock
- Blue cardstock
- Orange cardstock
- White cardstock
- A glue stick
- A pencil
- A pair of scissors
- A ruler
- (Optional) A digital cutting machine with a scoring device
- (Optional) A digital cut file of a balloon shape
- (Optional) Instead of yellow and blue A4 card, you can buy pre-made blank cards from a craft shop, as long as the inside is the same colour as the outside of the card
- (Optional) Embellishments like washi tape, glitter, pearls, rhinestones, card toppers, etc.
Prepare the card base
First, take your yellow piece of A4 card and trim about a centimetre off of each side. Then, fold the card together and trim the top and bottom of the card. Be sure to keep these trimmings as you will use them later! This will be your pop-up interior of the birthday card, and once trimmed it will fit nicely inside the blue exterior piece of card with a little bit of a border showing.
If you are using pre-folded cards from a craft shop, ignore the above folding instructions and just trim your yellow card. The added benefit of using pre-made cards is that they often come with coloured envelopes that fit them perfectly.
Once you are happy with the sizing of your interior piece of card, fold it closed and on the outside draw two parallel lines from the fold towards the centre. Then, draw a line between the tops of these two lines to ensure that they are even.
Cut along the two parallel lines with your scissors, and then fold the joining line in both directions so that it is nice and flexible.
Creating the 3D effect
Then, open up the piece of card and pop your cut-out section inwards. This will create a 3D box shape popping out from the middle of the card.
Optional: If you want to, you can use washi tape or strips of coloured card to make it look like the 3D box is wrapped in ribbon. Simply place the tape or card onto both visible sides of the box in a cross shape!
It is at this point you will want to attach the flaps to the top of the box, giving it the appearance of a gift box that has just been opened. If your off-cuts from the yellow card are too small, you can use a second piece of yellow card to make these pieces. You can cut the corners off for a more 3D look. Fold over a small section at the top so that you can hook these pieces on and glue them at the back.
Decorate the inside of the card
Now you can start adding your balloon decorations. Starting from the box and working your way up, apply a little bit of glue to areas that will attach to other pieces and not be seen, and stick the balloons together, to give the appearance that they are floating out from the just-opened gift box.
Make sure that your balloons are placed in such a way that they won’t get squashed or bent when the card is closed again. Once the structure of the balloons is sound, you can add little white balloon strings between the balloons and the box to add to the imagery.
If you want to, you can add some extra decorations to the inside of the card, like some confetti, polka dots, party hats, or any other birthday related shapes or images.
Once you’ve added any extra decorations that you want, the interior part of your card is complete!
Next, close your card and cover one side with glue. Carefully line it up and place it inside the exterior piece of card and stick it down. Once it’s stuck in, open up the exterior card and do the same on the other side. You now have one complete card all stuck together!
Decorate the outside of the card
Now you can decorate the front of the card! There are lots of different ways that you can do this:
- If you have a digital cutting machine, you might like to make a “Happy Birthday” sentiment in a nice script font from a different colour of cardstock, with a picture of a birthday cake or something similar.
- Alternatively, you can purchase ready-made card toppers from a craft supply shop with sentiments and images on them.
- If you have a particular penchant for calligraphy and you have the tools available, you could always write the message by hand!
- Or if you’re feeling extra fancy and have the tools to do so, you could use foil to create a beautiful image and message for the front of the card. Although, if you do decide to do this, you may want to add your foil decoration before attaching the interior pop-up piece inside.
If you want to, you can add extra embellishments like glitter, washi tape, ribbons, rhinestones, or pearls, but this is entirely up to you and your preference. This is a really simplified tutorial so that crafters of all different skill levels can make this card. If you want to add your own personal flair to the decorations, feel free!
And there you have it – a fully personalised, thoughtful birthday card that will really make someone’s day! You can also repurpose this same structure for different holidays – you could have bats or pumpkins instead of balloons for Halloween, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, hearts for Valentine’s Day, eggs for Easter… the possibilities are endless!