Mother’s Day Card With Twisting Paper Mechanism
Frankly, I planned a pop-up card project, but this twisting or rotating paper mechanism charmed me so much I just had to try it. And it turned out mesmerizing.
At a first glance, it may seem complicated, but I encourage you to try and make it in a draft version – you’ll see how fast it comes together. And I would also recommend testing the actual design you want to present in draft, to make sure all parts of the images are in their places.
A list of supplies
- Cardstock or heavy-duty paper. In fact, any paper or card 170 gsm and thicker will work.
- Designs for background, text, clip art for additional illustrations
- Picture of your mother or someone the card will be presented to
- Cricut, Silhouette, Brother or other cutting machines OR
- Cutting mat
- Paper knife or hobby knife
- Metallic ruler
There are several ways of making beautiful rotating greeting cards.
First, you may prepare a template on your computer (or use a premade one). In this case, you may put all design elements and photos right to your template and then just print it out and cut.
The other variation is using decorative elements and/or photos printed separately and stick or glue them to the rectangle base pieces.
And one more way I can suggest is available for pretty much anyone anywhere, as it doesn’t require any special equipment like computers, printers or cutting machines. You can just cut out the rectangles using scissors and then draw any design you like by hand.
I’ve picked a combination of variations 1 and 2. I have prepared my templates with almost all design elements on my computer and used a picture of my mom on sticker paper.
The template consists of 4 rectangles, all of the same size. A made mine around 9×13 cm (3.5 x 5 inches). Two of them that will be used horizontally have a nice cosmic background with mandalas. The ones that will be used vertically have butterflies made with an SVG silhouette and the same mandala background.
The vertical rectangle that will be on the top of the card has a quote “Thank you, Mom”.
Where to make cuts
Then we should make cuts in all the rectangles. Three out of four should be of the same length.
The cuts in the vertical parts should be half of the width of the rectangle and we make them in the upper ⅓ of the height. Thus, my vertical rectangle is about 13 cm high and I cut it 3,5 cm from the top. As the rectangle is 9 cm wide and the cut is 4.5 cm long. And we cut the top rectangle from the left, the second one – from the right. This is important for the mechanism to work.
Now the horizontal parts. The one we cut on the right side, should have a cut of the same length as the cuts in the vertical rectangles (for mine this is 4.5 cm). The second horizontal rectangle should be cut from the left, and the cut should be as long as the rest of the width (for mine this is 13-4.5=8.5 cm). It may seem too complicated as you read it, but if you dare to try you’ll see how easy it is.
Placing the design and photos
To make sure there are no white stripes in the design as the parts of the card are moving, I’ve placed the same butterflies on both vertical parts. The difference is in the “Thank you, Mom” quote – only the top rectangle has it.
As for the horizontal rectangles, they have completely the same design. The tricky part was sticking a photo to both of them at the same distance from the edges. Also, it seemed important to me that the faces on the picture were not placed on the cut.
In fact, if you glue or stick your decor elements and photos to the already cut-out base, you may use one piece of each design. In this case, I would recommend assembling the empty base rectangles first (the steps are described further in this article) and marking the parts that appear on top as the mechanism rotates. Thus you will know for sure where to place the parts of your design.
Assembling the card
So, all the parts of the rotating card are ready – we just need to put them together in the right order so that they move but do not fall apart.
Let’s start with the horizontal rectangles. The upper part of the one with a shorter cut should go above the upper part of the one with a longer cut. The bottom parts go vice versa. Hope the below picture makes it clearer 🙂 If not, please check the video where I show how this rotating paper mechanism is assembled.
When the horizontal parts are aligned, it’s time to place the first vertical piece – the one that is not on the top and has the cut on its right side. We place it under the bottom part of the longer-cut horizontal piece. Thus, the upper part of the vertical piece should be visible and the bottom one hides under the horizontal piece.
And finally, we place the top piece. Its upper part should hide behind the upper parts of the first vertical piece and the horizontal one below it.
And now – the time of truth! Align all the angles of your card and try to rotate it.
To make sure the parts of the card do not fall apart when moved, we need to stick together the edges: the bottom edges of the vertical rectangles and the left edges of the horizontal ones. I used narrow double-sided tape, but you may also use glue (just a little drop so that is goes not go too deep inside the card, otherwise the mechanism may be stuck) or make paper strips, fold them in half and stick to the edges from outside to “close” them.
Designs I’ve used to make my twisting card:
Space Mandala Digital Paper Pack – https://www.creativefabrica.com/product/space-mandala-digital-paper-pack/
Butterfly SVG Layered Template – https://www.creativefabrica.com/product/butterfly-svg-layered-3d-template/
Mother’s Day SVG Thank you, Mom – https://www.creativefabrica.com/product/love-you-mum-mothers-day-svg-thank-you/