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The ultimate non-committal greeting card?

Finding the right words can be hard at the holidays. Eventually you start to tire of wishing people "Merry Christmas" or "Season's Greetings". After a while, even "May you survive Krampusnacht with your limbs intact" loses its gloss. So why not fall back on a classic piece of placeholder text to help you really communicate your message?

In just under an hour* of painstaking cutting, gluing and folding you'll be able to give your loved one an elegant pop-up card completely free of any meaningful text. Because it's not what you write on a card that matters; it's the thought that really counts**.


*Estimated time is for handcrafting a single card. Laser cut cards will take much less time.
**Unless you have a laser. Then it's the laser that really counts.
 
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Step 1: Things you will need

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Get your kit together! You'll need:
  • Two A4 (or letter) sized sheets of card, ideally in contrasting colours. These should be thin and flexible enough to still work in a printer.
  • A printer.
  • A precise craft knife.
  • A cutting board.
  • A hard straight edge to cut along (e.g. metal ruler).
  • Strong paper glue.
  • Good short-distance eyesight or nerves of steel.

Step 2: Print out your plan

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One of your two pieces of card will form the pop-up section and the other will be the backing piece. You're only going to be cutting fiddly bits into the pop-up section, so put the backing piece aside for now.

Before you do any cutting, you'll need a plan. To keep the front of your card pristine, print this cutting plan onto the back of your pop-up section. You'll notice that the text is mirrored so that it will read normally from the front.

The plan is designed to fit onto a single landscape-oriented sheet of A4. The image should be about 20 cm in height when printed.

I've included a few different versions of the cutting plan:
  • JPG file in colour,
  • JPG file in black and white,
  • PDF file in black and white,
  • EPS file for people wielding lasers.
All of these should produce the same final card, so take your pick. If you use the JPG files, be sure you click on the images and download the original full-size versions rather than just the preview images.




Step 3: Brandish your scalpel

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Before you do anything else, wash your hands. Yes, you. Trust me, your hands are filthy.You don't want to get smudges all over your card. Wash them now.

Find a well lit, clean, flat work surface and start cutting, following the lines of the plan. Some lines need to be cut all the way through (usually the solid black or grey lines - it will say on the plan) and others should be gently scored to produce straight folding edges. Be careful not to cut where you're not supposed to cut!

Tip: There's a large rectangle around the outside of the fiddly bits. Cut this rectangle out last, or even wait and cut it after you've completed the folding steps.

Step 4: Fold. Very... very... carefully...

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Once you've cut or scored along all of the lines, you can start folding the card. Begin by gently folding all of the longest edges using against a ruler. Don't fold them all the way at first, or you'll risk crumpling the areas you haven't folded yet. Make sure you're folding them the right way: valley folds bend back toward you and mountain folds bend away from you.

Now work your way along all of the folds (even the tiny little ones), gradually folding them slightly more each time. Eventually you'll have all of the folds at 90 degrees. If you have callused oaf fingers like me, you may find it helps to use a thin rod or a blunt needle to push the smaller pieces into position.

Step 5: Check your right angles

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From behind, your pop-up sheet should look like this. Take this opportunity to check that all of the folds are neatly creased and folding in the right direction.

Step 6: Flatten it all

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Now take all of the folds to their extremes, so that the card is folded completely in half. If everything has gone to plan, it should flatten out quite neatly without any bulging, buckling or tearing.

Step 7: Back it up

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Trim your pop-up card to size, if you haven't already. Trim your backing sheet so that it is slightly larger than the pop-up sheet and fold it in half. Line the two sheets up carefully and stick them together.

I recommend testing your glue on some scraps of card first, just in case it seeps through the card or makes the dye run.

Step 8: Express yourself

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Now that you've finished making your card, you'll have had plenty of time to decide what to write in it. I opted for meaningless filler text, but you might be able to come up with something a bit more personal.

Let me know how it goes, and have a great holiday, however you choose to describe it!
Zepherym7 months ago

great little project! loved making it. opted for a merry christmas for the text though

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camwifi1 year ago
Do u think I could add a costom name?
PenfoldPlant (author)  camwifi1 year ago

Adding a custom name would be fiddly, but could be done. How did it turn out?

This is great done it for birthday cards, it came out a lot better than I thought it would to be honest:))
PenfoldPlant (author)  gianni leake1 year ago

I'm not sure how appropriate the snowflake is for a birthday card, unless the recipient has a midwinter birthday or is an ice- wielding supervillain. Hey , that gives me an idea...

nak1 year ago
This made me happy, thanks :)
PenfoldPlant (author)  nak1 year ago

I aim to please :)

kaijura1 year ago
Voted! Funny writing, funny product, excellent handiwork! Who could ask for anything more?
PenfoldPlant (author)  kaijura1 year ago

Thanks for the vote!

OK, that is funny! And well done, but also funny as heck.
PenfoldPlant (author)  Uncle Kudzu1 year ago

Thanks, Uncle. Tis the season for merriment, after all. Well, twas. Tisn't so much now.

I'm going to try this.
PenfoldPlant (author)  simplebotics1 year ago

Did you try it? How did it go?

ASCAS1 year ago
That's awesome!
PenfoldPlant (author)  ASCAS1 year ago

Cheers!

artworker1 year ago
I had made many popup cards! But this is hilarious. Nice idea to say put whatever text you like.
Color combination is GR8! Nice ible!
PenfoldPlant (author)  artworker1 year ago

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

camwifi1 year ago
Even if not, I'm definately making one! Great work ;-)
what does lorem ipsem mean?
<i>Lorem ipsum</i> is Faux Latin. It makes no sense in any language, ancient or modern. There are on-line generators for <i>lorem ipsum</i> that will give you thousands of lines of this filler text. From WIkip[edia: In publishing and graphic design, <i>lorem ipsum</i> is a placeholder text (filler text) commonly used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation, such as font, typography, and layout, by removing the distraction of meaningful content. The <i>lorem ipsum</i> text is typically a mangled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed that make it nonsensical and not proper Latin.
it's a latin text, basically it is used by designers as "fill text"
to just have some text for make up purposes :)
"Neque porro quisquam est qui do[lorem ipsum] quia [dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci velit]" Translates to "Neither is there anyone who loves, pursues or desires pain itself because it is pain" and comes from Cicero's "De finibus bonorum et malorum". Lorem Ipsum is a nonsensical taking from that book.

The Wikipedia Article on the subject does NOT disappoint, and has the original text with the Lorem Ipsum parts bolded. If you're a language nerd like me, you'll be thrilled.
Hey there Natalie - so, we use the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" when typing etc to see the font/typeface outcomes of every letter in the alphabet. In order to see what a layout looks irrespective of content, we use the Lorem Ipsum text. I believe the core of it was once an actual ancient text, however, it has been jumbled with pseudo-Latin so that it no longer represents language. This removes the bias of cognition from the observer so that they can determine the artistic value on it's own merit. At least that's how I was given to understand it many years ago.
Lorem Ipsum translated from Latin to English means pain itself according to 3 dictionaries I checked and a book on Amazon which is sold as a gag gift to help someone sleep. Love this - for when you're tired of saying Merry Christmas some people mean it to say Christmas is Coming instead of Pain Itself. Great idea!
it mean EVERYTHING and NOTHING!! j/k graphic designers use it as a place holder for copy/words in a layout that haven't been written yet. not sure if other industries use it. i don't really know if it means anything, i think i read once that is it text from a book
Syncopator1 year ago
natalie, lorem ipsum is known as filler text, or sometimes dummy text. Often used when a meaningful message is unnecessary.
A Google search will give you more complete descriptions and even sites which will generate it for you.