For this contest entry I did a Christmas tree and snowman, but other designs would be possible too. An ornament using foil or wrapping paper, a candle, maybe even a Santa going down a chimney when the matchbox is opened. I used paper from a magazine for the tree, and a thin foam from a window decoration for the snowman.
There is a small amount of precision needed when laying out the pusher opening and determining the point to glue it to the popup, but it isn't too hard.
If you like this instructable I'd appreciate your vote in the Handmade Holidays contest. Thanks.
Step 1: Glue Card Stock
Either cut to exact size before gluing or trim after glue sets.
Step 2: Lay Out Pusher Opening
Step 3: Cut Pusher Opening
Step 4: Lay Out and Cut Popup Shape
Step 5: Lay Out, Cut, Bend and Glue Pusher
Bend the cut pusher piece as shown below. After bending glue the short legs of the U-section to the inner matchbox.
If all elements were properly centered the 1/4 inch pusher and 3/8 inch slot will work together perfectly.
If using decorative paper this is a good time to glue it to the matchbox. Be aware that when popped up all parts of the mechanism will be visible. Coloring with a marker or gluing more decorative paper to the top AND bottom of the pusher and popup will give a better appearance than plain white stock.
The bend in the pusher arm is made at a distance half that of the height of the popup, measured from the popup's bend point. The height of the tree and snowman was 1 1/4 inch so the length between the 2 bends of the pusher arm was 5/8 inch. Cut off the excess pusher arm material 1/4 inch from the bend point.
Step 6: Apply Decorative Paper
Step 7: Glue Pop Up Layer to Matchbox and Pusher
Spread a moderate layer of glue evenly on the underside of the popup layer, but NOT on the popup section. Apply a small dot of glue to the short outermost leg of the pusher. Gluing the pusher to the popup is easiest with a thin pair of tweezers.
Position the popup layer on the matchbox and use the tweezers to clamp the pusher arm to the underside of the popup. Hold for a minute or 2 to ensure the glue is set. Make sure the other part of the popup layer is glued down securely and set the piece aside for 5 or 10 minutes. You'll be tempted to try out the popup mechanism, but wait until the glue is completely set or you'll probably have to glue it in place a second time.
Step 8: Finish Off Design With Embellishments, Glitter Glue, Etc.
Don't forget the other side of the matchbox can be decorated too. Add a picture like my Lucky Strikes Santa or a personal message to the recipient (Don't smoke? Don't play with matches? Only you...) and you'll have a simple clever gift that will probably be kept even when the matches are used up.
Virtually any occasion can get the popup treatment: Heart for Valentine's, cake for a birthday, a rocket for 4th of July... use your imagination. I'd love to see variations on this theme.
I've entered this project in the Handmade Holidays contest. If you like it I'd greatly appreciate your vote. Thanks.