Introduction: 3D Effect Butterfly and Brambles Layered Card

About: A very hairy manchild studying illustration whilst playing around with as many different strange and intersting techniques and still trying to have a good time while i am at it (much to my tutors horror). I fi…

This is a card that I made for my Mum's birthday with very short notice. She is a fan of butterflies and has lots of plants in the garden that attract them so I figured I would try and recreate a scene using paper and card.

This technique can be applied to many more things than butterflies & plants so get creative and please show me your final results in the comments below!

Step 1: Materials Needed

Cards x 4 - I had some cream 127x127mm (5"x5") square cards left over from a previous project. They are 250 gsm and have a slight sparkle to them that helps bring out the scoring effect.

Origami paper - I used a 1/4 square of a pack of paper my parents got me years back from the Japanese centre in London. For this card I folded it into a butterfly using the tutorial here.

Cutting Implement of choice - I used a scalpel because I was going to cut out quite detailed work for the internal designs. You could use scissors but might have trouble with the smaller cuts unless you have really dainty ones. ** Please be careful and ask for adult supervision if needed**

Scoring Implement - The orange quill shaped biro/bic pen has run out of ink and is something I have used for many years to help pre-score folds and add embellishments. You could use a bone file(?!?) or similar tool that will apply pressure to a very small point without cutting into the card.

Steel Ruler - Plastic/Wood can also be used but as I am using a scalpel I didn't want to take chunks out of it when I was moving along it.

Pencil & Rubber - These is for designing the pattern and cut marks and removing them when finished. You could go all out with a soft pencil and a putty rubber but I found the mechanical pencil and normal rubber to work just fine.

Adhesive of choice - I am using solvent glue having only just switched from using PVA wood glue for a number of years as it does not warp the paper or card when it dries. ** It is however harmful if inhaled so keep a window open or take breaks when using it ** PVA or stick glue would also work but the former might warp the paper and can be messy to apply and the latter might degrade over time.

Step 2: Frames

First off you need to mark a border on the inside of the front of each of the four cards. This is to help work out where you want your pattern to go and to act as a cut guide to keep everything straight. I have made a border of 1.5 cm from each edge.

Separate out one of the four cards before the next step as this will be the back of the stack. It helps to label them all (I used Front, Fore, Mid and Back) to help with designing the pattern and not getting too muddled.

Step 3: Marking Score and Cut Lines

On three of the cards we are going to draw cut and scoring lines on the other side of the centre fold from where we have marked the frame (on the inside of the card) If you have labelled the cards as mentioned in the previous step we will be doing this on the Front, Fore and Mid layers.

Measure 7 cm from the centre fold on the top and bottom and mark in 1 cm divisions. Draw a line vertically between the marks and in the case of the 3rd mark across (from the centre) also mark points 2 cm from the top and bottom (See diagram) These are for drawing diagonals to from the edges of the lines on either side so that when we cut them, they will make flaps for the layer to attach to the one below it.

Step 4: Scoring

With your ruler and scoring implement now go ahead and score along the lines using the above guide. On the second, fourth and sixth (blue) lines you want to be scoring on this side of the card (the inside) as these will be valley folds. The first and fifth (red) lines should be scored on the outside of the card and you still use the guides measured here to do so if you continue them to mark the top and bottom edges of the card. These will be mountain folds (as seen from the inside)

Step 5: Designing Your Pattern

Before we move onto cutting this is the time to layout your design onto the inside of each layer. Again having the layers labelled really helps here.

I had already made the origami butterfly and drew around its outline on the Mid layer card and then used that as the starting point for that layer.

I could then work out what parts of the Mid layer I wanted the Fore layer to obscure (and to keep the butterfly visible) so I drew them in.

The Front layer doesn't have a design as the whole area inside of the border will be removed but you could use this as another layer of pattern if you wanted.

Conversely the Back layer doesn't have anything cut out of it but I designed a background pattern that would then be embossed onto it using the scoring tool.

Step 6: Cutting and Some More Embossing

Once you are happy with your design it's time to cut out the pattern and also cut the side flaps. Keep checking how your design looks when viewed from the front and remember it's easier to take away more than to try and glue things back on.

My initial plan was to emboss onto the inside of the back card but this did not have the effect I wanted so I freehand embossed a design onto the outside of the card instead.

Once everything is cut out then use your rubber to remove your pencil marks.

Step 7: Gluing Pt 1: Making the Layers

Now it's time to glue the side flaps to the back of each layer. Fold along the score lines first and press well down to ensure that it keeps the shape before using the glue.

The non-tapered flap is glued to the back of the layer on the side opposite from the attached flap. I like to apply the glue to the flap and then spread and remove excess using my pinkie finger before pressing it against the layer. (I got this tip from the awesome series of videos by The Popup Channel) When you are pressing it to the layer apply and even pressure and wipe away any excess that squeezes out of the sides before it sets.

Having clean hands and removing the dried glue from your fingers between each application helps avoid smudge marks or dirt becoming caught in the glue.

Once you have attached the flaps for the three front layers you can now line everything up to see how the finished product will look. At this stage you can still go back and remove more pattern (or even add more layers!) until you are satisfied.

Step 8: Gluing Pt 2: Putting the Card Together

Once all of your flaps have been attached to the layers and are thoroughly dry, it's time to stick the layers together. I couldn't take photos of the mid-gluing process due to failure to be an octopus (or use a tripod.. I was in a bit of a hurry)

Starting with the front layer, apply glue to the outside of the tapered flaps and attach it to the the front of the layer below (Fore Layer) so that the flap is not visible. Only glue one side down at a time as you can then remove excess glue and keep a constant pressure. Keep on attaching the layers one side at a time until you reach the back layer of the card.

Step 9: Finished

All that is left to do now is to attach your origami and write your message on the inside (My son helped :p). The card will not be able to fit in the envelopes that came with the initial cards so you will need to improvise or check out another 'ible. I used a small cardboard jiffy bag which definitely concealed the contents well.