Introduction: Break in Case of Bad Day/Security Card

Skip to 1:29 of the YouTube video to see the inspiration for this.

Have you ever wanted to give someone a cheer me up when they most needed it? Have you ever needed to protect and verify nuclear launch codes in the 1980's? Believe it or not, these two items can be accomplished by one easy to make device!

How it works:

  1. You write a cheer me up message or nuclear launch codes (your preference) on a piece of paper.
  2. You make a jacket to protect the hidden contents of the card and provide instructions.
  3. You seal the message in the card along with the jacket.
  4. You score the card to make it easier to open.
  5. You distribute the card to whomever needs it.
  6. Whomever breaks card according to instructions and reads message hidden inside.

What you'll need:

  • Paper
  • Thick or dark colored paper or cardstock- optional, protects message from prying eyes
  • Stiff card protectors - I bought 100 3"x4" Ultra Pro Regular Top Loaders for $13 on Amazon (Non-affiliate Amazon link)
  • Sharp blade
  • Scissors
  • Glue - plastic cement from a hobby shop works great and looks nice but any glue that will adhere to plastic will work
  • 10-15 minutes - this is enough time to make 10 cards or so

Step 1: Write the Message

I've provided a Word template for the 3"x4" cards I use. If you have a different size, adjust your outline accordingly. You want to be able to put the slip into the card holder with a little extra room on each side.

If you prefer handwriting, print off the outlines and hand write your message in the space.

If you prefer printing, add the text in the Word document and then print it.

Cut out the message slips with your scissors and set them aside for a moment.

Step 2: Make the Jacket

Once again I've provided a Word template for the 3"x4" cards I am using. If you are using a different card size, adjust the jacket. It is the same width as the slip you made in the previous step, but double the length.

Once again:

If you prefer handwriting, print off the outlines and hand write your message in the space.
If you prefer printing, add the text in the Word document and then print it.

I recommend using thicker and darker paper or cardstock for the jacket. It adds a little substance when opening the card and also protects the hidden message from being seen easily.

Cut out the jackets using scissors along the lines.

Step 3: Seal the Card

  1. Place your jacket text-side down on a surface.
  2. Place the message slip in the jacket.
  3. Fold the jacket in half over the slip.

The slip should now be hidden from view and the instructions readable on both sides. Give your card protector a little squeeze to pop it outwards and drop the packet into the top with the folded (spine) side at the opening. You'll probably have to give it a little wiggle and tap to get it down in there.

If your packet still sticks out past the card protector pull it out and trim the non-folded edges until it fits. If the spine sticks out past the card protector it won't seal properly.

Once your packet it in far enough, take a little plastic cement or glue and spread it along the edge of the card. Use a scrap piece of paper to smooth along the edges to get a nice finish. A little dab'll do ya! Use a toothpick to transfer glue if you are getting too much.

Step 4: Score the Card

A sharp knife is a safe knife! Cutting through plastic can be a challenge, so use a fresh blade if possible and always handle the knife with care. If you are a child, get an adult to do this part. If you are an adult, call your dad and ask to borrow that utility knife you got him for father's day last year (you did remember to, right?). If you are dad, the nest may be empty but as long as you don't charge rental fees the free toolbox will always be the best toolbox.

Your goal is to score the card, not cut completely through it. Use just enough pressure to make cut a small channel, but not enough to cut through it entirely. You can use a straight edge (like a ruler) if you want to get a perfectly straight cut, but it isn't necessary.

  1. Place the card on a solid surface suitable for cutting
  2. Grasp the card firmly from both sides, holding your hand from the top. (See image) DO NOT hold the card from the bottom, "downstream" of the blade. You will cut yourself if you hold it this way.
  3. Put the blade at the top of the card near the center, apply pressure, and pull slowly downwards.
  4. Flip the card over and repeat the process, trying to match up the cut up with the opposite side. This will give it a cleaner break when opened.

You can do this step before sealing the card but I find the packet helps pad the protector out and keep it from bending inwards and not providing a firm and even surface to cut.

Step 5: Distribute the Card

Give the card to whomever they are made for. Some ideas for uses are:

  • Cheer me up cards
  • Nuclear launch codes
  • Hide and go seek clues
  • Geocaches
  • Treasure hunts
  • Prize/raffle tickets
  • Tamper evident classroom note vehicles

Or whatever use you can dream up.

If sealed completely, these also should be waterproof but I have not tested that. Put a note in the comments if you get them to work!

Step 6: Break the Card

Method one:

  1. Grasp the card firmly in both hands.
  2. Rotate your hands sharply to break along the score.

Method two:

  1. Grasp the card firmly in both hands.
  2. Rap the card against the edge of a table or other hard edged object right along the score.

Read the message and dispose of the card and packet in a responsible manner.

Step 7: Tell Your Parents You Love Them

They'll appreciate it. Unrelated to project.