Introduction: Homemade Pop-Up Cards

The way I suggest using each step of the instructable is reading the text and referring to the images first, and then watching the videos to solidify the information.


This instructable will be focusing on the basic concepts behind making pop-up cards. The idea of this instructable is not to necessarily show you how to make a certain pop-up card but instead to show you two different techniques you can use to create a card to fit whatever purpose you may have.

The two techniques that will be covered are:

-Creating a base for the card and gluing your own images onto it

-Creating a pop-up card from scratch with your own custom image

Here is a list of some useful supplies:


-X-Acto Knife or Pocket Knife

-Cutting Board



-An idea for your card!

Be sure to be extra safe when using the knife to cut the paper, pop-up cards are fun but cut fingers are not!

Step 1: Assemble Materials

Decide what you would like to make and grab the necessary materials.

For both scenarios, you will need at least the following:


-X-acto or craft knife



-Cutting Board


Step 2: Important Concept: "Reverse Fold"

The most important concept in making popup cards is what I refer to as the "Reverse fold". This may sound confusing but for this idea I included a short video that I highly recommend watching as well as some picture steps.

To make a portion of the card 3-D we use the same steps over and over again:

1. Cut *ACROSS* the fold of the piece of paper where you wish for it to become 3-D

2. Open the fold all of the way and fold the paper in the opposite direction along the originial fold

3. Open the fold again and raise the cut portion towards you as you begin to close along the original fold

4. Fold the paper closed along the fold and "hyper-extend" the cut section towards you to create what I call a "Reverse Fold"

5. Crease along the new folds

6. The resulting closed paper will have a section missing from it where you cut along the folds. This section will be "Reverse Folded" up inside the closed card

NOTE: This method will create a 3-D block that comes toward the reader as far as it goes up. The next step describes ways to manipulate this concept to get different effects

Step 3: Manipulating the Reverse Fold

By manipulating the "Reverse Fold" a number of desired outcomes can be achieved.

Here are some things we can do with reverse folds:

-Create Lettering

-Create Images

-Create 3D objects of different dimensions

To do so, you will need to make cuts that are not the exact same on both halves of the fold in the middle of your sheet (which is what was done in the previous video). By cutting further into one side than the other but making sure to always cut across the original center fold, we can make shapes that are taller than they are wide or vice versa. Think about the square profile of the "Reverse-Fold" in the first video. If we can change this to different sized rectangles, it will effect the depth and height of the 3D image on the card.

Step 4: Letter Example

Here is an example of some simple letters in a card

As I mentioned in the video in the last step, it is important to remember that when making letters you must cut them so that the face of them is taller than the desired face of your shape to account for the top of the letter in the fold.

I like to glue my card to another sheet of paper that contrasts the first sheet in color to really make the letters pop out

Step 5: Creating a Base for Other Images

The simplest way to add some creativity to any card is to simply use the "Reverse Fold" technique to create some blocks that pop out of the page and then glue or attach your own images onto them to give your card some depth.

Above is an easy way to make a birthday card slightly fancier if you are giving a gift with the card.

Step 6: Create Your Own

Hopefully after reading this tutorial you have a good idea about how to go about creating your own pop up cards. Now all you have to do is grab your supplies, come up with an idea, and get to cutting!