Pop-Up Penguin Card



Introduction: Pop-Up Penguin Card

About: Freelance writer and regular contributor of Hackspace magazine. I'm helping to set up a makerspace in Devon, England and was a director of BuildBrighton makerspace. I'm on a mission to make things we'd normal…

I created this Instructable during Covid-19 lockdown because cards are a great way to connect with people we can’t visit. I designed this one for a friend who loves penguins.

I’m using a Cricut machine that can draw the penguins, create fold lines in the card and cut the shapes out. You could also make the card with a different vinyl cutter or a printer and scissors instead.


  • Computer
  • Cricut® Design Space software
  • Cricut Maker®
  • Cricut® LightGrip Mat
  • Cricut® Scoring Stylus
  • Cricut® Pens (I used Black, Coral and Bluebonnet - 0.4 Tip)
  • White Card (2 sheets of A4)
  • Blue Paper (1 sheet of A4)
  • Grey Paper (5x5cm)
  • Felt tip pens (Black and Orange)
  • Glue (e.g Bostik or UHU® All Purpose Glue)

If you are using a printer and scissors instead of a cutting machine, you don't need any Cricut® supplies.

Step 1: Add the Cutting File to Cricut Design Space

Download the Pop-Up Penguin Card cutting file

Open a new project in Cricut® Design Space

Click Upload and then Upload Image

Browse and select the Pop-Up Penguin Card file you just downloaded

Click Open and Save

Select the image from the Recently Uploaded Images area and click Insert Images

Step 2: Set the Lines to Cut, Score and Draw

Click on the image and while everything is grouped together, change the Line Type to Draw

Click Ungroup to control the lines separately

Select the outer line of each object and change the Line Type to Cut

On the igloo layer, change the lines for the igloo entrance to Cut. If it changes colour, click on the square next to the Line Type dropdown menu and change the colour back to White

Set the Line Type for the horizontal fold lines to Score, including the horizontal lines of the pop-up mechanisms. Set the Line Type for the vertical lines of the pop-up mechanism to Cut

Change the colour of the penguin beaks and feet to one of the oranges (I used Candy Corn), but leave the feet on the pop-up penguin as black

Set the colour of the igloo and archway to one of the blues (I used Bluebonnet)

You can also change the Happy Birthday colour, but I kept it as Black. If you want a different message, you can just delete the letters, add new text and then use the curve tool

Click and drag the cursor around each object and click Attach to tell the Cricut which bits go together

Click Make It on the top right corner of the screen

Step 3: Automatically Draw and Cut the Shapes

Use the Material Size dropdown menu to select the size of your card supplies

Click Continue

Follow the prompt and connect the Cricut Maker® to the computer using Bluetooth or a cable. It can take a few moments to connect, so while you are waiting, stick the card you are using to the LightGrip Mat

Under Set Base Material, select the material that best matches the weight of your card/paper. Click Browse All Materials if you need more options. For my white card, I selected Medium Cardstock (216gsm) and for the blue paper I selected Copy Paper (75gsm)

The software assumes you have the scoring wheel, but if like me you have the stylus, click Edit Tools and select the Scoring Stylus

Load the tools and cutting mat into the Cricut, as directed on your screen

Press the flashing Go button to start the machine

When the machine pauses, change the tool as prompted on your screen and press the Go button to continue. It will pause for each tool change

When it’s finished, unload the mat and remove the finished parts

Tip: To stop the paper from curling, turn the mat upside down on a clean surface and peel the mat away from the paper

Repeat this process for the other sheets, choosing Copy Paper in the material settings when you load the blue paper

Step 4: Assemble the Card

Fold along all the score lines

Glue a square of grey paper behind the igloo

Colour in the penguins with felt tip pens

Add a bit of glue to the pop-up mechanisms and attach the archway and penguin

Glue the blue paper inside the card and stick the pop-up section on top

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