Introduction: Pop-Up Valentine Hippo

About: I like to make things. Art, inventions, tools, ukuleles, etc...

I designed these cards with my kids when they were little and they passed them out at school. They’re pretty fun to make and give. You can use the same scheme to make other animals or people. The tricky bit is making the heart fit inside the mouth when the card is closed. It takes some trial and error to get right.



colored card stock


Step 1: Print Hippo Pattern PDF

Print Hippo pattern PDF onto card stock. (or if your printer won't print onto card stock, print on regular paper and glue onto card stock or box board)

Step 2: Cut Out Pattern Parts

Cut out Pattern Parts with scissors: Top, Back, Heart, Teeth, Pop-up Mechanism ruler. Notch the Back piece at each end of the glue line. This helps later to know where to fold and glue.

Step 3: Trace Patterns in Pencil

Trace Patterns in pencil onto colored paper: 1 Top & 1 Back (pink or whatever color you want card stock), 1 Heart (red card stock), 2 teeth sets (white paper folded so you cut 2 at once)

Step 4: Cut Out Colored Parts.

For the teeth I fold the paper so I can cut once and get two.

Step 5: Fold Top Piece on the Line.

Using the Top pattern piece, mark the ends of the fold line. Don't draw it. Just fold it across the two marks. I use a non-serrated butter knife to score the line first. Work the fold back and forth to loosen it up. This makes the pop-up work better.

Step 6: Glue on the Back Piece.

Step 7: Glue in the Teeth.

Step 8: Add Eyes, Pupils and Nostrils.

If you have round paper punches in various sizes, this is the simplest and cleanest way to do it. Otherwise cut them out with scissors, or stamp the black circles with an improvised ink stamp made from a dowel. Play around with the placement of the pupils. If you want them less goofy, put the pupils in the same part of the eye on both. I like them goofy.

Step 9: Fold the Heart.

Fold it roughly in half horizontally. Work the fold back and forth to loosen it up. This makes the pop-up work better.

Step 10: Pop-Up Mechanism

Using the Pop-Up mechanism pattern piece as a ruler, mark out on a sheet of paper where the folds are going to be. Score the lines with your butter knife. Then fold and glue the end tabs as shown. I use a piece of scratch paper to keep the glue on the tab only. See pictures. You will end up with a long strip of mechanisms that can be sliced off with scissors about ⅜” wide. If you are only making one card you can skip this step, but if you are making a bunch this saves a lot of fiddly work.

Step 11: Gluing in the Pop-up Mechanism

Open the Hippo’s jaws and glue the Pop-up Mechanism into it as shown and hold it shut with a weight while the glue dries. When the glue is dry open the mouth and cut the fold that keeps the mouth from opening all the way.

Step 12: Glue in the Heart

Glue the folded Heart onto the Mechanism one side at a time as shown. Do the first side, and hold it flat with a weight while the glue dries. Then do the other side.

Step 13: Test Carefully.

Sometimes a little stray glue on an adjacent surface prevents the mechanism from opening. Usually you can break these mistakes free by carefully sliding the butter knife or something similar into the problem area.

Step 14: Envelope

Make or find an envelope. To make, print hippo envelope PDF at 100%. Cut the solid lines. Fold the broken lines: sides, bottom, top. Glue shut.

Step 15: Send

Step 16: Flashback to 2012

I found these pics of the assembly line we had going back then. We did some pink and some grey hippos. Also some dogs and cats...

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