Introduction: Pop-out Christmas

Pop-out Christmas gives your giftees a multitude of things to do. You start with a card and end up with an ornament and stencil tool, with no parts going to waste.

The tool of choice here is a Laser cutter. But this can also be done very carefully and with much patience using an xacto knife. 

Step 1: Materials

To make Pop-out Christmas, you will need the following:

_Adobe Illustrator (or equivalent sketching program)
_AutoCAD (for tranfer onto laser cutter)
_Access to a laser cutter
_Matt board (1mm thick, 18x24in, white)

Optional (if you're planning to make these by hand)
_Xacto knife
_Cutting board

Step 2: Making the Graphic

Use Adobe Illustrator to draw out your own card shape and tree profile or use the image attached.

The key here is to draw 2 identical profiles of a tree and draw in a slot down the middle of each one; one slot from the top to the middle, and the other from the bottom of the tree to the middle. The slots should be the same length and the width should be the thickness of the board you plan to use. In this case it's 1mm.

Add text to the card and make sure the tree profile has a small break in it, to assure the tree is slightly connected to the card so it doesn't just fall out when you laser-cut it. 

Step 3: AutoCAD File

Take this card from Illustrator and save it as a .DWG file and import it into AutoCAD (or whatever software your laser cutter requires)

Multiply this card many times over the size of your cutting surface ina grid to maximize the cards made. I made these cards quite small. They are about 3x5 inches each. 

In AutoCAD, you can set the line type forthe text to another colour. Then set the laser cutter to assign this colour to a less powerful cut, so it simply engraves the text rather than cutting it. 

For the rest, you must configure the cutter for cutting Matt board of that specific thickness.  

Step 4: Cut and Pop

Command your laser machine to cut along your lines and produce many many cards in a matter of minutes.

Pop out the cards, being careful not to pop out trees while you're at it. Tie a string around one end of the card. In my design I incorporated a small joggle in the card profile for this specific reason.

You card is ready to give!

Step 5: Pop & Decorate & Build

As the receiver of the card: pop, pop, pop until all the peices are out.

Now decorate your card however you wish. Possibilities are endless.

Then slot your trees together and onto the base. If you did the first step right in Illustrator, these peices should fit perfectly.

Step 6: Display

Use the cleverly attached string from the card to hang your tree on a real tree. In the Illustrator file, you should draw a small hole to allow this stringing.

It's a very art deco addition to your overly glittery tree.

Step 7: Create More Cards!

We'renot done yet....

Your card receivers can use the leftovers of Step 5 to create their own xmas cards. These tree trimmings make greate stencils for use with paint or markers.

And that's it! Have fun with Pop-out Christmas.

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