Super Easy Pop-up Room





Introduction: Super Easy Pop-up Room

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-p...

This project goes into the category "kids can do" because it's so easy, quick, and the result is a very satisfying (and cheap) toy.

The models for these pictures are my boys, age 7 and 10, who are not famous for their patience. Despite the numerous steps, it took them about 5 minutes to complete the project; it takes me about 45 seconds.

Step 1: Materials

The only tools you need to complete this project are:

A ball point pen
A ruler
A pin or sewing needle

You will also need to download the PDF template and print it with a color printer. The image is the size of a 4 by 6 postcard, but you can scale it to any size you would like.

You can download a (free) PDF from my website. Please note that most of my PDF files are protected so that they cannot be copied or modified, so if you try opening them with image editing software, such as Illustrator, a password will be requested. Use Preview, or Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewing software instead, and you will be able to open and print the file without entering a password.

Note: the photographs in this instructable show a pre-printed postcard I made, not the PDF file printed on a sheet of paper -- however the instructions are the same.

Step 2: Scoring Technique

The most important step in making a successful pop-up card is to score the fold line before you attempt to fold the paper. Scoring crushes the paper without cutting it, enabling you to control precisely the fold location and giving you a nice, crisp result.

A ball point pen is the perfect tool for this job -- when pressed down firmly it will dent the paper without damaging it -- but its drawback is that it will (usually) do what it's supposed to do. Draw a line. Since you don't want to mark your picture, you will need to score the card on the back side of your paper.

Always use a ruler when you score, so your line will be perfectly straight.

If you prefer to see the picture as you score, you can try using a knitting needle, a stylus pen, or even a bone scoring tool they sell in art supply stores. You want something sharp enough to draw a line, but not too sharp or it might damage the paper. I use a ball point pen which I spent hours emptying of its ink. I only recommend this option if you are planning to make many, many pop-ups. Washing the ink away was messy, long, and extremely tedious.

Step 3: First Fold

After you have printed your template, mark the division between the wall and the floor by pricking your paper with the pin where I drew red dots on this picture. You can then flip your paper over and draw a line between the two pin holes using your ball point pen and ruler. Draw the line all the way to the edge of your sheet of paper.

Fold your sheet of paper along the score line with the image facing out.

Step 4: Cut the Table and Chair

Use your scissors to cut the sides of the chair seat (NOT the back) and the table top. A total of four quick snips.

Step 5: Score the Table and Chair

Unfold your sheet of paper and use your ball point pen and ruler to draw a total of four lines, parallel to the center fold, connecting the top and bottom of the cuts you just made. 

Step 6: Push the Table Forward

Fold your card again, with the image facing out, but this time push the table forward so that it is tucked inside, invisible when the card is folded flat.

Step 7: Cut the Pop-up Doll House

Cut both sides of the doll house, being careful to cut through only the top two layers of paper.

Step 8: Score the Doll House

Unfold the card and score the top and bottom of the dollhouse, by connecting the new cuts in parallel with the center fold.

Step 9: Make the Chair Pop Out

With the image facing towards you, start folding the card shut while pushing the chair seat forward by poking it from behind with your finger. Fold the card shut all the way (with the image on the inside) and smooth the creases.

Step 10: Make the Table Pop Out

Push the table forward the same way you just did with the chair.

Step 11: Make the Doll House Pop Out

Be careful with this step -- since the doll house is close to the edge of the table, unless you are careful you might rip the paper if you fold this one too quickly.

Pinch the edge of the table as you slowly push the doll house forward. As you continue to fold, make sure the edge doesn't rip by pressing down with your fingers on both sides of the card.

Once the card is folded properly and the edges have been creased it is no longer at risk of ripping (under normal, fairly gentle play conditions).

Step 12: Congratulations, You're Done!

Hope you enjoyed this instructable...



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    27 Discussions

    I did enjoy it. What type of paper is this printed on?

    pdf file ask me password. may i know please?

    1 reply

    (from my FAQ page) Try using a different program to open the template. Most of my PDF files are protected so that they cannot be copied or modified, so if you try opening them with image editing software, such as Illustrator, a password will be requested. Use Preview, or Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewing software instead, and you will be able to open and print the file without entering a password.

    Chairs are hard but this (a room in our house) was a REALLY fun project.

    14, 9:16 PM.jpg14, 9:16 PM.jpg
    2 replies

    Nice! A lot of work though, isn't it?

    Yes, not for the faint of heart! But now I know how to 'think' about pop up cards' rise,run, layers and cutlines... I think the more I do, I can get less sloppy and make them faster. Also I used a digital cutter to help. Thank you for spelling out a new skill for me It turned out surprisingly better than I thought.

    Excellent home-made for children. Perhaps should give your child a set of toys to make

    This would be great to do for xmas cards, but take a picture of your decorated house, and use that instead of the postcard.

    That's a cute little house, and thanks for posting the link (I always like to see what other people are making). I wouldn't got as far as saying it's almost identical though -- both the esthetics (drawings vs. photos) and the concept (pop-up which opens and closes vs. paper craft which is built and then cannot be folded flat) are not at all alike. This isn't a criticism... your house is different, but different is good too. SInce you like this kind of craft you might enjoy seeing pictures of the full pop-up house I designed. Thanks again for commenting!

    i designed somthing almost identical to this but a wole house with inside and out that takes like five minutes to make

    How awesome would it be if someone did this on a life size scale?! If you do, please acknowledge me for the idea ;-)

    5 replies

    All foldable furniture is kind of a "pop up card". they have in fact made life size pop ups as you can see on this video:

    That's a really cool video! Though I was thinking more about making Belsey's pop up office out of wood so that it could be used as furniture Maybe when I've got some spare time, money and space I'll give it a shot.

    Thanks for posting that link! Very cool project... although sadly I doubt that it's strong enough to actually use, unlike non pop-up cardboard furniture designs. Still, very enjoyable video.

    Dont give me ideas!!! hmm if one could make everything with a strong durable cardboard, maybe hinges where they are needed....oh crap, i might make one now!!!