Ideas for Making Homemade Pop Up Cards

Dana Hinders
printable pop up card

Homemade pop up cards make unique and personalized greetings for almost any occasion. Pop up cards offer a fun and interactive element that appeals to both the young and the young at heart.

Pop Up Card Techniques

There are several different ways you can make a pop up card. Two of the most common are the internal stand and v-fold techniques.

Internal Stand Pop Up Technique

The easiest method for designing a homemade pop up card involves making an internal stand by cutting slits in the backing card. When you bend the card inward, the slits pop up to form a small stand. Then, you simply need to adhere your image to the stand to make it pop up when the card is opened. Here's how to make this type of card.

1. Cut a rectangle measuring 7 1/2" x 4 1/2" from a sheet of cardstock. Fold this rectangle in half. Cut two slits in the middle of the paper that are 1 1/2" tall and 1 1/2" apart. This forms your internal pop up stand. Open your paper and gently push the cut out portion forward.

internal stand pop up step 01

2. Run over all of the creases with your fingernail or a bone folder once you've closed the paper. Open the paper once more. Adhere the card making embellishment of your choice to the front part of the pop-up portion of the rectangle. You could use clip art, rubber stamped images, die cuts, or stickers that have been left on their backing paper so they won't stick to the inside of the card when it is closed.

internal stand pop up step 02

3. Add the desired message and any other embellishments to the inside of your pop up internal stand. Fold an 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper into fourths to create the outer layer of the card. Decorate the front of the card as desired, then adhere the pop up internal stand to the inside of the card. Add extra trim or embellishment if desired.

internal stand pop up step 03

V-Fold Pop Up Card Technique

Another fairly common method for making a pop up card is to use a v-fold. Many purchased pop up cards use this technique.

1. Cut a small rectangular piece of cardstock. Fold the rectangle in half. Make a notch in the middle, then fold a small part of the cardstock down to make a small tab.

v-fold pop up step 01

2. Glue the tabs to the inside of the card. The angle you use will determine the look of your finished design. Use a 60 degree angle if you want the pop up part of the card to lean towards the back when it is opened. Use a 90 degree angle if you want the pop up part of card to stand up vertically when the backing is opened. Use a 100 degree angle if you want the pop up part of the card to lean forward from the back when the backing is opened.

v-fold pop up step 02

3. Add the pop up image to the v-fold and decorate the rest of the card as desired. This card uses baby shower clip art, for example.

v-fold pop up step 03

Printable Pop Up Cards

Printable pop up cards generally use variations of the internal stand or v-fold technique to create the finished design.

Click on one of the images below to download a template and instructions for a printable "I Love You" pop up card. The first template features patterned paper that can be customized with a message and the photo of your choice. The second template features the cutting guide for the pop up image only, and is intended to be used with your own patterned paper or cardstock. Both templates are PDF files that require Adobe Reader to view and print.

If you're looking for more pop up card printables, try some of these projects:

  • Robert Sabuda offers free tutorials showing how to make a wide range of pop up cards, some of which are quite advanced. There are animals, such as a rabbit, turkey, and lion, and seasonal designs, such as a Christmas tree, menorah, snowflake, and Easter basket.
  • Martha Stewart provides instructions for an adorable reindeer pop up card you can use to send Christmas greetings to friends and family.
  • Ladybugstampers Craft Site shows how to make a panda pop up card.
  • Creative Park has a template and instructions to make a pop up birthday card.
  • Dick Blick offers a tutorial to help you make a breathtaking water lily origami pop up card.

Pop Up Cards for Any Occasion

Are you having trouble deciding what type of pop up card to make? Use one of the basic pop-up card techniques with these project ideas to get started:

  • Birthday: Make a birthday cake, cupcake, present, or candles that pop up from the page.
  • Thank You: Have the words "Thank You" pop up when you open the card, or personalize the card by cutting out a silhouette photo for your pop up.
  • Miss You: Make a hand appear to wave goodbye when you open up the card.
  • Get Well Soon: Have a bouquet of balloons, an arrangement of flowers, or a giant smiley face appear when the recipient opens the card.
  • New Baby: Make a rattle, diaper, crib, or teddy bear pop up from a baby shower card.

Handmade Cards Bring Lots of Smiles

Pop up cards are fun to make for almost any occasion. Whether you use the internal stand technique, v-fold technique, or download a printable card template, it takes just a few minutes to create a special personalized greeting for a friend or family member.

Ideas for Making Homemade Pop Up Cards