Looking for an extra special way to send a happy hello this Spring? Make a pop up box card! See how I made mine, and then follow the easy, step-by-step directions to make your own.
Spring Pop Up Box Card
A handmade card doesn’t have to be complicated to be special. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to make one that is! One of my favorite slightly complicated cards to make is the pop up box card. It’s called a ‘card’ because it folds flat for mailing like any other card.
However, when the recipient ‘opens’ it, it pops up into a standing box with some fun surprises inside. How clever is that?!?
Although the pop up box card may look a bit complicated, it really isn’t hard to make. It’s just a matter of cutting, scoring, folding, and taping — things that any papercrafter can do! The trickiest part is attaching the two little paper crossbars to the inside of the box, but even that isn’t hard. Once you get them in place on the frame, you can attach all sorts of die cuts, stamped images, and other embellishments to them.
With Spring so near, I decided it would be fun to make a Spring-themed pop up box card this week. I don’t know about you, but when I think about Spring, the garden automatically comes to mind. Sunshine, flowers, and lots of beautiful bugs and other garden critters — that is Spring to me! Since the new “Dreamin’ Big” kit and coordinating stamp set from Close To My Heart have all of these, they seemed perfect for this project.
To decorate the open area of my pop up box card, I started by layering some of the die cut flower stickers together. Next I added some greenery made with a Martha Stewart leaf punch, and then sealed the layered ‘bouquet’ to the front crossbar with double-sided tape.
To decorate the rear crossbar, I used stamped dragonfly and butterfly images from the “Dreamin’ Big” stamp set. The set is available in a bundle with Thin Cuts dies (25% off thru the end of March!), and those made it really easy to cut out the stamped bugs. Once cut out, I attached each bug to the end of a 1/2-inch wide x 2-1/2-inch long clear acetate strip, and then stuck the strip ends to the rear crossbar. Since the acetate is see-through, the bugs look to be flying above the flowers. Finally, I added some of the black stick-on sequins that come with the Dreamin’ Big kit as flower centers.
The greeting piece on the front box flap is another die cut sticker, matted with cardstock and stamped with a sentiment. Isn’t that little ladybug sticker super cute? I attached both the greeting piece and the ladybug sticker with foam tape for added dimension.
Here you can see the full set of materials that I had to choose from — all available thru April in my Close To My Heart shop. Look at all those wonderfully warm colors and fun Spring imagery and accents! I’ve been itching to dig into these goodies ever since I got them back in December, but didn’t want to depress myself over the Winter by daydreaming too much of Spring. Now that Spring is practically here, though, you can bet they’ll be getting lots of use!
This pop up box card will be going out to a friend with whom I haven’t spoken in a while, but about whom I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Hopefully it will add a little extra almost-Spring sunshine to her day!
Project Linked To: Double D Challenges (“Think Spring”), Word Art Wednesday (Anything Goes with a Positive Sentiment), Tuesday Throwdown (Thinking of You), Crafting from the Heart (Anything Goes), Artistic Inspirations (Anything Goes).
How to Make Your Own Pop Up Box Card
Would you like to make a pop up box card of your own? As I said, it’s really not hard. Below you’ll find detailed directions, including diagrams to help you along. Once you’ve made one pop up box card to get the hang of the process, any future ones you make will be a breeze. And trust me — you will want to make more, because they’re just so much fun!
- 1 sheet of 12×12 cardstock
- Misc. coordinating patterned papers
- Stamped images and/or die cuts for decorating the box
- Paper trimmer
- Scoring/folding tool
- Paper scissors
- Double-sided tape
- Foam tape
- Miscellaneous embellishments as desired
- OPTIONAL: Clear acetate
A. Make the Frame Base
1. With your paper trimmer, cut your papers to the following dimensions:
- One piece of 8-1/2 x 12 inches to form the card base
- One piece of 2-1/4 x 6 inches to write your note to the recipient on
- Patterned Papers:
- Two pieces of 2-1/2 x 6-1/4 inches (1 each for the inside and outside of the back panel)
- Six pieces of 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches (three each for the inside and the outside of the upper panels)
- Three pieces of 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches for the lower outside panels
2. Take the 8-1/2- x 12-inch piece of cardstock in hand, and rotate it so that one of the long sides faces you. Now score the cardstock verticallly (top to bottom) along that long side at:
- 2 -3/4 inches
- 5-1/2 inches
- 8-1/4 inches
- 11 inches
3. Next, rotate the scored cardstock so that one of the short sides faces you. Then, using your paper trimmer, cut the cardstock vertically (top to bottom) at 6-1/2 inches.
This will create two pieces: a 6-1/2 x 12-inch piece, and a 2- x 12-inch strip of cardstock. The larger piece is what you’ll use to make the frame for the pop up box card. Don’t discard the smaller piece, though — you’ll need it later!
4. With the short side of the larger piece of cardstock still facing you, score it vertically (top to bottom) at 2-3/4 inches. This divides the cardstock into 10 rectangle-shaped panels.
5. Now rotate the cardstock 1/4 turn to the left (90 degrees). The shorter rectangle panels should now face you, with the skinniest one at your right-hand side.
6. Working from left to right, use paper scissors to cut up along each of the first three vertical score lines. For each, start at the bottom edge of the cardstock, and then stop when you meet the horizontal (left to right) score line.
7. Next, cut up along the fourth and final vertical score line. This time, however, when you reach the horizontal score line, angle your scissors up and to the right, and then cut out to right edge of the cardstock. Doing this creates the tab piece that you’ll use to connect the sides of your pop up box card together.
B. Decorate the Frame Base
1. Rotate the cardstock 1/2 turn to the left (180 degrees) so that the tab piece you just created is at the lower left edge. You are now looking at what will be the inside of the pop up box card.
2. Using tape runner or similar adhesive, center and attach one piece of 2-1/2 x 6-1/4 inch patterned paper over the two left-most rectangle-shaped panels.
3. Now center and attach one piece of 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch patterned paper to each of the remaining three upper panels.
4. Next, flip the cardstock over so that the tab piece is at the lower right edge. You are now looking at what will be the outside of the pop up box card.
5. Using tape runner or similar adhesive, center and attach one piece of 2-1/2 x 6-1/4 inch patterned paper over the two right-most rectangle-shaped panels.
6. Now center and attach the 2-1/4 x 6-inch piece of cardstock over the top of that patterned paper. This is the piece on which you’ll write your note for the pop up box card recipient.
7. Use the three pieces of 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch patterned paper to decorate the lower three remaining panels.
8. Finally, center and attach one piece of 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch patterned paper to each of the three empty upper panels.
C. Assemble the Pop Up Box Card Frame
Now that you’ve decorated the panels of the base, it’s time to assemble the pop up box card frame.
1. With the outside panels of the pop up box card still facing up, apply double-sided tape to the entire length of the tab piece.
2. Next, flip the cardstock over so that the tab piece is at the lower left edge, and then fold the taped tab up along the score line over the top of the cardstock.
3. Now, using the center-most vertical (up and down) score line on the base as the fold line, fold the right edge of the base up and over the top of the taped tab to meet the left edge of the base.
4.. Align all necessary edges, and then press to seal the tab and the top base layer together. You now have a flattened box card, which is how it will look when you flatten it to mail it.
5. Stand the card up on its bottom edge. Then, squeeze lightly at the sides push it into a box shape. If necessary, fold back and forth along the vertical score lines a few times until the card stands solidly on its own in the box shape.
D. Make and Attach the Crossbars
1. First, fold down the front and two side box flaps, leaving the back panel untouched. This will open up the box so that you can install the crossbars to which you’ll attach your embellishments.
2. Now locate the 2×12-inch scored strip that you cut from the main piece in step A3, and rotate it so that one of the long sides faces you.
3. Next, using your paper trimmer, cut the strip along the long side 4-3/4 inches in from the end with the 1-inch wide panel.
This creates a 4-3/4-inch-wide strip with 1-inch panels at both ends.
3. Rotate the 4-3/4 inch strip so that one of the short sides faces you, and then cut it vertically (top to bottom) at 1 inch. You should now have two strips of the same size.
4. Turn the strips so that the long sides face you. Then, fold up the 1-inch end panels on both strips.
5. Apply double-sided tape to the top surface of each 1-inch panel, removing the plastic covering on the tape if necessary.
5. Now, unfold the end panels slightly so that each strip resembles a little bench with a seat and two perpendicular legs.
6. Adhere the two bench-shaped crossbar pieces inside the box as shown in the diagram below. The top inside edges of the box should align with the coordinating top edges of the crossbars, so that the crossbars sit just inside the top of the box.
Your pop up box card should look something like this when you’re finished.
E. Embellish Your Pop Up Box Card
The rest of making a pop up box card is all about embellishment! Your main embellishments — die cuts, stamped images, etc. — should be attached to the crossbars so that they “pop up” when the card is in box form. You can attach them along their bottom edges using double-sided or foam tape, or stick them to strips of acetate that you then attach to the crossbars. Try to keep the height of your embellishments below that of the back panel, though, and no wider than half a panel’s width out from either side. This is because you want them to be hidden when the card is closed.
Don’t forget about the side and back panels! There’s plenty of room there to add sentiments, additional artwork, etc. Again, just remember to keep things within the given space so it’s all hidden from the recipient until they open their card.
A Word About Envelopes & Mailing
When finished and flattened, this pop up box card will measure approximately 6-1/2 inches tall x 5-1/2 inches wide. It will also have some bulk to it. Although you might find an envelope at the craft store or an office supply store to fit, you may need to make one yourself, or plan on mailing it in a manila or padded mailer. Also, you may want to have this card hand-stamped — rather than machine cancelled — in order to keep your embellishments intact.
Share Your Thoughts
Will you give the pop up box card a try? What fun themes can you think of to use? Are there questions about this project or the materials that I used in my sample that I can answer for you? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts!