How to Make Tri Fold Cards

Written by jessica begum
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Tri-fold cards can be a creative way to add something special to the traditional card exchange. The cards can be constructed where the folded sides overlap completely, overlap slightly, or just touch, depending on the design of the card. A popular theme for tri-fold cards is a "kissing card," where images of people or animals "kiss" when the folded sections of the card are closed. Tri-fold cards offer the card creator a long and wide area on the inside that can be decorated with a panoramic scene and they offer more room for multiple stanza poetry or messages.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Card stock
  • Standard printing paper
  • Greeting card software
  • Word processing software
  • Ruler
  • Markers
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Envelope
  • Stickers
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Craft embellishments

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  1. 1

    Determine the fold of your tri-fold card. It can overlap completely and equally; overlap favouring one side; or meet in the centre without overlapping.

  2. 2

    Use a ruler and pencil to mark the fold lines with very light dash or dotted lines pencilled in. Measure the top, centre and bottom of your lines from the sides of the card to ensure straight fold guides.

  3. 3

    Write the message and illustrate both outer flaps and the interior of the card. Some tri-fold cards have the interior message only on the middle flap while others feature a scene or message that spans across the interior.

  4. 4

    Fold the card. Press the folds firmly for a well set crease. If the card stock crease is not satisfactory, lay down a light coloured towel, place the folded card on the towel, cover the card with the towel, and press with an iron set on the lowest setting using dry heat.

  5. 5

    Add embellishments if desired after folding is completed. Decorate with glitter, jewels, stickers, shaped paper or pressed flowers after the card has been folded for the best adhesion.

  1. 1

    Select the tri-fold card option if your greeting card software or word processing software offers this. Otherwise, use a ruler to determine the exact measurements and write them down. Include the height and length as well as the distance from the ends of the card to the folds. Use these measurements to set your paper dimensions in "Page Setup" and to set the margins on your screen. If your software does not allow page breaks to be set across the document, use text boxes to break up the area. Text and images can be placed in the text boxes and moved easily by dragging the text box.

  2. 2

    Add text, clip art and illustrations to the two folding sides of your card. Then add text, clip art and illustrations to the inside of your card. If you have software that creates tri-fold greeting cards, just click on the space or tab to get to the inside of the card. If you don't have software with this function built in, then work in page 2 of the current file set to the same configurations (for instance, in the case of Microsoft Word) or open a new file and set it to the same margins (for instance, in the case of Paint).

  3. 3

    Use the "Print Preview" function to check for margin accuracy, then print a test copy on standard paper with the same dimensions as your card stock. Trim the test copy if necessary and fold the printout to check that all text, clip art, illustrations and images are in the proper placement. Make adjustments if needed.

  4. 4

    Check that the print settings are correct for the final print by selecting the paper type and ink settings to match your card stock. Print the final version on the card stock.

  5. 5

    Fold the tri-fold card after the ink dries completely. Add additional embellishments and decorations if desired like sparkles, puffy ink or paint, glitter, paper crafts or pressed flowers.

Tips and warnings

  • Test your design ideas by creating a rough sketch or running a test copy to work out any flaws before creating the final card.
  • Double-check that your card paper is facing the right direction before printing page 2.

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