How to Make a Pop Up Car

Updated April 17, 2017

You open a folded card and suddenly something fun pop up at you. The concept of pop-up cards dates to the 1800s, when novelty books for children produced "peek holes," flaps and cutouts. In the 1840s, greeting cards featured simple pop-ups on Valentine's Day cards. Cutting and folding paper in a specific way will create the action of opening a folded card to pop open a design.

If you are moving or taking a road trip, or just got married and want to inform people, make a few pop-up cars within a folded card to announce your plans. It is sure to grab their attention.

Take an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch sheet of construction paper and fold it in half. The folded size is 8 1/2 inches wide by 5 1/2 inches in height. Put this aside to work on the pop-up.

Cut a strip of white paper to measure 7 inches by 2 3/4 inches in width and height. Mark the following measurements on the strip. The first measurement working from the left to the right is 1 1/4 inches wide. From each proceeding mark measure the second panel at 2 1/2 inches, the third panel three-quarters of an inch, and the fourth panel 2 1/2 inches.

Lay your divided paper out vertically. The top panel starts with the measurement of 1 1/4 inches. On the first, second and third panels, draw the image of your car. The first panel is the windshield. The second panel is the bonnet and the third panel is the grill and two front tires. Use your coloured pencils or crayons to colour the art. Decorate your car however you would like. Leave the fourth panel blank.

Fold all four panels. The first panel folds like a V and the second and third panels fold like an upside-down V. Apply the glue to the front side of the fourth panel. Fold the panel back and place it on the bottom section inside your folded construction paper card, with the edge of the panel on the fold line of the card.

Apply glue behind the top section of the inside card. Close the card and press firmly. Wait for the glue to dry. Open card carefully. The top section is now glued in place. The car will collapse when the card is closed. It will pop open when the card is opened.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Coloured pencil or crayons
  • Glue
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About the Author

Karen Malzeke-McDonald is both an illustrator and writer in the children's publishing market. She has an A.A.S in art and advertising from The Art Institute of Dallas and a B.A. in art history and studio art with a minor in English literature from Hollins College. Malzeke-McDonald has enjoyed many career challenges, from designing a nationally licensed character to creating and marketing new businesses.