How to Make Kirigami Pop-Up Cards

Written by kristen may
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In Japanese, the word "kirigami" literally means "cut paper" and is related to origami, which is the art of folding paper. Kirigami art includes simple paper snowflakes, along with far more complex paper architecture and other creations. Many pop-up cards are considered kirigami because artists make them by cutting paper and folding it to make it pop out when the card opens. You need practice before you will be able to create original kirigami pop-up cards, but you only need to follow instructions to use other people's designs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Printer
  • Thick paper
  • Cutting mat
  • Craft knife
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Print a kirigami design onto a piece of thick paper of the colour you want the design to be (see Resources). If you would like to create your own design, draw it onto the piece of paper.

  2. 2

    Place the paper onto a self-healing cutting mat and carefully cut along all of the solid lines in the kirigami design with a craft knife. Be careful to not cut beyond the solid lines, as the paper often needs to remain attached in key points for the pop-up card to work properly.

  3. 3

    Fold along all of the dotted lines in the kirigami card design. Conventions vary from one design to another, but one type of dotted line will indicate mountain folds and the other will indicate valley folds. The fold in the centre of the card will be a valley fold because that is where the card folds in half to close with the kirigami design inside.

  4. 4

    Close the kirigami card along the centre fold, being careful that the design inside folds in all of the correct places and does not bend or fold in other locations.

  5. 5

    Glue the card to a paper backing of a contrasting colour. Make sure to only glue the part of the card that surrounds the areas with cuts. If you glue too much, the kirigami design will not be able to pop out.

Tips and warnings

  • Some designs also include a step involving cutting a shape out of a piece of coloured paper and gluing the rest of the paper inside the card so the kirigami design that pops out is a different colour than the inside of the card.
  • Craft knives are extremely sharp and should not be used by children without careful adult instruction and supervision.

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