Types of pop up cards

greetings card image by Attila Toro from Fotolia.com

Pop-up cards come in several varieties, with a multitude of variations. These eye-catching, three-dimensional greetings run from simple to complex. Commercial card manufacturers offer the best of this art form during major holiday seasons. With simple materials, however, a novice crafter can make her own pop-up cards.


V-fold is considered one of the most popular pop-up types. It only takes one cut and one fold to create the simplest V-fold mechanism. Fold your paper in half and draw a small, square box. Cut one side and fold it back, creating a 45-degree angle. Set the fold line by folding and unfolding several times. Open the card and push the fold in, popping it forward. Depending on how you look at it, your creation is a spout, a tree, a beak or even a telescope. Since a novice crafter will have no problem with the V-fold mechanism, creating a card using the V-fold design is a good holiday project for children or adults. Variations include the V-fold pivot and the asymmetrical V-fold pivot.


The box is another easily made mechanism. Create a box pop-up with two cuts and one fold. For practice use an 8 1/2-by-11 sheet of paper and fold it in half. Draw a box and cut the two sides that are perpendicular to the fold. Fold the flap that is left several times to set the fold. Open the card, pushing your finished box forward to pop it out. Using materials found around the house, you can cut and enhance the box pop-up device. This pop-up form lends itself well to innovative, graphic-rich cards because the box creates a stand where you can attach images using advanced techniques such as box cut separately, open-top box, open box and tabletop floating on boxes.


Most commonly found in cards where the cutting technique is used to create the mouth for a cartoon character inside the card, the mouth pop-up mechanism is yet another simple technique, which anyone can accomplish. One cut down the middle of a pre-drawn box and two folds at 45-degree angles to the cut is all it takes to make this pop-up mechanism.

Tabs and Slots

Employing tabs and slots in addition to a basic mechanism makes for a more appealing, albeit more complicated, pop-up card. These add-on mechanisms allow for complex movement and intricate design options. One of the easiest enhancements employs the use of a parallel slide mechanism, which adds parallel movement to a basic pop-up card. A slot and tab combination is used to create this moderately simple mechanism.

X Mechanism

Although the X mechanism is commonly used as an addition to a box pop-up design, its versatility labels it in the separate mechanism category. Basically, the X design employs two identical shapes, which are slotted at right angles to one another and attached to the base card's box mechanism. Employing the X-mechanism as part of your pop-up card creation pushes the difficulty level to moderate, but is still considered doable by most.

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