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Creative Greeting CardsIllustration 1, Great White Matte Coated Ink Jet Paper
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Cards with moving parts appeal to the kid in all of us. With simple cutting and folding techniques, a little patience, and the right paper, even a novice computer crafter can create attention-grabbing pop-up greeting cards. This project takes you step-by-step through making three colorful pop-up cards.

Before beginning, you must understand the difference between peak and valley folds, as shown in Ill. 1. When creasing paper to form a peak, fold paper so the design is showing. A valley fold is made by folding paper with the design to the inside.

Birthday Candles Pop-Up Card Instructions:

Proper graphic alignment, along with an understanding of peak and valley folds, is essential when creating the birthday card shown here.  Refer to Illustration 2 while making this card.
  1. Open an 8"x11" blank design area in your computer crafting program.
  2. Insert a horizontal line 5" from top edge of design area to mark the center valley fold. (Remove line before printing.)
  3. Select a confetti background from clip art and maximize (or duplicate) to fill the entire page.
  4. Select a birthday candle graphic (which will be candle number 6 as shown in Ill. 2) and center horizontally on page. Adjust size of candle to "x3.3".
  5. Align candle 6 vertically so that bottom edge of the graphic is 7-1/8" from the top edge of design area. (Make sure candle is still centered horizontally on page.) Illustration 2, Great White Matte Coated Ink Jet Paper
  6. Duplicate the candle 6 times. (These will be candles 5 and 7.)
  7. Align candles 5 and 7 directly on top of candle 6.
  8. Move the top candle (candle 7) to the right by selecting it and pushing the right arrow key five times. Next, select top candle from center of page (candle 5), and move it to the left by pushing the left arrow key five times. NOTE: It is important that your candles are equally spaced, so in this design you will always be moving a candle by first aligning directly on top of the last candle placed and then moving it exactly five spaces using the left or right arrow key on your keyboard.
  9. Add candles 8, 9, 10 and 11 to the right of candle 7. To do this, select and duplicate candle 7. Align this new candle (candle 8) directly on top of candle 7. Move candle 8 five spaces to the right by using the right arrow key. Repeat this process three more times to add candles 9, 10 and 11, always working with the candle furthest to the right.
  10. Add candles 1, 2, 3 and 4 to the left of candle 5. To do this, repeat Step 9, but substitute 'left' where it reads 'right'.
  11. Being careful not to change the horizontal placement of the candles, vertically align candles 1 through 4 and candles 8 through 11 so that the bottom edges align below the top edge of page as follows: Candles 4 and 8 align at the 6-5/8" mark Candles 3 and 9 align at the 6-3/16" mark Candles 2 and 10 align at the 5-11/16" mark Candles 1 and 11 align at the 5-3/16" mark.
  12. Type "May all your wishes come true!", with a return between the words 'wishes' and 'come', using 30 pt. Arial. Make background area of text box white to cover the confetti behind the text. Align text above the three center candles as shown.
  13. Select a gift tag graphic and place it below the candles as shown in Ill. 2. This will be the area of the card you sign.
  14. Print pop-up design on Great White Matte Coated Ink Jet Paper ( 93 Bright, 37 lb., 8-1/2"x11").  NOTE:  This paper produces vivid colors, and the heavy weight is imperative to professional-looking pop-ups.  I've tried a lot of different papers, and this is absolutely the best!

 

Cutting & Folding The Pop-up:
  1. Lay printed pop-up design on a safe cutting surface. Center a ruler between candles 1 and 2 and cut a 4" straight line with crafting knife, beginning at the bottom of the lower placed candle. Repeat for remaining candles, EXCEPT the three center candles (5, 6 and 7) which remain grouped together. (Refer to Ill. 2 above.)
  2. Create valley folds at base of candles and top of text (indicated by a dashed line on illustration) and peak folds (indicated by a dotted line on illustration) at tip of flames for candles 2 through 10. For instance, to make the center valley fold below candles 1 and 11, fold card stock so that points C and D meet (as shown in Ill. 2) and sharply crease from outer edge to the first cut. To make the valley fold at the top of the text, roll top edge of card stock toward the middle of design until the first cut lines on each side of the card stock are shown, then sharply crease the card stock between the two outside cut lines.
  3. Once all folds have been made, cut 1" from top and bottom of card and 1/2" from left and right sides using Fiskars Paper Edgers.
  4. Fold blank sheet of colored card stock in half, top to bottom, and crease sharply. Apply glue to the back of pop-up design (bottom half), being careful not to apply any glue to the back of the candles.
  5. Carefully align the center fold (below candles 1 and 11) of pop-up with center crease of colored card stock and press in place.
  6. Apply glue stick to back of pop-up design (top half), being careful not to apply glue to the back of the candles or text area.
  7. Close colored card stock to make contact with top half of pop-up design, and press in place.

 

Designing The Card Front:

Open a blank 8"x11" design area in your graphics design program.  Insert a 7.3"x4.2" border graphic & center on the page.  Insert balloon or celebration graphics inside the border.  Add text as desired.

Print design on white, lightweight card stock.  Cut out card's front close to border graphic with Fiskars Paper Edgers.  Apply glue to back of design, center on front of pop-up card and press in place.

Optional Embellishments: Add additional sparkle to the pop-up card with metallic colored star stickers on front of card and pop-up. Also, apply a thin film of white glue to flames and sprinkle with ultra-fine glitter; tap off excess and allow to dry.

Important Rules of Thumb:  When creating peak and valley fold pop-up card designs, remember three important rules.Card Front (1) If you want pop-up graphics to "stand straight" when the card is opened, the distance between the top peak and valley folds must equal the distance between the card's center fold and the graphic's bottom valley fold. (2) Use a high quality, heavyweight paper (Great White Matte Coated Ink Jet Paper ( 93 Bright, 37 lb., 8-1/2"x11") to give your pop-up "body".  (3) To ensure that the pop-up design does not extend outside the closed card, the distance between the uppermost valley fold and the top edge of the card stock must be equal to or greater than the distance between the uppermost valley fold and the lowest peak fold.Inside graphic layout

Potted Flowers Pop-Up Card:  

By applying techniques used to create the birthday pop-up, and referring to Ill. 3, you can create the potted flowers 'get well' card. 

When cutting around each potted flower, begin at the bottom left of the pot. Follow the outline around the left edge of the flowers until you reach the left vertical cut line above the flowers; continue the cut straight up to the top of the line. Repeat this process on the right side of each potted flower. Create the peak and valley folds. Glue the pop-up design to the inside of the folded card. 

The flower pot on the front of my 'get well' card is attached with an adhesive foam mounting dot creating a raised "3D" effect.

 

Explosion Card:

An "explosion" pop-up card is created by folding and creasing a square sheet of paper with the inside design of your greeting card. When glued inside the folded card stock, opening the card causes the inside design to "explode."

Unlike my birthday candles and potted flowers cards, the explosion card requires no special cuts--the effect relies only upon intricate folds. Maggie's Explosion Pop-Up Card

Practice creating the folds on a blank 8" paper square first. Write letters A through N on practice sheet, as shown in Ill. 4, to help you follow the directions below. Explosion folds do take a little practice. But once you've gotten the hang of it, you'll be creating explosions all over the place!

Instructions:

  • Open a blank 8-1/2"x11" design area in your graphic design program.
  • Insert an 8"x 8" square border graphic as the design area for the explosion.
  • Design card using graphics, scanned photos and text as desired.
  • Print design on high quality, heavyweight paper (Great White Matte Coated Ink Jet Paper (93 Bright, 37 lb., 8-1/2"x11"), and cut out the 8" design area.
  • Referring to the illustration and photo of the completed explosion card, make required folds. (Valley creases are represented by dash lines, while peak creases are dotted lines. The vertical center is represented by the solid white line, and the star marks the center point of the explosion.) Sharply crease the valley folds and peak folds as follows:
    a) Fold paper in half, top to bottom, so design side shows, creating a sharp peak crease (line E-F). Reopen paper.
    b) Meet corners A and D, so blank side shows, creating a sharp valley crease (line B-C). Reopen paper.
    c) Repeat Step b for corners B and C.
    d) With explosion laying flat on table, design side up, bring left edge to exact vertical center of paper. Hold in place, and create a sharp crease from the top left down to the diagonal A-D crease. Next create a sharp crease from the bottom left up to the diagonal B-C crease. Reopen paper. Explosion folding diagram
    e) Repeat Step d, this time bringing the right edge to the exact center and creating a sharp crease from the top right down to the diagonal B-C crease. Next create a sharp crease from the bottom right up to the diagonal A-D crease. Reopen paper.
    f) As above, bring top edge to exact horizontal center of paper (line E-F). Hold in place, and create a sharp horizontal crease from the top left across to the diagonal AD crease. Next create a sharp horizontal crease from the top right across to the diagonal B-C crease. Reopen paper.
    g) Again as above, bring bottom edge to exact horizontal center of paper (line E-F). Hold in place, and create a sharp horizontal crease from the bottom left across to the diagonal BC crease. Next create a sharp horizontal crease from the bottom right across to the diagonal AD crease. Reopen paper.
    h) The final four folds re-crease the valley folds in the four light gray corners (see Ill. 4) to peak folds.
  • When all folds have been made and sharply creased, the folded explosion, when closed, will look like the top center dark shaded area in Illustration 4.
  • Lay folded explosion on table and sharpen all creases so the folded explosion lays flat.
  • Cut a sheet of 81/2"x11" colored card stock in half horizontally, creating two 51/2"x 81/2" sheets.
  • Fold one in half to create a quarter-fold card.
  • Apply glue to back of lower half of folded explosion (the center dark gray area below the E-F line in Ill. 4).
  • Align folded explosion on center of lower half of folded card stock, placing the center point of explosion flush with center crease of card stock. Press firmly.
  • Apply glue to back of upper half of folded explosion. Close card stock and press firmly. Allow to dry.
  • Create design for front of card following the general directions given for the birthday pop-up card. Embellish as desired, and your card is complete!


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