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How to Make a Pop Up Card

Pop-up cards are a great twist on the ordinary greeting card. Make a few simple cuts into a piece of decorative paper to create a tab. Push the tab forward and apply your pop-up image. If you want to work with a card you've purchased, just add tabs to the pop-up image and place it in the center of the card. The recipient of your pop-up card will love your creation!

Method One of Two:
Making a Pop-Up Card with Tabs

  1. 1
    Choose the paper for your card. Take 2 pieces of card stock or colorful paper that are the same size. Try using 8 x 11 in (20 x 28 cm) pieces of paper to make a standard sized card. You can use any heavy type of decorative or scrapbooking paper. If it's heavy enough, you could even use brightly colored construction.[1]
  2. 2
    Fold 2 pieces of card stock or colorful paper in half. Fold both of the pieces in half widthwise for a standard-sized card. One piece will end up being the one with tabs and the pop-up image. This will fit inside the other piece which will be the front and back of the card.[2]
    • You can use your fingers or a bone folder to completely smooth the fold.
  3. 3
    Make 2 cuts in the center of the card that are 1-inch long. Take one of the folded pieces of paper and keep it folded in half. Make 2 parallel cuts that are 1-inch (2.5 cm) long through the folded side of the paper. The cuts should be in the center of the card so the pop-up image is centered. These tabs should work for images that are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in size.[3]
    • Take the size of your pop-up image into account. For example, if your pop up is large, you'll probably need a bigger tab.
  4. 4
    Open the card and push the tab out. Open the card that you just cut, so you can see the slits. Use your fingers to gently push the tab section up towards you. Run your fingers along the fold of the card so that it's firmly creased. Crease the tab section in the opposite direction so it pops out and away from the card.[4]
  5. 5
    Cut out your pop-up image. Draw or cut out a pop-up image into any shape you like. You could even use small photographs. For example, use a gift shape, a cut-out of a person's name, a heart, or a small school photo. Cut out your pop-up shape and ensure that it will fit in your card.[5]
  6. 6
    Attach the pop-up image to the tab. Open the card with the tab and apply a little glue to the bottom of the tab. Push the pop-up image to the tab and press it firmly so it sticks.[6]
    • Avoid gluing the top of the tab or the image won't pop out properly.
  7. 7
    Secure the second piece of paper to the card with the pop up. Get out the second piece of paper that you folded earlier. Rub a glue stick or lay double-sided tape across both sides of the paper when it's unfolded. Open the card with the pop-up image and set it into the adhesive. Press down firmly and let it dry completely.[7]
    • The second piece of paper will hide the tab so you can't see that the card is a pop-up until you open it.
  8. 8
    Decorate and sign the pop-up card. Write your message and use whatever craft supplies you'd like to embellish the card. If you have ribbon, glitter, stickers, stamps, or any scrapbooking materials around the house, use them! Place the card in the envelope and give it to the recipient.
    • Consider using specialty trimming scissors to cut decorative borders along the sides of the card.

Method Two of Two:
Adding a Pop-Up Image to a Card without Tabs

  1. 1
    Get out a card or fold your decorative paper in half. If you'd like to add a pop-up image to a card that you've already made or purchased, set it on your work surface. If you want to make a simple card, take a piece of heavy, decorative paper and fold it in half.
    • Most cards are folded widthwise, although you can fold it lengthwise to make a tall card.
    • The card should be heavy enough to support the pop-up image.
  2. 2
    Draw the pop-up image on a separate piece of decorative paper. Get out a piece of decorative paper or use a scrap of decorative paper large enough for your image. Use a pen or pencil to draw the image you'd like to pop up on the paper. You could also use printed images or photographs as long as you cut them to fit in the card.
    • For example, take a photograph and cut the part of the picture you want into a decorative shape.
    • Cut out shapes that match the theme of the card. For example, cut out or print flowers for a graduation card, use a cake image for a wedding, or use a picture of balloons for a birthday.
  3. 3
    Draw small tabs on the sides of your pop-up image. Depending on the size and shape of your image, draw a long thin rectangle on each of its sides. You'll fold back this rectangle to make a tab that attaches to the card. Each rectangle tab should be at least 1 to 2 centimeters wide, so you can fold them. If you prefer, you could fold the image itself instead of adding tabs.[8]
  4. 4
    Cut out the image with the tabs and fold it in half. Use a pair of scissors to cut out the pop-up image and the folding tabs on their sides. Ensure that you keep them in a single piece.[9]
    • If you accidentally cut the tabs out, you can still use them. You'll just need to glue the tabs the back of the image and glue them into the card.
    • If you're making a detailed image, you can set it down on a cutting mat. Then use a utility knife to cut around the image.
  5. 5
    Draw a line halfway through the image and fold it in half. Set a ruler down in the center of the image. Draw a line down the center to create 2 equal sides. Use your fingers or a bone folder to fold and smooth the image in half along the line.[10]
  6. 6
    Fold the tabs back to make a V-fold. Locate the tabs that you left on the sides of your image. Fold them back behind the image, so you can't see them anymore. If you accidentally cut them earlier, use glue or a glue stick to apply them to the back and sides of the image.[11]
    • If you prefer, you can even fold back the sides of the image itself. For example, if you're making a heart, folding back the sides will just make the heart appear longer.
  7. 7
    Attach the tabs or V-folded image to the center of your card. Lay a strip of double-sided tape on the sides of the tabs that will touch the center of the card. Open your card and lay it flat. Place your pop-up image in the center and push down firmly on the tabs so the double-sided tape sticks in place. Close the card and open it to check that the image pops out.[12]
    • While you can use glue, it may leak out the sides. Tape is easier to handle and won't be visible.
  8. 8
    Sign and decorate the card. If you're using a purchased card, just write your message and sign it. If you used your own decorative paper to make the card, you can also add embellishments and decorations. For example, brush adhesive over the card and sprinkle glitter or attach a ribbon. Place the card in an envelope and it's ready to send.
    • Consider using specialty trimming scissors to cut decorative borders along the sides of the card.
    • You can also use punches, stickers, beads, stamps, or colored markers to decorate the card.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • How can I make a smiley face pop up?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Follow these same instructions but replace the heart with a smiley face. It with have a crease down the middle, though.
    Thanks! 4 0
  • Can I make multiple pop-ups on the same paper?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, you may make more than one pop-up.
    Thanks! 99 61
  • I want to cut out the paper so that when I open it, a card shows. How could I do this?
    Answered by Talbot Thompson
    • Use it like a normal pop up. Just write in it before you start to glue. Then it will be a lot easier.
    Thanks! 6 1
  • Can I use rice instead of glue?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No. Rice alone won't work, but you can mix it with water to make a gluey substance.
    Thanks! 6 1
  • How can I make a beautiful pop up card?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Decorate your card with glitter pens, stamps, stickers, beads or other craft items. Use special trimming scissors to add interesting borders and designs around your card.
    Thanks! 107 75
  • How can I make a cake inside the card with a 3D effect?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Make a square shape. Then, put another one above it until your cake is as tall as you need it.
    Thanks! 80 56
  • Can I use colorful paper for this?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Of course. Be as creative as you want. Just make sure the paper is the right thickness, depending upon the style of your card.
    Thanks! 116 86
  • How can I make a good anniversary card?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Make the pop up a heart and around it, write how much you love your significant other or whatever you want the person to know.
    Thanks! 92 67
  • How can I make a piece pop up if it is not in the crease of the card itself, but an accent piece?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Make a small accordion fold to attach the object to the card. You can stick it on with glue dots.
    Thanks! 26 15
  • How can I do more interesting designs?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Go crazy with it and do whatever you want! Try tracing, glitter glue and sparkles. Also you can try one of those weird rulers with the cool shapes inside.
    Thanks! 55 41
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Quick Summary

If you want to make a pop up card, choose 2 pieces of card stock or colorful paper that are the same size. Fold both of the pieces in half widthwise and set one of the pieces aside. In the other piece, make 2 parallel, 1 in (2.5 cm) cuts in the center of the folded side of the paper. Open the card and gently push the tab section upwards towards you. Draw or cut out your pop-up image from a third sheet of paper and glue it to the bottom of the tab. Glue the second piece of paper to the outside of the first to create the outside of the card, then decorate your card!


  • If a child is making the pop up card, supervise them when handling scissors.
    1 Helpful?  0

Things You'll NeedEdit

For Both MethodsEdit

  • 8 x 11 in (20 x 28 cm) pieces of paper (construction paper, cardstock, or scrapbook paper)
  • Scissors
  • Glue/double-sided tape
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils, writing utensils
  • Envelope
  • Card
  • Decorations (optional)
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Bone folder (optional)

About This Article

Tested By:
wikiHow Video Team

The wikiHow Video Team tested these instructions during filming, and everything worked perfectly.

12 votes - 83%
Co-authors: 112
Views: 1,597,466
Categories: Pop Up Cards

Reader Success Stories

  • JS

    John Smith

    Mar 13

    "Sister's b-day, needed an idea."
  • KO

    Kyra Oshier

    Jan 29

    "This helped me because every card I gave to someone that I made, they did not care. Now I made one that they really like, and they said that this time they are going to keep it. Thanks for the help!"..." more
  • A


    Jan 10

    "My parents have been working very hard lately, and I wanted to give them something to light up their day. I just figured that this would be the perfect card to give them!"..." more
  • A


    Feb 4, 2017

    "Mostly I was confused on the folding part when I watched other videos. This helped me a lot on how to fold it without a cut out! Thanks!"..." more
  • A


    Oct 7, 2016

    "Knowing where to cut helped. I tried cutting so many different places, and ended up wasting a lot of paper. Your article really helped."..." more
  • IC

    Ian Chong

    May 17, 2016

    "The instructions were easy to follow and easy to do. It took me a short time to complete the card. It was a great experience."..." more
  • A


    Jul 24, 2016

    "A great method, really good for beginners and students getting to know the basics. Even the pros will find this helpful!"..." more
  • A


    Feb 6, 2017

    "Very good directions and step-by-step video. Best tutorial I've seen without a purchase attached."
  • DD

    Dessarie Davis

    Feb 10, 2017

    "The tab was easy for my students to do and helped them to be more creative. Thank you."
  • A


    Dec 21, 2016

    "This helps me to make a pop up card very easily and quickly! Thanks for the help!"
  • A


    Jun 27, 2016

    "I have never done a pop up before and this taught me how. Thank you! :)"
  • A


    Dec 21, 2016

    "The first method was easy, but the second method was confusing to me."
  • A


    Oct 28, 2017

    "The steps were easy to understand and they worked really well."
  • JF

    Judy Fleck

    Nov 6, 2016

    "The pictures and the explanation together was very clear."
  • LC

    Leonel Castro

    May 5, 2016

    "All of it, enjoyed doing for Mothers day. Love wikiHow."
  • S


    Mar 5, 2017

    "Cool, awesome, and easy. Very creative, five stars!"
  • A


    Jun 21, 2016

    "Very good article. Clearly explained. Thank You."
  • A


    Dec 15, 2016

    "Without a cut out tab method was very useful."
  • SC

    Sophiaa Carvalho

    May 9, 2017

    "It helped me by making a goodbye card. "
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Jul 5, 2016

    "Everything helped, especially step 3."
  • PM

    Paris McGuigan

    Jan 24, 2017

    "This did help me, thank you."
  • A


    Jun 29, 2016

    "It was quick and easy."
  • A


    Dec 16, 2016

    "I liked the pictures."
  • A


    Nov 11, 2016

    "I love this."
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