Front of my Mickey Mouse Pop-up Birthday CardIn a previous post, I shared a pop-up design I created using a cylinder technique to create a patriotic hat.  I had a request to share my templates and instructions, and since I have wanted to post a pop-up card tutorial for some time, this seemed like a great opportunity to try my hand at one.  As this is my first attempt, you'll have to be patient with me as a lot of the steps are very difficult to photograph.  I'd love to hear any feedback about this tutorial!

Inside of my pop-up birthday Mickey cardAlthough the request was for instructions to construct Uncle Sam's Hat, I needed to make a birthday card  and decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I used the exact same template and technique to create my Birthday Candle, and I will include a few notes along the way of how you can modify it to make the patriotic hat.  

NOTE:  This is my own design and template and is for personal use only.  It may not be sold in any way.

What you will need: Supplies needed
  1. Templates  template.pdf
  2. Card stock for the base of the card and for the support stand
  3. Decorative paper for the front of the card and candle body.  In order to ensure that your candle pops up completely, the paper needs to be thinner than card stock - around the same thickness as regular printer paper but no thinner.
  4. Yellow or gold paper - the thickness does not matter.
  5. Scratch paper
  6. Glue/Tape - Most pop-up card designers prefer to use a wet craft glue because it gives a strong, long lasting hold.  I prefer to use a combination of glue sticks and tape because I like how fast the glue sticks dry and the fact that my paper does not have wrinkles after the glue has dried.
  7. Scissors - I use regular scissors to cut out the parts and decorative scissors to dress up the "decorations" I added to my card.
  8. Paper Clips
  9. Razor Blade/Craft Knife - I own and use both, however I really prefer using a craft knife because it gives me a better control of the blade and is a bit safer to use.  Mine came from Michael's.
  10. Cutting Board - to protect your table from your blade
  11. Pencils, pens, markers
  12. Ruler
  13. Dental pick - this is optional but is my favorite tool in making pop-up cards.  I use it to perforate the paper to make it easier to fold.  You can also unbend and use the end of a paper clip as a substitute.
  14. Any other supplies or stickers you would like to use to decorate your card.

Now you're ready to begin!

Step 1:  Decorate the outside of the card

Front of my Cinderella Birthday CardIt is important to decorate the outside of the card first as once the candle is constructed on the inside, the surface will be a little bumpy and thick and it will be difficult to line up paper, stickers, or any other item that will decorate the front of your card.

You can buy all sorts of decorative paper at any craft store.  I decided to create a Disney Cinderella themed birthday card from a packet I got from Michael's.  I cut my card stock in half then folded it in half again.  I then cut out a rectangle of decorative paper, glued it to the front, trimmed off the edges, and put a Cinderella sticker on the front to complete the effect.  I wish the lighting was better so that you could see it, but I really love how the front of this card turned out!

Step 2:  Make the support brace

The most important part of the cylinder technique is the support brace.  It is critical that the support brace be made out of a thicker paper than the body of the cylinder so that it has enough strength to fully expand the candle.  Building the support braceFor the best possible effect, the main beam of the support brace must be the same length as the body of the candle.  Cut out the template, trace it on card stock, and cut it out.  Then, using your dental pick (or paper clip), perforate the beam so that it folds in half, and the tabs so that they fold up.  Your brace should look something like this.  After you finish folding the beam, glue the two sides of the main beam together, leaving the tabs sticking out.

Step 3:  Prepare the body of the candle

Before we begin this step, I need to explain a few things about my template.  I created this template when I was first learning how to make pop-up cards.  At the time, I didn't realize that there was an easier way to create a pop-up cylinder, and instead I set out to create a template for myself using some of the principles I was learning in geometry as well as lots of trial and error.  I have since learned about an easier way to create a pop-up cylinder, however, I still use this template for the majority of my cards because I like how the entire body of the candle is just one piece of paper and I think it looks a little more realistic.  However, either method works equally well.  If you would like to learn about the other way, here is a great tutorial.

Moving on...

Cut out the template of the candle body, trace it onto the thin decorative paper that you have picked out, and cut it out.  

Note:  If you are making the patriotic hat, instead of cutting out the template on decorative paper, cut it out on either regular or heavyweight printing paper.  It is really important to draw and color your patriotic design first before proceeding on to the next step
Folding the Candle Body
Fold the top part (the circular part) of the candle in half.  Fold the circular part down into the body of the candle.  Fold the support tabs up so that they are facing into the body of the candle.  Your candle should look something like this.

Fold the side tabs inside the body of the candleNow, here is the really hard part for me to put into a tutorial.  You need to create little tabs of the sides on the body of the candle.  Unfortunately there is no exact measurement to this, I usually just eyeball this part, however, I tried to draw a line on my template that gives you an approximate measurement of how much I usually fold over.  When you're done, it should look like this.

Step 4:  Make the candle flame

Attaching the candle flameTake the yellow or gold paper that you selected and fold it in half.  Sketch a flame design onto the folded edge of the paper so that the edge of the flame overlaps the folded edge of the card.  Make sure that you add a little tab at the bottom of the flame that can be folded up inside the card.  
Using your craft knife, make a little slit in the candle top along the fold, a little larger than the tabs at the base of the flame.  Insert the flame into the slit and tape the tabs up onto the underside of the candle top.  Your candle should now look something like this:   (Please note that the side tabs should not yet be glued.  I had used a different order when I made my card before realizing that I could save a lot of hassle by reversing a few of my steps)

Step 5:  Attach the support brace to the candle body

Attaching the support braceAgain, please disregard the glued side tabs, I am reversing the steps to make it easier to attach.  After attaching the candle flame, glue and tape the support brace to the underside of the candle top.  Make sure that the seams align as in my picture.  It doesn't matter which end of the support beam is glued to the underside of the candle as thy both should be nearly identical.

Step 6:  Glue the tabs together.

Gluing the side tabs togetherGlue the tabs on one side of the candle together and to the body of the candle so that you create a seam that lies flat. Use paper clips to hold the card together while the glue dries.  Make sure that everything is folded inside of the candle and that it looks like this. Repeat the process on the other side.

Step 7:  Attach the candle to the card base

Note:  If you are making the patriotic hat, before you attach the cylinder to the card base, trace a circle onto a piece of paper and cut it out.  Draw a patriotic design on the paper and then fold it in half.  Match the seam of the circle with the seam of the card base and glue the paper down.  This will now become the base of Uncle Sam's hat.
Attaching the candle to the card base
Now that you have finished constructing your candle, there is only one step left!  Line the bottom of the support brace along the main crease in the card base.  Tape and glue it.  Then glue (and tape depending on the thickness of the paper you are using for the candle body) the bottom tabs of the candle body to the base of the card.  Fold the card shut and rub your hand hard over the back of the card to make sure that all of the tabs are pressed down perfectly flat.  Allow the glue to dry for several minutes before attempting to open the card.  (If you are using wet glue, allow the card to dry for one to two hours.)

The finished productVoila!  You have now completed making your very own pop-up birthday candle card.  The finished version will look something like this.  In hindsight, I think I could make the candle look a little rounder if I shortened the width of the bottom tabs of the candle body.  I was also thinking that this design could be a great Fourth of July Firecracker.  All you would have to do is replace the flame with a fuse.  Play around with it and tell me what you think!

Pop-up Wendy HouseIn creating this tutorial, I now have a growing respect for those who both write books about pop-up cards and maintain blog and website tutorials.  It takes a great deal of time and energy, not only to design the card but to discover a way to explain it clearly.  Because of this, it will be a while before I post another tutorial, however, I thought I would add a teaser about two tutorials I am considering posting next.  One is a cylinder and cone technique that Carol, a fellow pop-up card designer, helped me design, and the other is a pop-up "Wendy House" that I designed for my sister Amy's birthday.  Here is a preview picture of the house. I think that this would be a great Gingerbread house for a Christmas Card!

Discussion/Comments (2):

How to Make a Pop-up Candle for a Birthday Surprise!

Thank you for sharing your instructions & templates for the Uncle Sam pop~up hat. I am a novice at all this pop~up stuff; therefore, this looks too hard for me, but I will give it a shot some time within the next week or two. I bookmarked all the appropriate pages to review over & over again before attempting it. Thank you, again, for your help. I will keep you posted.

Posted at 3/1/2011 6:03:46 AM byLinda L. Stec



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