How To Make A 3D Card

If you’ve ever found yourself admiring a pop up card before, you might be wondering how easy 3D cardmaking is. We have some good news! Making a 3D card is easy, simple, and a lot of fun. From elegant 3D cards to fun pop up 3D cards perfect for kids’ birthdays, once you’ve mastered the art of how to make a 3D card, you can create endless designs for all sorts of occasions. 

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of 3D cardmaking, from the materials you’ll need to fun 3D project ideas you can try yourself. Are you ready to discover how easy it is to make those amazing, gravity-defying 3D cards you’ve seen online? Let’s get started!

What you’ll need to make a 3D card

The best part about attempting a 3D card project is that you don’t need much more than the cardmaking basics — and a little imagination to start. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy cardstock in your favorite color
  • Paper or card in contrasting colors or patterns
  • A bone folder
  • A paper trimmer or precision knife 
  • A sturdy working board
  • Sharp scissors 
  • High-quality, fast-drying craft glue 
  • Pens, pencils, inks, and stamps for decoration
  • And lots of imagination!

3D cards can range from simple to elaborate designs, but starting with the right tools will always make your final product more professional and the 3D effect more successful.

You’ll notice I’ve included both scissors and a paper trimmer in this list. That might sound like overkill, but while scissors are great for getting around curved or irregular shapes, paper trimmers will give you beautiful straight lines every time. Wobbly lines on your card can quickly make things look less precise and distract from the cool visual effects 3D card making can create, so I highly recommend using both to keep things looking crisp and clean. 

Mastering the basics of 3D card making

Probably the hardest element of 3D card making is getting your head about the extra dimension you’re working with. If you’ve only made simpler card designs before, you might have thought about the design of your card, but not how it will move and pop out from the surface of the page. 

The main ‘trick’ with 3D cards is creating a supportive foundation that will allow part of your design to be raised up or pop out but can fold down flat when the card is closed. There are several ways you can achieve this effect, so let’s get started. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to create something truly special. 

How to make a 3D card yourself

There are two basic types of 3D cards, which, once you’ve gotten the hang of them, are a great starting point for a ton of fun designs. The first is a 3D illusion card, and the second is a basic pop up card. Here’s how to nail both of them. 

How to make a 3D card illusion

1. Choose your design

Firstly, you’ll need to decide what design you want to go with. The trick to this illusion is creating pairs of shapes that can be layered on top of each other and give your design an extra dimension. When choosing what you’d like in your card, think about the shapes that make up the design and how they would work in this style — balloons, leaves, flowers, and shapes like cupcakes all make a great option.

2. Measure your card

Once you’ve decided on a design, measure your card stock, so you know the dimensions of your canvas. With these measurements, you can sketch out the shapes you’ll need and play around with composition.

3. Cut out your designs

Once you’ve drawn, stamped, or traced your design onto colorful paper, cut out the 3D elements in pairs from the same material.

4. Affix to your card

Take the first shape of each pair, and glue it to your card in place. Wait for this to dry, and then take your second of each pair. Fold the Shape in half, then run a thin seam of glue or a line of double-sided tape down the center back, along the fold line. Carefully affix on top of its twin, and voila! You have a subtle 3D illusion that will spring up when the card is removed from the envelope. 

How to make a 3D card with an internal pop up

1. Create your pop up mechanism

There are plenty of ways to create a pop up 3D card, but one of the simplest is to create a simple ‘bridge’ for your design to sit on and pop up when the card is opened. To do this, all you need to do is take your cardstock and fold both pieces in half to create a card. Reinforce this with a bone folder, so you have a crisp fold. Taking one of the pieces of card, make two cuts from the fold, about an inch down, perpendicular to the fold line. Now, when you open the card, fold the snipped portion inwards to create a bridge that stands up. 

2. Choose your pop up design and measure it

The sky really is the limit when it comes to creating your pop up section. A bold blooming flower, a glass of beer, a ball, or a slithering serpent could all spring forth! Remember that your folded design will need to fit inside the folded-up card neatly, so make sure it won’t be larger than the bounds of the card itself.

3. Cut out your elements

Time to get cutting! Whether you color, stamp, draw or use a die-cut design, this is when you can really have some fun! If you’re using a very big pop up shape, be sure you complete the message and the rest of the design on the inside of your card now as well.

4. Affix to the inside of the card

A little bit of glue, and your 3D cardmaking is just about complete. Carefully glue your design to the inside bridge, and wait for it to dry before closing. Then, you can glue your second cardstock to the outside of the card, disguising the bridge and leaving your little secret waiting to be discovered. 

Fun 3D project ideas

If you’ve caught the 3D cardmaking bug, there are so many more 3D project ideas you can try:

  • Surprise pop up jack in the box card
  • 3D effect happy birthday card
  • Blooming garden card 
  • Tri-fold 3D card
  • Floating fold 3D pop up card

At Luvin Stampin, we’re always thinking of fun new 3D project ideas we can make come to life. Join us for one of our online cardmaking classes and learn how to make 3D cards in real-time! While you’re here, why not check out all of our crafting tutorials? You’re sure to find creative inspiration in our catalog of fun cardmaking ideas.

This blog post includes affiliate links. This means I might earn a commission when you click on the links, but there is no additional cost to you. No one has paid me to use specific products, I share what I love and hope you enjoy.


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