Stick Your Neck Out with a Popup Card

I recently participated in a card swap in which the theme for the card was animals.  At the time I signed up, Popup Card Studio had not been released but I had already decided that the card I would make was going to be a popup card.  A dear friend had given me a gift of a wonderful book on creating popups and I was determined to learn to use some of the knowledge in the book.  When PCS was released, I revised my plan for the card to include my original popup idea plus a second popup element created in PCS.

This was the finished card incorporating both types of popup.  When the card is closed the giraffe’s head and neck are hidden inside.



Materials Used:

Photo paper – glossy and matte finish

Giraffe print scrapbook paper


1/4″ double sided adhesive tape


15″ KNK Maxx Air

Various cardstocks:  Blades – KNK Standard Blade (red cap) or Thick Material Blade (blue cap) depending on thickness and density of cardstock.  Force:  60 – 80, Speed:  70 – 100, One or two passes depending on cardstock, Offset – as appropriate for blade (red cap – 0.35, blue cap – 0.75), Blade holder height – 25 PIN

Glossy photo paper – (Heavy):  Blade – Thick Material Blade (blue cap), Force – 80, Speed –  70, 2 passes, Offset – 0.75, Blade holder height – 25 PIN

Matte photo paper – (Thin):  Blade – KNK Standard Blade (red cap), Force – 50, Speed – 100, Single pass, Offset – 0.35, Blade holder height – 25 PIN


After spending quite a bit of time searching the Internet for pictures of giraffes, I finally settled on the two shown in the photos of the card above.  I opened the pictures in the Adobe Photoshop Elements software and removed the background except for the area of grass under the standing giraffe.  Since I wasn’t going to cut the picture of the giraffe head, I was able to print the photo for the card front directly from the Adobe Photoshop Elements software onto the glossy photo paper.  The photo was then trimmed, matted with giraffe print scrapbook paper and adhered to the front of the dark blue cardstock card.

The cleaned-up standing giraffe image was saved as a PNG format file to maintain the transparent background.  The PNG image was Pixel Traced in Make the Cut as an object with Texture to keep the graphic.  I decided where I would separate the giraffe and used the Eraser Tool in the Node Editing Toolbar to separate the image into two parts.  Because I wanted the two pieces of the giraffe to overlap when his head was popped up, I duplicated the whole image and made differently placed eraser lines in each image.  I discarded one portion of each image keeping the longer head piece and the taller body piece.

A graphic file was created using the body portion of the standing giraffe and a pale blue background so I could use the MTC software’s Print and Cut feature for the inside of the card.  The whole inside of the card is a PNC image.

The body portion of the giraffe was copied in MTC and pasted into PCS.  To create the flat edges needed for a successful attachment to the card sides, the image was rotated and cropped.  The height measurement of the cropped image was noted and the image was cut from the screen.  The plane was then relocated to a measurement that was one half of the height of the giraffe body image and the previously cut image pasted onto that plane making sure it was even with the left side of the card and the bottom of the plane.  The Fold feature of PCS was used to fold the giraffe body in half and attach it to the card.  The Print Preview feature was used to check that the body would be centered on the card and that the fold lines were in place.  The file was then Exported as an SVG format file.

The exported SVG file from PCS was imported into MTC, the graphic of the giraffe body and blue background was added as a Texture to the imported file and saved as an MTC file.  Options were set in MTC to be able to use the file in a Print and Cut operation.  The inside of the card was printed on the matte photo paper and then cut using MTC.  Score lines were added by hand.

The giraffe head image was duplicated and printed and cut using MTC in a second PNC operation.  Since the matte photo paper is thin, a shaped piece of cardstock was cut to be glued to the back of the giraffe’s neck to provide extra support for that piece.

The popup mechanism for the neck and head was designed in the KNK Studio software and several prototypes cut and tested before the design was finalized.  During that process, I decided that using cardstock for that mechanism was not what I wanted because the test ones did not hold up to the repeated folding and unfolding.  I determined that the glossy photo paper was more durable and used it to cut that element of the card.  I also modified the edges of that popup mechanism to fit the contours of the pieces attached to it and it’s placement on the card.

The heart sign around the giraffe’s neck is three layered cardstock hearts that were created in the KNK Studio software.  The heart shape began as a square turned 45 degrees so it sat on a point.  Two of the sides were pulled into outward curves to create the top of the heart.  The shape was resized to provide three different sizes.  The middle size heart was modified using a small circle and the Transform/Fit Object to Path and Weld functions to create a scalloped edge.  The smallest heart was copied into MTC and a graphic file with text added as Texture.  It was then duplicated, printed, and cut as a third PNC operation for the card.  The ends of a length of heavy thread were glued to the back of the layered hearts to create a sign that would hang from the giraffe’s neck.

The little sign hanging form the giraffe’s neck makes it a Valentine card.  However, with some minor modifications, the card could be used for many different occasions.  A note included with the cards for the swap suggested replacing the heart sign with one reading “Happy Birthday!” and adding wording inside the card such as “Seriously???  39 Again this year???”.  I’m sure you can imagine other wording for other occasions that would follow the lead-in on the front of the card.

A custom envelope was created for the card and lined with the border portion of the giraffe print scrapbook paper used on the card front.


If you want to create a similar card and cannot find, or would prefer not to use photographic images, cartoon or coloring book or line art giraffe images would work as well.  Each different image would need to have custom PCS files, MTC files, and popup mechanisms created for it.

The heart sign around the giraffe’s neck could be used and resized, if desired, to create simple Valentine cards or signs to hang around in unexpected places for your loved ones to find on Valentine’s Day or with loving messages for any time of the year.  The sayings found on the Valentine candy hearts would be fun to use on the signs.

Files for the heart signs and the envelope with the liner are available for download in KNK, MTC, & SVG formats in the following links.

Layered Heart Cut Files_JudyKay

Envelope 5×7 wLiner Cut Files_JudyKay

14 thoughts on “Stick Your Neck Out with a Popup Card

  1. What a special card! I appreciate your detailed directions for creating a similar card of my own…and the files for recreating this one. I think you did a superb job of ‘thinking-ouside-the-card’ again.

  2. wow you are incredible! and such great detailed instructions and so kind to share! Have a blessed day!

  3. Judy…what an awesome card!! Thanks for the details on how you did it, I can tell you are an attention to the details kind of gal!!! It shows in the quality of your work!!! Nice, thanks!!!

  4. Judy you are very talented! I for the first time tried using one of your files, the seashell cupcake wrappers from awhile back and I can not get it to open 🙁 My computer is telling me its a corrupt file?? Any advice or is there another place to receive the file? Thank you!!!

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