Moving Arm Pop-up Tutorial

Time for another tutorial!
This great mechanism is super-easy and actually really basic, but it can be the base for many beautiful 3D cards! I chose butterflies as an example to demonstrate the mechanism, but it could have been anything else: balloons, flowers, little signs with words on them… Be bold and creative, and share your results with me! 🙂

1. Start by choosing the paper you’re going to use. I went for green dotted cardstock for the base of the card. Make sure the base of the card is made out of sturdy, heavy-weight cardstock (and not thin paper).

2. Cut the paper for the card’s base measuring 20×15 cm, score in the middle and fold (you’ll obtain a 10×15 cm closed card).

3. Now would be a good time to make all the bits and pieces that will decorate your card. As the main moving elements I stamped butterflies on an off-white card stock, and cut them out carefully. I also cut some leaves in different shades of green for the background.

4. Next step – the mechanism itself. First download the template:

Moving arm mechanism PDF template

Print it out on a A4 sheet of paper and cut the template out, leaving margins around it as shown on the sketch and picture.
Use some masking-tape to attach the template to a piece of patterned paper (I recommend using the same paper as the card’s base. That way the mechanism will blend better and be less visible). Using a stylus or bone-folder, score all the dashed lines of the template. That will allow all the folds to be sharp and accurate. Cut along the continuous lines and remove the template.

5. Fold and unfold all the scored lines to ensure flexible axes. Fold the mechanism in two. Add glue to one of the glue tabs and place the mechanism somewhere along the central fold of the card’s base. Make sure the mechanism’s crease is facing you and is perpendicular to the card base’s crease.

6. Add glue to the other glue tab and shut the card close. Wait for the glue to dry, do not be tempted to open it right away! This is how it’ll look once you open the card.

7. The base of the mechanism is done! To create the arms that carry your main decorative element I suggest using double-thickness paper. Simply glue two pieces of card stock (again, I used the same paper as the card’s base) back to back.

8. Once the glue of your double-sided paper dries, you can cut the arms out of it. You can make them straight or curved – as you wish!

9. Glue an arm to the back of a decorative element (for me, it was a butterfly). Glue the other side of the arm to the mechanism, open and close your card just to make sure nothing peeks out when the card is closed. You can finish the card here, or add more mechanisms and more elements. Notice how attaching the arms to the mechanism’s base in different angles creates a more interesting result.

10. Time to decorate the outside of your card. You’re all done!

Have fun 😉


12 Responses to “Moving Arm Pop-up Tutorial”

  1. 1 ayelet July 7, 2012 at 20:53

    איזה יופי! הדרכה יפה וברורה, והכרטיס מקסים 🙂

  2. 2 carmoosh July 7, 2012 at 21:55

    יפיפה! עושה חשק לנסות 🙂

  3. 3 Di. July 8, 2012 at 19:50

    תודה (-:

  4. 4 חתולי8 July 8, 2012 at 20:19

    שירונת, זה מקסים!!

  5. 5 Lilach Mishan July 8, 2012 at 22:48


  6. 6 מקופלת July 10, 2012 at 05:55

    מקסים בטירוף, תודה על ההדרכה המפורטת

  7. 7 Carol July 21, 2012 at 23:44

    A great use of V folds!

    • 8 ShirA July 22, 2012 at 07:00

      Thank you Carol!
      I’m a huge fan of your work! 🙂

      • 9 Carol July 22, 2012 at 15:23

        Aw, thanks! I finally had a chance to scroll through most of your site. You have a very clean and simple style that I like. I see we have explored some similar techniques and I enjoyed seeing your take on them.

  8. 10 arapax July 31, 2012 at 06:14

    מגניב! עכשיו לא תהיה לי ברירה אלא לנסות אחד כזה בקרוב… 😉

  9. 11 raku April 13, 2014 at 20:22

    Thank you for your great and easy to follow tutorials, I’m going to try out pop up cards myself 🙂

  10. 12 chris October 29, 2015 at 16:37

    you must be a very happy person. God bless you.

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My Name is ShirA. This is my personal blog, where I share my love for paper craft, hand made creations and all things beautiful.

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PLEASE do not publish photos, tutorials and text from this blog without my permission.


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