Splotch animal Pop-up Cards

Ella recently celebrated her birthday which means this week her thank you cards are on our family to-do list (don’t for a second think that I actually get around to mailing out thank yous a week after a gift is given, but the best of intentions is always there immediately!).

Nathan’s mom gave us a series of amazingly intricate pop up books when Atticus was just a baby. We love them and it’s always fun to try and deconstruct each detail when we read along about fairies, dinosaurs, etc. In an effort to keep the kids engaged in the idea of multiple cards (they haven’t quite reconciled the fact that more gifts = more cards to make), I studied up on easy pop-ups thinking it would be the key to this round of thank yous.

I ran them through two basics: the split mouth and the pleated fan and the two older kids were quick to get into it…


Like all good art however, this project evolved and ended up being totally unexpected(ly awesome). Ella asked if we could paint the cards and once I committed to a messier endeavor, we were all feeling inspired by the new materials. She reminded me of the symmetry monsters she had made a while back which led us to combine a few ideas. I must report that the results were SO FUN!! And totally fool proof gorgeous…


And so, I bring you splotch animal pop up cards!

Like most of my projects, we did these in stages to let the paint dry, change the laundry, cook dinner for a friend who just had her first baby, etc etc. It can be as involved as you want it to be (feel free to go with the first picture in the post as your one and only inspiration, and ditch the paint altogether).

If you do try it, don’t be surprised if you find yourself working solo on more and more of them after the kids are in bed!


-white card stock (we used card sized, but you could make big ones too)
-paint (tempra or acrylic)
-googly eyes (you could draw on eyes too)
-origami or thin paper (for details, it’s okay if you don’t have this)



1. Fold cards in half and squeeze a couple pea sized drops of paint inside, close to or on top of the fold of the card. You can experiment with different shapes – it’s fun to guess what it will look like after the squishing process…



2. Fold the card in half, carefully squishing the paint around. It’s best to do this on a mat or piece of paper in case it oozes out the sides!


3. Once you open the card up, you can add other colors or fill in the design with more paint until you get something cool. This part is completely addictive 🙂


4. Let the cards dry face open. Try not to let too much paint gather in the fold or it will crack later on (you can dab it away, or squeeze more out toward the outer parts of the card if you fold it again).


5. Once the card is dry, cut the pop up. I’ve shown it here on plain white paper so you can see what’s going on (not just because I wanted to show off my pretty hot pink manicure 🙂 ). First, cut a straight slit into the fold. Next, fold the corners of the fold up away from the cut. Flip the card over and fold them the opposite direction. Open the card and carefully push your finger through the opening, poking the folds into the center of the folded card.


6. We decided we’d use the pleat pop ups for decorations too. For those, just fold a pleat and fold it in half. You can cut it down to a smaller size and trim the ends for different effects. Then,  glue the center edges together. Attach the outside edges to the card, aligning the fold of the pleat with the fold of the card.


Next the googly eyes. What is it about googly eyes?! They pretty much make anything happier (they find their way onto any and all inanimate objects around the Pipsticks Studio, which helps to keep the mood light around the office).


7. Add the eyes and pleats to make the animals come alive. Again, this part is addictive.


You could really stop at this point and forget the whole card thing entirely. They could be puppets, or part of a book. Each one has so much personality.


If you do use them as cards, glue (or double stick tape) a contrasting color cardstock to the outside edges of the white card and ta-da! The cutest thank you cards this house ever did see. Now…bets on whether they’ll make it to their final destination?

Mo xoxo


Comments (12)

July 8, 2016

What a fun idea! They look gorgeous! I’m pretty sure in our house they’ll not make it to their final destination!

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

Haha, it’s nice to know I’m not alone, Sandra!

Esther in Amsterdam
July 8, 2016

I LOVE this idea! I think I’m going to make cards for the teachers this weekend! xxxx

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

Ooh, good idea, Esther 🙂

July 8, 2016

What a lovely idea! Thank you so much for sharing, I used to love making these pop up cards when I was little.

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

They are so simple, but so unexpected and fun. Glad to remind you of a simple, great think Hannah!

July 8, 2016

Such a sweet idea – I’m so slow on the uptake when it comes to instructions – it took me a little while to figure out the pop up but just made one and think my daughter will love making these after school! We’ve gone (fake) Popsicle crazy for our end of term cards (lolly stick with two pieces of card stuck together in shape of Popsicle, then decorated), lots of fun! X

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

What a great craft idea! My kids would love decorating popsicles – fun printable idea, too. Thanks for sharing, Phillipa!

July 8, 2016

How great! I used to make these when I was a kid! Love the symmetry painting addition!

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

Thanks so much, Marietje. It’s a really fun combination!

July 10, 2016

How fun! love this idea!!

Maureen in California
July 11, 2016

Thanks Lara, I hope you try it out!

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