This project goes into the category "kids can do" because it's so easy, quick, and the result is a very satisfying (and cheap) toy.
The models for these pictures are my boys, age 7 and 10, who are not famous for their patience. Despite the numerous steps, it took them about 5 minutes to complete the project; it takes me about 45 seconds.
Step 1: Materials
The only tools you need to complete this project are:
A ball point pen
A pin or sewing needle
You will also need to download the PDF template and print it with a color printer. The image is the size of a 4 by 6 postcard, but you can scale it to any size you would like.
The PDF file is here on instructables -- however non-pro members can go to my website, www.makepopupcards.com to download a (free) PDF. You should, of course, still support instructables by becoming a pro, but just in case you can't afford that right now, I wanted this project to be available to everyone....
Note: the photographs in this instructable show a pre-printed postcard I made, not the PDF file printed on a sheet of paper -- however the instructions are the same.
PSPrint postcard_4x6_front.pdf(450x306) 786 KB
Step 2: Scoring technique
The most important step in making a successful pop-up card is to score the fold line before you attempt to fold the paper. Scoring crushes the paper without cutting it, enabling you to control precisely the fold location and giving you a nice, crisp result.
A ball point pen is the perfect tool for this job -- when pressed down firmly it will dent the paper without damaging it -- but its drawback is that it will (usually) do what it's supposed to do. Draw a line. Since you don't want to mark your picture, you will need to score the card on the back side of your paper.
Always use a ruler when you score, so your line will be perfectly straight.
If you prefer to see the picture as you score, you can try using a knitting needle, a stylus pen, or even a bone scoring tool they sell in art supply stores. You want something sharp enough to draw a line, but not too sharp or it might damage the paper. I use a ball point pen which I spent hours emptying of its ink. I only recommend this option if you are planning to make many, many pop-ups. Washing the ink away was messy, long, and extremely tedious.
Step 3: First fold
After you have printed your template, mark the division between the wall and the floor by pricking your paper with the pin where I drew red dots on this picture. You can then flip your paper over and draw a line between the two pin holes using your ball point pen and ruler. Draw the line all the way to the edge of your sheet of paper.
Fold your sheet of paper along the score line with the image facing out.
Step 4: Cut the table and chair
Use your scissors to cut the sides of the chair seat (NOT the back) and the table top. A total of four quick snips.
Step 5: Score the table and chair
Unfold your sheet of paper and use your ball point pen and ruler to draw a total of four lines, parallel to the center fold, connecting the top and bottom of the cuts you just made.
Step 6: Push the table forward
Fold your card again, with the image facing out, but this time push the table forward so that it is tucked inside, invisible when the card is folded flat.
Step 7: Cut the pop-up doll house
Cut both sides of the doll house, being careful to cut through only the top two layers of paper.
Step 8: Score the doll house
Unfold the card and score the top and bottom of the dollhouse, by connecting the new cuts in parallel with the center fold.
Step 9: Make the chair pop out
With the image facing towards you, start folding the card shut while pushing the chair seat forward by poking it from behind with your finger. Fold the card shut all the way (with the image on the inside) and smooth the creases.
Step 10: Make the table pop out
Push the table forward the same way you just did with the chair.
Step 11: Make the doll house pop out
Be careful with this step -- since the doll house is close to the edge of the table, unless you are careful you might rip the paper if you fold this one too quickly.
Pinch the edge of the table as you slowly push the doll house forward. As you continue to fold, make sure the edge doesn't rip by pressing down with your fingers on both sides of the card.
Once the card is folded properly and the edges have been creased it is no longer at risk of ripping (under normal, fairly gentle play conditions).
Step 12: Congratulations, you're done!
Hope you enjoyed this instructable...