Craft tutorials and free templates

{Valentines day} pixelated popup card

I‘ve been scratching my head trying to come up with a card for my hubby {AKA the non-romantic type}. I finally decided to make this pixely popup heart card!


Pixely popup card

They are really minimal (which I love) and take about 20 minutes to make (that includes the card, insert and envelope).

Pixely popup card

You can even make some pixely confetti to put inside the card (if you are a big kid like me!).

Pixely popup card

Full instructions and printable templates below!

Pixely popup card

(BTW I remember seeing something similar in a popup book years ago. If anyone knows of the book then do let me know!).

Pixely popup card

Pixely popup card

How to

1. Download the popup insert template and print out. I used paper but a thin card would probably be OK too. Using some scissors trim around the edge of the template.
2. Using a craft knife and ruler cut and score your card. See diagram below for more detail.

(If you have a cutting machine then see note at end of post!)

Pixely popup card

Cut along the black lines and score the grey lines.

Pixely popup card

3. Make the four valley folds as show below (thin yellow lines shown in fig. 3).
4. Slowly fold the top of the card inwards and the bottom half of the heart should begin to push out. (You don’t need to tape it to the table…I did because I was taking pictures at the same time!)

Pixely popup card

5. Fold card completely in half and smooth down
6. Make outer card and glue/tape popup insert inside. I just used a plain piece of paper which measured 9.5cm x 19cm and then folded it in half.

Pixely popup card

7. Print out the envelope template. Cut, score and fold.
8. Pop card inside and tape envelope shut (I added some pixely confetti too)!

Pixely popup card

Edited to add: The lovely Kayla from saynotsweetanne has send me a .dfx file of the card which you can use if you have a cutting machine. I have never even heard of a cutting machine…let alone used one so this is all a bit of a revelation (for me, anyway)!! You can download the file here. Thanks Kayla! You’re a star! (Please leave a comment to let me know if you find this file useful…if you do then I’ll try to find out how to generate them for all my print/cut posts).

248 thoughts on “{Valentines day} pixelated popup card

  1. What a lovely comment Katja. Thank you. I agree…it’s been a bit of a heart overload lately. My husband is not at all interested in the gooey/romantic stuff so nice to make something that I *hope* he likes (good job he never reads this!)

  2. I love these. What a great Valentine to hand out at school. It is hard to find cute Valentines for the boys. Thank You!

  3. Thanks a lot – this is totally awesome and saves valentines day for me 😀
    I seriously had no idea what to get this year – and this one is so simple and yet perfect.
    Now – i need to buy pink paper 🙂

  4. Oh My! That is just about the cutest and funnest valentine I’ve come across!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow, this is the best! Especially for boyfriends who aren’t into the sappy stuff (like mine). Thanks for the template/instructions!

  6. The instructions reference gray and black lines, but when I look at (and print) the pdf template, all the lines are the same color. I see from the photo the score lines you highlighted in yellow, but on the lower sides of the heart, am I correct that you score all horizontal lines and cut all vertical lines? Thanks!

    It’s a beaut and I hope to make a few of them – like the rest of your posters here, I appreciate your sharing with us!

  7. Thank you very much for this. Absolutely fabulous. Will let you know what my husband says. I’ll pop it in his lunchbox in the morning! Is there any way of making this more child-friendly so that I can get my 4-yr-old to help make one for his teacher?

  8. Hi Diana B,

    The diagram above is correct so just score according to that. I highlighted the black lines (with yellow) to make it easier to see.

    Let me know how you get on!

  9. This is so cute! I was thinking of making a pop-up, but had not come to this idea, just beautiful! Thanks for sharing

  10. Hi Vanessa, it’s too hard for little kids to make (you absolutely need to use a craft knife). I’ll try and have a think about the kids version. You could always let him decorate the outside???

  11. My boyfriend and I are both pixel artists and actually met via pixel art. This is so perfect its killin me. Definitely whipping one up tonight!

  12. This. Is. Awesome. My husband works in IT and I’m going to turn this into a Zelda Heart Container. Also- I made a DXF and a .Studio cutting file for this card (for those with cutting machines)- would you like to post it for download? It makes the cutting a lot easier. =D Let me know!

  13. I love your tutorial (I even have a book of popup cards so I really appreciate this!). But someone has copied your tutorial – I mean totally copied it and then linked back to you in general but not to the tutorial (but who cares because they already copied it all). Your tutorial can be found at: This blog copies tons of US tutorials in full, then all of her readers in their comments seem to think they originated from her.

  14. Hey Virginie…it looks really cool. Very clever of you to turn it into a box. I hadn’t thought of that at all.

    Nice cuff-links too! Hope you and your fella have an ace v-day!

  15. Hi Truebluemeandyou,

    Many thanks for taking the time out to let me know. This has happened to me quite a lot over the last few years….. The blogger in question did add my link at the end of the post (other sites don’t even do that!). To be honest I try and take the chilled out approach…”Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”…and all that.

    Cheerio for now 🙂

  16. Is it possible to score with just scissors? I’m not sure I understand what it means – I’d like to have my class make these for a boy who just recently moved & didn’t get a chance to say goodbye… can we use simple tools?

  17. Hi Teach, you can score with scissors…if they are small scissors it’s easier. Compass points work really well…as do pins(!). You can also use your craft knife but just apply light pressure so it doesn’t go through the paper. Try and always use a ruler! Hope that helps!

  18. Hey there! Love this!! but I want wondering… what kind of paper did you use? Is it card stock or just regular paper? Thanks!

  19. This is sooooo cool. There have been SO MANY valentine heart things lately and i’m so sick of the hearts everywhere, but this immediately caught my eye and made me smile! I will def be using this for my love this year! Thanks!

  20. It’s all cool so no worries. I had an email chat with the blog owner (who has been really nice) and it’s all sorted 🙂

  21. I am so excited to try to make this for my boyfriend. I am severely artistically challenged but think even I might be able to pull this off. A couple of questions for those who have succeeded in the pixelated valentine endeavor already–do the black lines show up on your completed card, or does the cutting/scoring make them pretty invisible? Any tips on how to score? (haha, that sounds like a question for Valentine’s night, not card-making.) Do you just lightly cut with a regular xacto knife, and not go too deep/all the way? Yikes this post has way too much innuendo! I better stop before this gets worse.

  22. Hi Jeanne…

    First, make sure you just do a practice card on a plain piece of paper…then if you get it wrong it’s not a problem.

    Check you have done your cutting and scoring correctly and precisely. Cut along the black lines (highlighted yellow) and score along the grey. It’s essential you get this right 🙂

    Look at step 3. Locate the yellow lines. Make sure you make some nice sharp folds along these lines.

    Step 4: Place your card flat on a table and fold the card in half very slowly smoothing down as you go (if you have cut and scored the lines correctly the bottom half of the heart will naturally pop out).

    Let me know how you get on. If you are still having problems then let me know specifically where it’s going wrong.

    Good luck Jeanne, you can do it!!

  23. Hey Tracey,

    The innuendos made me laugh!!!

    The lines on the template are in a light grey so shouldn’t show up too much. You can always turn the piece of paper over after steps 1&2 so that the lines are on the back…and therefore won’t be visible at all.

    You can score lightly with a knife. I never trust myself to do this so tend to use a compass point. A pin works really well too…especially if you want to be super precise (just use it as if it were a miniature pencil!!!). Always always always use a ruler and take your time. The more precisely you cut and score the better the result.

    Let me know how you go!

  24. You’re so generous to answer everyone’s questions so far–thanks for another neato project and beautiful photos. I was wondering if you might be able to provide any more detail on how you attach the two piece of paper together? I’d think the pop-up later would have to be securely anchored to work, but you don’t have so much as a glue bubble showing. What’s your technique?

    Thanks! This is my new favorite place.

  25. Hi Lisa…thanks for the kind words

    I’m just glad lots of people are trying it out so it’s good to have the questions 🙂

    I would avoid glue and go for double sided tape instead. If you haven’t any tape then use a glue stick rather than liquid glue. If anyone else has any good ideas then do say.

  26. That was very creative. Thank you for the template and tutorial. I just made one and can’t wait to make another for my girls on Valentines.

  27. Hey, this is so sweet! I know the pop up book that you may meant. it’s The Pop-Up Book by Paul Jackson. the instructions and types of pop up are there 🙂

  28. I just made 3 of these. They are just so neat, thanks for the great template!
    Will you be my Valentine?

  29. Thanks very much, I’ve made this for my husband and can’t wait to give it to him. All the best!

  30. Thanks Laura….wish I could post more regularly! One day when life is a little less busy………….!

  31. Hi Adolfo…are you struggling with the process? If you are, let me know which bit you are finding hard and I will try to help 🙂

  32. Thanks for sharing! And especially thank you for the file! I have a Sizzix eclipse with the ecal software and just love it! No more cutting out by hand. ;D

    If you want a great example of what the machines can do, check out and see what they do with them. Thanks again for the great card. I love pop ups!!

  33. Thanks so much for the template and instructions AND for the cutter machine info, too. I don’t have one yet but it’s definitely on my wish list.

  34. Thank you for sharing this! I went to the instructables website where I first saw it and the website is sooooo slow today. Glad I found you here.

  35. Thanks so much for this great tutorial!
    I just made one for my boyfriend [we’re both nerds, so it’s fitting :D]

    Your blog is really fantastic, glad I found you through pinterest 🙂

  36. Wow!! That’s great!! Thank so much!! is very incredible project hehe Bye!! Kisses from Spain!! ^.^

  37. this was so easy! and truly the most perfect DIY valentine for my super techie web design boyfriend! thank you so much i cant wait to give it to him 🙂

  38. Glad everything is cool. Some bloggers mind and have a 1-2 photo download policy (with a link back to the tutorial), or absolutely no photo download policy. I always try and follow the specific blogger’s wishes if they are stated on the blog 🙂

  39. Thanks 😀 This is a perfect thing for my husband too!
    So cute and small and works perfectly 😀

  40. Impossible au moment de plier la carte en 2, tout s’arrache et fait des plis aux mauvais endroits.

  41. Désolé d’apprendre que vous rencontrez des problèmes. Assurez-vous de couper et marquer de façon très précise … et allez-y doucement.

    Mon français est très mauvais (je utiliser Google Translate). J’espère que vous comprenez.

  42. Thanks Lauralee….I’ll check it out.

    I have to admit I really like cutting-out by hand. Would be great to have a machine it you had to produce lots of the same thing though.

  43. Omg,it’s fantastic idea.Of this gift, I began to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
    if you can,please,add new share-button, that I (and many users of the CIS) could share in Russian Facebook.
    thank you !

  44. Love it Irene….that QR code is just super (and so lovely that it references a memorable song)! Also love the heart on the front….the thought had crossed my mind to do that 🙂

  45. Well, his reaction when he opened the card was ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool!’. Thanks very much 😀

  46. Thanks for the tutorial and template. This may be simple to make but you did a brilliant job coming up with the idea. And the result is wahouuu.

  47. Thank you so much for this template, my techy boyfriend loved it!! I also made one for my mom since there was two and they came out so freakin cute! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  48. Thanks. For absolutely nothing. i waited until Valentines Day to try this thinking it would actually work, but your pathetically poor planning has proven incompetent. You said you used regular paper but you obviously used paper stock. You offered absolutely no technique and the simplistic photos you showed were deficient in any direction whatsoever. After much wasted paper and time I have a whole lot of nothing. So once again, thanks for nothing. I’ll just by an effing card next time.

  49. What a great idea !
    I made one just in time for Valentine’s day ; I also went with the pixeled confetti but glued those onto the heat so it was all pixeled (does that make sense ? 🙂 ) My boyfriend loved it !!
    Many thanks for sharing, love your blog, so inspiring 🙂

  50. Hi Carol, it would be great to find the original source of inspiration for the idea…the craftster poster said she saw the idea in a bought card a few years ago prior to her post so maybe its been around for eons!

    I was sure the idea came from a book I borrowed from the library…

    “The art of Paper-Folding for Pop-up” by Miyuki Yoshida. You can see an image here:

    I am going to try to borrow it from the library again so will report back.

    Thanks for all the information regarding the .dfx file…I use illustrator all the time so should have guessed!

  51. Hi Kate,

    I love this card and want to try it out – can you tell me what are the dimensions of the paper i.e. lenght & breadth of the card.

  52. Hi Ruth….the envelope that the card fits in is 10cm x 10 cm. The card is just a little bit smaller. HTH

  53. Hey Kate, I really love this card. It’s really creative. I love to try stuff like this, so thank u so much for giving me this fabulous idea. And Keep It Up. 🙂

  54. Hello Kate,

    That card is incredibly adorable! Thank you so much for sharing this great tutorial. I can’t wait to try that! I can see me giving this card to my beloved sisters, as well as to my beloved husband… It’s so cute, but quite nerdy at the same time! I really love it quite a lot! :]

    And you are incredibly nice, answering all of those comments… That is totally heart warming!

    Your new fan

  55. I was surfing at the page of lafactoria plastica and saw this card which was inspired on the one I bought back in 1992, it was handmade by someone else, I liked it so much that I made a copy and kept for me (which i posted at crafster …
    unfortunately, I cant say if the person came with the design, or if it came from a book, so cant give the credits for the real creator of this card.

  56. I was surfing at the page of lafactoria plastica and saw this card which was inspired on the one I bought back in 1992, it was handmade by someone else, I liked it so much that I made a copy and kept for me (which i posted at crafster …
    unfortunately, I cant say if the person came with the design, or if it came from a book, so cant give the credits for the real creator of this card.

    Ps forgot to say… you ve done a great work!!!

  57. Hi Karen…thanks for the message. It’s very annoying because I just know I have seen this idea in a book somewhere and can’t remember the book. It was a while ago now (years) but I clearly remember the mechanism. I thought it was from a popup book (see posts above) but apparently not. If I come closer to finding the originator I’ll let you know. (I used to live in Australia…which is where the library was…hence the reason it’s hard for me to find the book). Lovely to see your version though. I think in internet terms you are the true originator (as you posted the same idea ages ago!). Nice to ‘meet’ your blog…you should update more often ^_^

  58. Hooray…thanks for all your efforts Carol. I’ll order it from the library…it will be great to see it again.

    Cheerio for now

  59. Dear Kate, I loved your pop up card, thank you so much for sharing this tutorial,
    although we don’t celebrate valentine’s day so much here in France, I thought it was a good opportunity to send a litttle note to my god daughters! I made afew cards in advance for wedding notes…
    thank you!

  60. I know this card seems pretty straight forward, but could you put up a video or something explaining how to do the scoring part. I’m finding it hard to follow. Sorry. D;

  61. I made this card for my boyfriend today and he loved it!
    It’s so easy and adorable, thank you for the lovely tutorial 🙂

  62. Thanks ever so much for sharing your work, it is really appreciated. Kindest regards

  63. If anyone had issues during the folding stage, I found that a pair of wide angled tweezers did the trick for the pesky bottom bits 🙂

  64. Hi Amanda….scoring is the the act of creating a line or depression in the paper that will help the paper fold. I use put a ruler along the line and then score along the line using a compass point/needle.

    Hope that helps

  65. Thank you so much, I just finished making it for my girlfriend. I hope you will have a good love too. Thanks

  66. Thanks for the templates. I do have a ‘cutting machine’ – a Craft Robo (aka Silohette) so it will come in handy for that.

  67. My boyfriend and I’s 2nd anniversary is in two weeks, and I still haven’t found the perfect card to make. Thanks for this tutorial! I’m going down the hard route and drawing the pattern myself. :3

  68. I have a Cricut…but don’t know how to download to use on this cutting machine. Will it work with a Cricut?

  69. My school has a laser cutting machine, so the dxf file is extremely helpful! Lets me do this in seconds. 😀
    Thanks a lot!

  70. Hi Amanda,

    I’m afraid I don’t have a template for that. You could try making your own template….they all follow the same principles. Good luck. Kate ^_^

  71. Hi Linda. There is a .dfx file you can download at the foot of the post. Hope this works. Kate ^_^

  72. Thanks very much for the tutorial, what a cute card! Just made one for the boy, looks great. 🙂

  73. im new at this so… what did you mean by score (i know i should know what you mean i just dont sorry)

  74. Hi Danica, to score paper just lay a ruler against the line you want to score…then (holding the ruler) run a pin or compass point along the line. Basically you ‘dent’ the paper and it makes it easier to fold.

    Good luck…let me know how you get on ^_^

  75. I have a engraving business and when found your blog I have a fresh looking for some thinks around. All your handmade valentines day card looks pretty nice in 3d 😉

  76. I love this idea! Is there any way to do this without the pixellated look? I’ve tried without success, but I am stubborn and I figure there HAS to be a way to do it…..

  77. If you search google images for ‘popup heart’ you will come across several non-pixellated examples.

    Good luck
    Kate ^_^

  78. Hi kate,i’m 16 and I luv creating stuff like this nd I really enjoy it, but making pop-up cards was one of the tuffest of all, and almost all the websites i’ve been to make it so complicated to master, but u’rs is so simple, cute and I really enjoy it.

    U’ve got a real gift and talent and I hope it becomes better and better.
    Thanx alot for sharing. Its been so helpfull and i’ve been able to please so many.

    XOXO <3:-)

  79. Thank you so much for this! I saw a similar one on a 9gag post and decided to make this for my valentine! 🙂 saved a lot of my time! 🙂

  80. I printed the template but its just 2 small. ones how do i make it so i only get one that fills up the whole page?

  81. Hi Thomas,

    It’s small because it has to fit into the the envelope (which needs to fit onto an A4 sheet). It’s easy to hand draw the template onto a bigger piece of paper. Other than that you can print it out and enlarge it on a photocopier.

    If you are having problems let me know and i will email you a large version (but will not be able to provide you with an envelope template).

  82. Hi
    This is so cute but when I tried printing I had problems printing the actual heart–just printed the heading and the note at the bottom–I have no idea why this is happening. Any suggestions?

  83. It would be a lot easier if you also did steps for the new template you gave.
    I tried twice already and I got so frustrated I gave up. I didn’t know how to fold the scores. When I folded the card they didnt’ automatically pop out and all that so I tried folding them which made the card look really ugly. So frustrating. You should do a video maybe that might help.

  84. Hi R…I would have loved to do a full tutorial but I’m afraid time was not on my side. I know many people have succeeded with the cards so would have appreciated the new templates (without the full tutorial).

    I do intend to get a video up at some point but I am just a busy mum….trying to juggle family life and work and the blog and I’m afraid I don’t always succeed.

    If it’s any consolation my first two or three attempts were disasters too…but once I understood the mechanism they became a lot easier to make.

  85. Hi Nataly,

    I’m more than happy for you to use one or two photos and a short extract of text. I usually ask that articles are not reproduced in their entirety.

    Many thanks
    Kate ^_^

  86. Hi! I love this DIY, but is was just wondering what I could use in leiu of a craft knife??? Thank you

  87. Hi Patricia,

    Someone else created the .dxf file for me so I’m afraid I am not bale to change it. So sorry.

    Kate ^_^

  88. Wow. I did this for my friend, and since she likes minecraft I made it a heart, and she loved it! Thanks for sharing the great idea!!!

  89. Hi Sehrish. Please don’t feel despondent. It took me 3 or 4 attempts to make my first one. Try with good quality paper rather than card. Kate ^_^

  90. Hi, Kate:

    I don’t know if you will see this comment, as your post is two years old, but I’ve just discovered it and think it’s lovely!

    My mum has Alzheimer’s and one of her favourite things to do is walk to the end of her road to pick up her mail. I have several health issues and am only able to see her once or twice a week, and she does get lonely in between our visits. She’s never been big into Valentine’s Day but I know she will love receiving this “I love you” card just out of the blue.

    Thank you so much for sharing this delightful design. 🙂

  91. Hi Nancy,

    So sorry to hear your Mum has Alzheimers. A few of my relatives have it too so I can empathise.

    Good luck with the making. Hope the cards turn out well.

    Kate ^_^

  92. Hi,
    Thanks so much for posting this fun project! It was a pleasure to figure out (the first draft was a bit of a stinker, haha).
    I don’t assume for anyone to scroll THIS far down in the comments, but I added a a twist that might be helpful or slightly interesting to some: I was concerned about bubbling and a wonky fit, so rather than gluing on a backing piece of paper, I cut a second piece of paper a 1/2″ smaller on both sides. I then cut some zig-zags of the same proportion on the diagonal in each of the four corners of the pop-up paper, and fitted the “cover” into the slots.
    Wowee did it look good! I didn’t want to give it away, hahaha. 😉
    (I wish I could include a photo but I don’t have a website/hosting).
    Thanks again for an enjoyable project! I look forward to trying others (and BUYING YOUR BOOK!) 🙂
    Have a great day!

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  94. Hey Kate,

    Sorry to sound an amateur. But can you please explain what is “scoring”? Any link to one of the tutorial would help. Thanks a lot.

  95. The pop up heary is jst wooooow plz plz tell me where i cn find ur arf craft tutorials plz….

  96. This is so pretty! i’ve made four so far! Really cute and fun. Good for anniversaries too!

  97. Robocraft Hack is safe because it has a built-in Anti-Ban, and the ability to use private proxy. Through these two supplements you are undetectable and can safely play without worrying about the bans.

  98. Awesome tutorial! Was looking for an anniversary card DIY for my hubby and being the gamer that he is, I’m positive he’ll love this! THANK YOU FOR SHARING! 🙂

  99. Mermaid – can you tell me exactly what you are finding difficult? The pop-up heart is the inner layer of the card…in step 6 you have to glue the inner layer to an outer layer…does that help? Kate x

  100. Its an amazing idea and am so gonna try it! *_* But can you please tell me what you mean by “score”? o.O

  101. Thank you for every other informative website. The place else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect
    approach? I have a project that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been at the
    glance out for such info.

  102. Hi Kate
    I can see the .dxf above but my pc won’t open it. I do have Silhouette studio so would appreciate the .studio version – how can I get it?

  103. Thanks for the dfx file. I have a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I had to change the horizontal lines to dashed lines (for peforating) because they came out as cutting lines, but that was easy to do with my software for the machine. I have also seen this pattern before and have the pop-up book by Paul Jackson. But with the dfx file I can cut it out quickly and easily and often.

    Thanks again

  104. Go to Google traduction i don’t speaking ENGLISH alors salut j’adore votre site madame mais bon le mien est mieux

  105. This is ace!
    I just found your site and made this card for my husband. He is not a soppy sort, so I just couldn’t find any cards I liked in the shops. I am so glad I didn’t buy one as I had a lot of fun making this. Thank you so much for sharing , these are the sorts of things that make the web great! 🙂

  106. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do believe that you need to publish more about this subject, it might
    noot be a taboo matter but usually people don’t talk about such
    issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

  107. Hi, i beieve that i saw you vixited my website thus i got here to return the
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  108. Emma, I stated in my initial post “BTW I remember seeing something similar in a popup book years ago. If anyone knows of the book then do let me know!”

    I’ve long been a fan of paul jackson and have linked to his ‘paper folding’ books from my site my times and written lots of nice things about his work.

    Thank you for giving me the exact reference.

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  110. Hi Janet,

    I just purchased a cameo and want to make these valentines card with my daughter for our first project. Can you please send me the Dfx file. I am having trouble opening the one in the tutorial on my Mac.

    I greatly appreciate your help,

  111. LOVE it!
    Looks amazing! Will try this tomorrow with my students for arts and crafts-fun.
    Thank you so much.

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