Happy Birthday to John! (Also, cleaning is killing me!)
Video Tutorial: Pop-up Bird Cage Card (Tim Holtz)

Pop-up Birthday Card (Tim Holtz) with Tutorial

I am very much enjoying combining the new Tim Holtz Alterations dies with the Pop-up dies. His style is very layered, grungy and artsy, and I've been having a ball getting messy with inks and paints, trying my best to capture the "feel" of his dies. 

Today's card may seem a bit dark & twisty for a kid birthday card, so maybe you'll want to use this idea for a masculine adult card instead. I was going for an "artsy" look, but may have strayed into "macabre". Such a fine line, really. Heh.

(Click to make it bigger)Bday Card 11 TH

Sizzix Products Used:
Pop-up Cake, by Karen Burniston
Vintage Market Alphabet, by Tim Holtz
Filmstrip Frame, by Tim Holtz
Ornate "On the Edge", by Tim Holtz
Elegant Flourishes, by Tim Holtz
Baroque, by Tim Holtz
Heart Wings, by Tim Holtz
Birthday Phrases Stamps, by Dena Designs ("Happy")
Matboard, black

Other Products Used:
Tim Holtz for Advantus: Ball Chain, Grunge Paper, Type Charms, Mini Paperclips, Washers, Tiny Attacher, Numerals
Tim Holtz for Ranger: Distress Ink "Vintage Photo", Distress Stickles "Picket Fence"
Patterned Papers - Creative Imaginations (Cream Music, by Marah Johnson and Lucky Ornate Flourish, by Creative Cafe)
Vintage Cardstocks - Core'dinations
General Craft/Source Unknown - gems, elastic, paint, eyelet, embossing powder, tacky tape

Step-by-Step Picture Tutorial:


1. I used the Baroque Movers & Shapers die as a cake plate, so I built my cake on the "plate" first, and then glued the finished plate/pop-up inside my card. First I folded the Baroque shape in half, and then measured 1/8" in either direction, scored and made two more folds. You can see the three folds in the picture above, in brown. (I brushed Vintage Photo ink over the cake plate to distress it and bring out the folds) The cake is built on the center fold like usual, but the other two folds will be mirrored into the card itself, making the card have a thick fold, which allows the tiers of the cake to remain rounded even when the card is closed. This helps maintain a nearly-round appearance when the card is opened. I've used a strong tacky tape to construct the largest tier of my cake in the usual manner. (Download the "Supplemental Cake Die Instructions" from the left sidebar of this blog and use with the Pop-up Cake die to construct the cake to this point)


2. One of my favorite tools is the Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher (The link is an online source, but you might also check your local stores. I've also seen them at Hobby Lobby). You may think it's just a stapler, but it's so much more! The staples are tiny and the tool has a pretty long reach. Those two features make it the perfect tool for reinforcing pop-up cards. The above photo is blurry (sorry!) but hopefully you can see what I'm doing here. I'm reinforcing the connection on the bottom tier of the cake as close to the fold as I can get it. This is going to replace the step in the "Supplemental Cake Die Instructions" that tells you to use a mini-brad. The tiny staple is going to lay much flatter than a mini-brad, and this is quicker and easier than piercing a hole for a brad.


3. The above photo shows the bottom tier of the cake with the tiny attacher staples as reinforcing. It also shows my messy fingers. Tim Holtz-style cards get your hands dirty, yo!


4. Another blurry photo, but, in my defense, it's difficult to hold the pieces and take the photos at the same time. (She says, evoking much sympathy) Here I've continued construction of the pop-up cake by adding the second tier and then reinforcing the connection with the Tiny Attacher.


5. I wanted to make a cake that could have a topper but also fit in a standard A2-sized card (4.25" x 5.5") so I elected to make a two-tier cake instead of a three-tier cake. I also thought a two-tier cake might look a little like a crown. So after constructing two tiers, I cut off the remaining centerpiece at the top, leaving enough to attach my numerals later.

With the Pop-up Cake die, the cake tiers (sides) are not cut with the die. You decide the materials, shape and height of the tiers, which means you can make them taller and/or with decorative edges at your discretion. The tier in the photo above is a 1.5" wide strip of Tim Holtz Grunge Paper that is run through the Big Shot with the Ornate On the Edge die to give it the decorative edge. Grunge paper is an excellent material for the pop-up cake because Grunge Paper doesn't want to keep a fold. It will unbend into a nearly-round shape. For the decoration of this tier, I painted the tier black, then spread Tim Holtz Washers randomly over the strip and sprayed it with silver & gold metallic spray-paints. Then I removed the washers, leaving the decoration of washer shapes all over the strip without having to add the weight of actual washers. (Plus I've got some cool spray-painted washers for another project! Bonus!)

Notice that I used the Tiny Attacher again to reinforce the connections where the tiers attach to the sides of the cake. I'll show you how to do this in the next few steps as I illustrate adding the bottom tier:


6. For the bottom tier, I die cut the Filmstrip Frame from patterned paper and then added photos (printed in black/white on regular printer paper so they'll bend easily) behind each frame. There is space for 8 photos, but only 7 will be visible when the tier is finished, so you can choose to put blank paper in one of the end slots. Initially I tried to die cut Grunge Paper with the die, but this is a Sizzlit strip, which is really meant for paper/cardstock, not thick materials. The tiny holes in the filmstrip were not cut through when I used Grunge, so I would not recommend it. I did, however, keep my failed Grunge strip to glue behind the paper to make it unbend easier. You'll see that in some of the photos below.

After creating my filmstrip frame, I centered it (ish) so that an area between two photos would be right over the connection point. This is so I wouldn't end up stapling through a face. I used my strong tacky tape to attach it, but then for additional durability, I turned to my Tiny Attacher:


7. Experiment until you can get a good angle to put a staple through the connection point.


8. Now turn the Cake around and you can see that failed Grunge filmstrip (I cut the top/bottom holes off so they wouldn't show) behind the paper strip. I used my failed Grunge strip because I had it handy, but I would actually recommend just using a full strip of Grunge Paper behind the filmstrip. My photos are flimsy and tend to warp. If I had a solid strip of Grunge behind them, I'd be happier with the finished look. (Live and learn!)


9. Now wrap one end of the strip to the other side connection point and use strong tacky tape to attach it. Reinforce the connection with the Tiny Attacher. This is the photo that will end up being covered, so I didn't worry about stapling through Karl's face. (Sorry Karl!)


10. The last step is to bring the other side around and use strong tacky tape to attach it. You can reinforce this connection with the Tiny Attacher by partially collapsing the cake by folding the cake/plate closed, and then weaving the Tiny Attacher into the cake to staple this last section.

Cake closeup

Here's my finished cake inside the card. I added the "11" numerals to the top of the cake and hung the kids' initials from them using ball chain. I added some Stickles to the top of the "crown" tier, and then for one last bit of pop-up fun, I used the larger flourish from the Elegant Flourishes die to make a standard spiral pop-up on the back of the cake. Adding a spiral pop-up is pretty darn easy. So easy, in fact, that I didn't think to take pictures of it as I did it. Whoops! We'll make that a tutorial for another day, eh?

Now let's look at the card itself:

Card top view 

I started with a 5.25" x 8.5" piece of striped patterned paper (Lucky Ornate Flourish) and folded it in half as a card. I measured off the fold 1/8" in each direction, making two more folds just like I did with the Baroque cake plate. I cut the ends of the paper with the Ornate On the Edge die and then distressed the entire sheet with Vintage Photo distress ink.

Attach the finished cake inside the card using a really strong glue. I love 3-in-1 or Zip Dry, both by Beacon.

I cut two pieces of black matboard to 5.5" wide x 4.125" tall. I glued the matboard behind each of the card panels, starting at the outer folds, so that the area within the triple-fold has no matboard behind it.

The decorations inside the card are die-cut Elegant Flourishes and Vintage Alphabet letters for "Birthday". Those pieces are decorated with Stickles. I stamped "Happy" in black ink and embossed in clear powder for a shiny look.

Card front
The front of the card is a 5.5" x 12" strip of Starry Night Vintage cardstock from Core'dinations. I scored the strip at 4.125" so it would match the front of the matboard perfectly. Then, with the card closed, I held the cardstock on the front of the card in position, then folded the cardstock strip up and over the triple-fold and marked where it would meet the back piece of matboard. Remove the cardstock and score it there for folding. Now glue the front panel to the front matboard, and the back of the strip to the back matboard, with no glue between the folds. Trim off any excess cardstock.

I die cut a scrap of black cardstock with the Ornate On the Edge die and glued it to the bottom of the card. The Celebrate letters are die cut using Vintage Alphabet. The Heart Wings die (cut out of matboard for elevation and then papers for decoration) completes the design. The edges of the card are brushed with black paint.

Closure closeup 
Finally, for a closure I added a mini-brad through a washer, leaving the mini-brad elevated a bit. I tied black elastic cord to a mini-paperclip and attached it through the back of the card with an eyelet. The paperclip can be stretched up and over the brad to keep the card closed. The brad prongs inside the card can be covered with a small flourish.

So there you have it! One arsty/macabre birthday card! Perfect for wishing your little ones a happy birthday while simultaneously giving them nightmares. You're welcome!