From DIY home decor to handmade gifts, here are the best arts and crafts to spark your creativity

Make a Cool Pop-Up Landscape Postcard

Before I moved back home from school in NYC, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art one last time. I found myself checking out the gift shop and saw a really cool pop-up postcard that reminded me of the neighborhood of Muenster, Germany where I was born. It was like $15 or something (NYC+museum=expensive) and that was way too far over my budget as an unemployed student (Im no longer a student, just unemployed). Once I got back home, I thought it might be cool to see if I could recreate it. My mom has a small clay German-looking statue at her house, so I used this as a sort of model in my design.

What You Need:
-- some card-stock (or a blank postcard)
-- a cutting surface
-- an Exacto-knife or box cutter
-- a ruler/straight edge
-- a pencil

Make the Postcard

As I said, it is a good idea to use card-stock here: it's thicker and stronger than regular printer paper and will make it a lot easier when you begin folding. I grabbed an old birthday card I had lying around and used this to decide on the dimensions of my postcard. It was 16 cm X 22 cm, so I just went with that size. Using your Exacto-knife, trim your card-stock to this size (or any other you would prefer). Don't yet fold it, as this will happen in a later step.

Draw the Outline

Using my clay 'statue' as a model, I began to sketch the general outline of the building. I wanted to make three on my postcard, so I made sure to make each one small enough to account for the others. Using a sort of step pattern, I made small increments at each level so that the top of the building would be approximately an inch higher than the sides.

Cut the Roof

Next, use your knife to carefully slice the paper along the lines, being sure to keep it as straight as possible.

Make the First Fold

Ok, I found this to be the trickiest step. You want to make sure to fold each individual strip carefully, as it is very easy to tear or mis-fold the joints. I had to start over a couple of times at this point. Try to get a good 90 degree angle at each fold. It helps to use a small straight edge here (i.e. the blunt end of your exacto-knife). You can also make a fold in the very middle of the post card where you will eventually be able to fold it in half. You can also skip this step and wait until the end. Finish the previous steps for all three buildings (if you want to do that many).

Windows and Doors

To make the windows and doors for your buildings, you are basically going to cut out three sides of a rectangle so that only the bottom side is still connected. Check out the pictures below. It's also a good idea to try to erase any unwanted pencil markings now, before things get very complicated and delicate.

Almost Done

Here you can see the postcard after it is all cut. I tried to get each building to be identical, but it was tough to be precise with the crappy Exacto-knife that I was using.

The Big Fold

Ok, here's where everything has to come together just right. You want to be sure that each joint on the front of the card is completely folded and that the fold is straight. Also, if you haven't done so already, be sure to fold in the middle of the postcard. Look at the first picture here to see where that goes. Now, start slowly folding the entire postcard in half, being very careful that each piece is folding as it should. Keep an eye on the top of the buildings while also being sure that the flaps in between each building are folding backwards (see picture 2). When done, it should look like the last picture on this page. If anything needs to be folded on this back side, this is the time to do it.

You're All Done

You did it! Just make sure all of the windows and doors are folded out (I folded the doors inwards and the windows out). Now you can send it to someone you want to impress or hang on to it and display it in your house. For a dramatic effect, stick a candle behind it and watch the windows glow. Hope you enjoy.


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