Friday, June 4, 2010

Sharon Briss: Get Your Art Moving!

Getting mechanical is not exactly my strong point, but I have long admired all the fun cards that include movement. To figure out how to make my cards move, I consulted lots of blogs and got a great book, Paper Engineering and Pop-Ups for Dummies by Rob Ives.

I decided to start with a simple moving bird card. Here's what you will need:

1 stamp with portion that can be isolated ie head, body, limb etc
cardstock for card base and "mechanism"
designer paper for decorative purposes
2 circle punches - I used a 3/4" and an 1" size
1 hole punch
quarter or something else round to trace
pop-up dots

I started with a few scraps from my bin that I love so much I could bear to throw away and a pretty bird stamp (Magenta) from my collection. I stamped, using Jet Black StazON, the bird image once on my purple background paper and once on some green slightly patterend paper. The green bird will be the one that sits on top and moves. I cut out the body of the green bird and trimmed the collage frame around the one stamped on the purple paper.

Here's where I saw how I tend to make things way too complicated for myself. I had picked an image in a frame! Silly me. Now how cover the original bird up easily? Using a piece of vanilla cardstock, I stamped the definition of fly (Catslife Press) repeatedly to make a patterened strip.

After tearing both edges, I laid my strip down on my image and used a ruler to mark off where it would hit the frame. I then trimmed it to fit inside. Now, my patterened strip would nicely hide all but the bird's feet.

My next step was to use my hole punch to punch through the middle of where I wanted the bird body to pivot.

I now had the base all set, so now I needed the mechanism. First, punch a 3/4" circle from sturdy cardstock and make two slits on either side, folding up the "tabs" to create a washer (shown below).

Take this washer and thread it through the whole in your image, tab side up, as shown below. I flattened the tabs down and placed a small amount of adhesive on them being careful not to get adhesive on anything but the washer.

Next, I punched a slightly larger circle (1") from the same cardstock and adhered it first to the back of my green bird where I wanted it to pivot and then I gently pressed it down onto the sticky tabs of the washer. I tested the washer by moving the bird gently with my fingers, ensuring that it moved freely.
My next step was to construct a lever which would transfer that movement in a way that I could easily control with a tab. Using a quarter to create the rounded bit on the top, I drew the following shape for my lever.

The sides don't have to be perfect which is good because I cannot draw. I cut out my lever and then folded the sides into the middle to make a strong "stick". I glued these two flaps in place

I first positioned my bird so that it was at a neutral position on the front of the card. Then, I glued the rounded end of the lever to the back of the washer (on the backside of the piece). I tested the mechanism by holding the "stick" portion of the lever and trying to manipulate the bird. When I was sure it was moving freely, I went on to the next step.

Now, I needed my pull tab. I cut a strip of paper 1" wide and several inches long and punched a 3/4" circle into the top portion.

I also made a quick sleeve by taking a smaller rectangle of cardstock and loosely (don't make it too snug as it won't move) folding it around the pull tab.

The next step only sounds difficult. Place the lever's stick portion through the pull tab's hole. Then, position the pull tab where you want it on the back of your image and fix the sleeve in place. You can now trim the lever so it does not show beyond the edge of the card.

Once, you have worked out how far you want the tab to move upward, you can also trim the pull tab so that it is even with the bottom of your card. I attached a bit of ribbon and a brad to the end of my pull tab so that it would be easy to manipulate and I popped the whole panel up with pop-up dots so that it would continute to move freely.

My last touch was to use my 3/4" circle punch to create a little niche for the pull tab to sit in.

At the end of it all, I had a cute little interactive card with a nodding bird. This basic mechanism can be adapted for all kinds of projects and once you have fiddled with it once or twice, it is actually pretty simple to create.

Here's my bird in it's natural upright stance.

Here he is with his head bowed. I really love that the mechanism is totally hidden behind the image panel.

Hope you liked this pull tab tutorial and I hope you will give it a try!


  1. What a great tutorial and the finished card looks awesome too! TFS!

  2. Wow!! This card is adorable! Can't wait to give it a try!!

  3. Shar: WOW!!! This is SO COOL! What a fun technique, and you made it really easy to understand. I can't wait to try this. Your card is totally spectacular. :)

  4. Looooove it!! Your card is so full of vintage-y goodness, and the mechanism to make the birdy interactive is great. Thanks for the fun tutorial!

  5. Beautiful card based on the Dummies instructions! I LOVE that book, but have yet to manage ANYTHING as clean as your creation here!

    Now I'm inspired to try some more!

  6. Fabulous! I will try it. But, it won't be as lovely as yours.

  7. This is a beautiful card, and a great tutorial.

  8. Wow such a clever technique, your card is stunning
    Claire xx

  9. What a kewl tutorial. Love how your bird moves! Your so clever!

  10. So clever Shar. Might have to take a look at that book, sounds fun.


Thanks for your wonderful words!

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