Learn how to make lantern pop-up cards out of cardstock!
This holiday season, why not send some love and light to those special to you? Literally! I’ve shared lots of card designs to help share some joy, but none quite as “bright” as these. Say Merry Christmas to my awesome lantern pop-up cards designs! They’re a quick and easy holiday greeting card option that your recipient can keep and display year after year. That’s because it’s not just a card, it’s a luminary too!
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When the recipient of your card pops it open, it becomes a self-standing lantern that they can light up with a battery-operated LED tea light candle. These are so cool, and will probably be the only card like this they receive all year!
In this tutorial, I share three beautifully detailed designs for lantern cards: One with adorable snowmen, one featuring a cute winter truck scene, and one with pretty 3D poinsettias.
Each of the three designs include two versions — one that uses a scoring tool like a Scoring Stylus or Scoring Wheel, and the other with dashed lines that doesn’t require any scoring tools. Which version did I find better and easier overall? Watch my video tutorial to find out — the answer may surprise you!
These cards are super easy to make, and come together quickly. I include a PDF file to cut by hand or with a craft knife, but making these lantern pop-up cards is so much easier with a cutting machine. I used a Cricut Maker 3, but you can use the original Maker, any of the Explore series machines, or the Venture to make this project.
First, I’ll demonstrate how to make the snowmen lantern card with personalization, and I’ll use the SVG file version that doesn’t need a scoring tool. The steps are the same for the card with the truck design.
The card says “Let It Snow” on the front, but what if you want it to say something different? Well, you can change it!
Because the card file is kind of complex with all the cut data, it’s a lot for Design Space to render. Your computer may move a little slowly because of this, so be patient when working with this file and using the Contour tool. I’ll share how to remove the words completely from the design, and then show you use to use the “Stencil” filter to find a font that will work for your new text. Then we’ll use the “Attach” function to make the new text cut out!
Once you’ve finished preparing the design and cutting it with your Cricut, it’s time to remove it from your cutting mat. Some pieces are delicate, so go slowly to make sure nothing tears. It may feel tedious, but it’s for the best! The spatula can help lift away really intricately cut areas. Some smaller cut parts may remain with the cardstock, and you can use a weeding tool to poke them out.
Next we’ll use the scraper tool to fold and crease the cardstock. Use your fingernails or scraper to make the creases nice and crisp, then I’ll guide you through assembling the card using its attached tabs.
After that, I’ll walk you through you how to prepare and assemble the poinsettia pop-up card, which is a little different because of the extra flower pieces! I also demonstrate this one using the file that uses the score lines, so you can see how to prepare and assemble it.
Once the poinsettia design is on your Canvas in Cricut Design Space, you’ll see a layer of vertical lines in the Layer Panel. I’ll show you how to change the setting of these lines so your Cricut knows to score them instead of cut them! Then we’ll cut and I’ll show you how to assemble the card and attach the added poinsettia flowers.
But, what about an envelope? You know I’ve got you covered there! Go to my How To Make an Envelope tutorial to learn how, and search the library page for design number 373, then click the link to download the designs.
In the SVG folder, locate the the “A8” file and add it to your Canvas in Cricut Design Space. This is the perfect type of envelope for this card size. Here you can ungroup them and choose the one you like.
You can choose whichever color cardstock you want for your envelope, but I’ll choose a light color. Why? Because I’ll show you how have your Cricut write your recipient’s address on the envelope! Return address, too. This is so convenient if you have multiple cards to send out and want an extra personal touch.
To write on the envelope, I used a Cricut fine-tip pen which is great for writing nice, clear text even at a pretty small size. I have a free writing font you can use called JM Tall which is super awesome for this. At the link, you’ll also find a bunch of tips and tricks, like how to upload your own fonts to Cricut Design Space, how to avoid your text turning into bubble letters, and more.
When your envelope is cut, drawn, assembled, and the glue is dry, it’s ready for your lantern pop-up card!
To get your card ready for mailing, lay it on its back and gently push down in the middle to flatten the square tube. Slide the flat, closed card into the envelope, and voila! Now it can be sent in mail just like any other card.
When the recipient takes it out of the envelope, it will pop open and they can put an LED votive candle inside! What a fun holiday surprise! This is one card they’ll keep for years to come.
Here’s a supply list of what you need to make lantern pop-up cards! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials and Tools to Make Lantern Pop-Up Cards
- One (1) Sheet of Light Blue 8.5” x 11” 65 lb. Cardstock
- One (1) Sheet of Gold Foil 8.5” x 11” 65 lb. Cardstock
- One (1) Sheet of Red Foil 8.5” x 11” 65 lb. Cardstock
- Two (2) Sheets of 12” x 12” 65lb. Cardstock (For Envelope)
- One (1) LED Flameless Votive Candle (to Display Card) -OR-
- A puck light
- A method to cut your cardstock – I’m using the Cricut Maker 3 but you can also use the Cricut Maker, the Explore series, the Venture, and the Joy Xtra for this project!
- Cricut Green StandardGrip Machine Mat, 12″ x 12″
- Scoring Wheel (for Maker) -OR- Scoring Stylus (for Explore or Maker)
- Weeding Tool
- XL Scraper
- Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue
- Cricut Fine-Tip Pen (for Envelope)
- Design #533 – My free SVG/PDF/DXF design files are available in my free resource library (get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make Your Own Lantern Pop-Up Cards
The detailed step-by-step assembly video on how make lantern pop-up cards debuted during Maker Academy Weekend 2023, held online November 1-5, 2023. Get an on-demand pass to watch all 30+ workshops, each with a printable handbook, transcript, audio file, design files, and support with a VIP pass below:
Answers to Your Questions About How to Make Your Own Lantern Pop-Up Cards
Q: Where is your tutorial for this project?
These pop-up lantern cards are a special project we made for our free Maker Academy Weekend 2023 event! A complete and detailed step-by-step video premiered during the event November 1-5, 2023 — specifically, this tutorial video was available to watch for free for 24 hours only during the event. If you missed it, you can get access to the full video, the 24-page printable handbook that details how to make this beautiful project with a VIP Pass to Maker Academy Weekend 2023, which comes with other perks and bonuses, too! Look at all the star ornaments made by our VIP passholders in the lead up to our big event!
Q: Can you teach me how to make a lantern card? Can you make pop-up cards with Cricut?
A: This tutorial is a fantastic place to start! I show and tell you everything you need to know to make gorgeous lantern pop-up cards in my written and video tutorial. And yes, you can absolutely make pop-up cards with a Cricut. It’s one of my favorite ways to use it, and it cuts the card stock pieces so precisely — something you really need when you’re making pop-up cards.
Q: What kind of paper do you use for pop-up cards?
A: To make my lantern cards and most other types of cards, I recommend using 65 pound cardstock. It’s a good thickness to give the card some structure very similar to commercial cards, but not so heavy that you’ll have a hard time making folds or creases. It all comes down to personal preference, though! If you like lighter or heavier paper, use that instead — just be sure to adjust your cut settings as necessary, and remember that it might require some trial and error to get it just right with these intricate cuts.
Q: What materials are needed for a pop-up card?
A: The materials and tools needed for my lantern pop-up cards are quite minimal. I have a comprehensive shopping list with links in my tutorial, but you’ll need a few sheets of cardstock, some craft glue, a cutting machine with a StandardGrip machine mat, a scoring wheel or stylus if you are making the scored version, a brayer, weeding tool, extra large scraper tool, and spatula, as well as a Cricut fine-tip pen if you’d like your Cricut to do the writing for you. If you’re making a card for yourself (or just want to see what it looks like all lit up before you send it off) you’ll also need a battery-operated tea light!
Q: How can I make my own Christmas cards?
A: Making your own Christmas cards can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be! You don’t even need a cutting machine — though, for me, it’s way more fun and satisfying to make cards with one. With a cutting machine and the basic accessories (plus some cardstock and maybe a little craft glue), you are all set to create tons of different types of cards! If you’re a beginner, starting off with some simple cards is a great idea. Although they’re super easy, you can even choose your own design! When you’re ready, check out more card tutorials in my blog!
Q: Do you have any other pop-up cards I can make?
A: I sure do! Check out my pop-up holiday manor card, hot air balloon pop-up card, grill pop-up card, apple tree pop-up card, light-up pop-up winter card, pop-up birdcage card, easy butterfly pop-up card, rainbow heart pop-up card, pop-up birthday cake card, impossible card, gamer pop-up card, and fairy house pop-up card.
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I SO hope you’ll make some lantern pop-up cards of your own! Please share a photo of your ornaments in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.