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Two days ago while browsing Facebook, I saw a photo of a pop-up cherry tree card. I fell in love with it and set out to learn how to make it. (There’s an entire story to this—scroll down a bit to read it, or just skip it to get to the tutorial.) I am a little amazed to say I have figured it out and have made a gorgeous pop-up apple tree card. I picked the apple tree because I can see one from my desk all day, and the apple blossom is the official flower of my state, Michigan. The apple tree folds flat, but when you open the card it springs to life. It is SO cool! And I’m going to show you how you can make one, too!
Get the free SVG cut file for this project
Here’s a video of my apple tree pop-up card in action:

 

My Sliceform Pop Up Design Story

Have you ever amazed yourself by doing something you didn’t know you could do? That’s what happened when I made this. I was fascinated by the idea of the pop-up tree, and thought, “Hey, I want to make something like this, too!” But I’ve never made a pop up before. So I looked around for a tutorial or a video… or something. I found some simple pop-up tutorials, but nothing like this. So I stared at the photo, imagined the pieces in my head, moving them around until they fell into place… and suddenly, I KNEW.

I opened up Adobe Illustrator and began to draw. First the trunk and leaves, then the extra leaves, and finally the base. I uploaded the files to Cricut an hour later and tried to put it together. Here’s the amazing thing … everything fit without any errors. It all just slid right into place. I’m still not sure how I managed that, except to say I’ve been designing a lot of different things lately. You can see the first tree I made below in all green.

Pop-Up Apple Tree Prototype and Finished Project

Once I had a basic sliceform design down, I made it pretty by adding in blossoms, the fence, and the base. I designed everything on my own, from top to bottom. The blossom shapes were modeled after real apple blossoms from the tree in my yard. So while it may have a resemblance to various commercially-designed pop-up cards, it is 100% my own design. And I am happy to share it with you!

If you’re curious about sliceform, it is a technique developed by Olaus Henrici, a London mathematician at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is a fascinating way of creating 3D paper sculptures, and I plan to explore it further.

Pop-Up Apple Tree Card Materials

Materials for an 3D Sliceform Apple Tree Pop-Up Card

Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy.

  • Good quality cardstock*—four sheets of white 65 lb.  8.5″ x 11″ cardstock, 1 sheet of brown 65 lb. 12″ x 12″ cardstock, 1 sheet of green 65 lb. 12″ x 12″ cardstock, and 2 sheets of 12″ x 12″ cardstock in any color (for the card cover)
  • Glue (I used Aleene’s “Tacky” Glue Pen)
  • Tape
  • Design #27 – Cut files (available free in my resource library—get the password to the library by filling out the form at the bottom of this post)
  • A cutting machine (I used a Cricut Explore Air 2)

* Note on Cardstock Quality: These are intricate cuts, so a better cardstock will produce better results. I had the best results using Core’dinations Solid Core Dyed Cardstock rather than my cheaper card stock bought at the office supply store or even the DCWV Textured Cardstock (which is what I used for the card base and tree trunk). All the card stock I used was 65 lb.

How to Make a Pop-Up Apple Tree Card: Step by Step

I made a video of the entire pop-up tree card assembly process—I recommend you watch it to see how it all comes together.

First, cut out all your cardstock using my free cut files (Design #27). To do this on a Cricut, download the SVG cut files from my resource library, go to Cricut Design Space, and upload each file.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to click Select All and Attach on each file before you cut it to keep it all in the proper places.

And make sure your cutting mat is clean and sticky enough—a mat that isn’t sticky enough will cause the flowers to cut out poorly. Please note that it will take a couple of hours to cut out these intricate files on a Cricut.

Be aware that Cricut Design Space will not show some of the details on the canvas, but they will still cut. The reason for this is that the outlines of the shapes are on the higher layer than the details to force the outline to cut out last. I do this on purpose, because if the outlines were to cut first, your paper may slip on the mat when cutting the details. If this is what you see in Cricut Design Space, this is RIGHT:

Apple Tree Card in Cricut Design Space

Upload the Pop Up Apple Tree SVG files into Cricut Design Space

Having problems loading or cutting the files? You may just not have enough system memory—there are a lot of intricate cuts in my files. To help with this, I’ve uploaded two new sets of files — one has all the elements individually, and the other simplifies the elements (removes the blossoms). You’ll find both of these alternate sets of files in my resource library. The simplified files are also appropriate for those of you who are cutting it out by hand.

Note: Even with a sticky mat, sharp blade, and good cardstock, you can expect to spend some time weeding the blossom petals out.

Now it’s time to assemble your tree. Start with the tree trunk piece that has a slot at the top and glue the foliage that is separated into two halves onto the branches. When gluing, be careful to avoid gluing over the slot and note that no branches should be peeking out from the foliage. Tip: Put glue on the branches and attach the foliage to it rather than the other way around. Set aside to dry.

Glue the branches and stick on the two foliage halves for your apple tree pop-up

Next, glue the foliage onto the other tree trunk piece. There is no slot at the top of this tree piece, so you don’t have to worry about matching anything up—just be sure to use the largest foliage piece. The outline of this trunk/foliage set should match the outline of the trunk/foliage set you did in the previous step. Set aside to dry.

Glue the branches and stick on the largest foliage for your apple tree pop-up

Assemble the fence. This is a little tricky because it’s easy to slot the fence pieces in the wrong way. Here is a diagram showing which way the pieces go together.

Fence Assembly for the Pop Up Apple Tree Card

Slot the fences together for your apple tree pop-up

Once the fence is assembled, fold the tabs up so they are even with the bottom of the fences and pointing away from the fence assembly. The fold lines are indicated by red dashed lines in the diagram above.

Fold up the tabs on the fences for your apple tree pop-up

Now slide each set of fence tabs into the outer slots on the card base, then tape down from the underside.

Slide the fence tabs into the base for apple tree pop-up

Tape down the tabs on the underside of the base for the apple tree pop-up

If you’d like to cover the white fence ends, glue the grass pieces to the inner and outer sides of the white rectangles on either end of the fence. The corner pieces go inside, while the pieces with one straight edge go on the outside.Add cardstock grass fence ends for the apple tree pop-up

Now let’s assemble our tree. Start by slotting one tree trunk onto the other (the trunk with the upper slot slides over the trunk with the lower slot). Stand it up to make sure it is stable.

Slot the trunk pieces together for the apple tree pop-up

To keep the trunk pieces stable, we’ll attach the small H-shaped bridge piece. First, carefully fold it in half, then glue the tabs (not the thin connection piece), and place over the bottom end of the tree trunk with the lower slot. Notches are cut into both trunks that will allow this bridge to fit snugly over and in the trunk pieces. When done, stand it up to make sure it is still stable.

Glue the bridge piece onto the bottom of the trunk for the apple tree pop-up

Now assemble the trunk support pieces, which go together similar to the fence pieces. Here is a diagram of how the trunk support pieces get slotted together.

Trunk Support Assembly for the Pop Up Apple Tree Card

Assemble the trunk support for the apple tree pop-up

Once the trunk support is assembled, fold the tabs up so the bottom of the tab is even with the bottom of the support. The fold lines are indicated by red dashed lines in the diagram above.

Fold up the tabs on the trunk support for the apple tree pop-up

Put the trunk support on the bottom of the tree trunk by inserting the folded tree into the support from the top, then slotting the tree into the support from the bottom.

Slot the trunk into the trunk support for the apple tree pop-up

Slide the trunk support bases into the inner slots on the card base and tape down from the underside.

Slot the trunk tabs into the base for the apple tree pop-up

Stand the assembled tree up (put heavy objects on the base if necessary to keep it stable). Now slide in the foliage slices as shown in the diagram below.

Foliage Assembly for the Pop Up Apple Tree Card

Slot the trunk tabs into the base for the apple tree pop-up

Now test the opening and closing of your base to make sure your pop-up is working as intended. Make any adjustments necessary now before you move on to the next step.

Test the opening and closing (and folding) of your apple tree pop-up

Glue the two pieces of white 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock to the underside of either half of your base to form the card.

Glue white card stock to either side the base of your apple tree pop-up

Finally, add the two pieces of 9.5″ x 12″ cardstock to the outer sides of the card for a more decorative look. I used a Cricut Acess image to cut “MOM” into the cover of my card stock before applying it.

Glue a decorative cover onto your apple tree pop-up

And that’s how you make a sliceform apple tree pop-up card! The cutting is really the most time-consuming part of this project—assembly is about 30 minutes tops. If all that seems like too much time to you, it may be better to buy a laser-cut and pre-assembled version from one of the commercially available pop-up card stores, such as LovePop.com. It won’t look the same, but they have their own fun designs.

Fill out this form to get the password with the free SVG files:

Get my free SVG cut files for the pop-up apple tree card

Subscribe (free!) to get access to my resource library with all my free cut files, printables, and patterns! Once subscribed, I will send you a newsletter with details about my new free files each week.

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If you make one of these, please do email me and tell me — I love to see your creations! And, as always, let me know if you have any questions.

To inspire you to try this, here is a photo of a gorgeous pop-up cherry tree made from these files by a reader, Mary Ann Penn:

Pop Up Cherry Tree by Mary Ann Penn

Here is a photo from another reader, Elizabeth Nessmith, who had a little fun with her apple blossoms during assembly!

Apple Tree Card by Elizabeth Nessmith  Apple Tree Card by Elizabeth Nessmith

Love,

JenniferMaker.com

Like this tutorial? Please share it with your friends and pin this post to your favorite craft board!

DIY Pop-Up Apple Tree Card Tutorial

Learn how to make a pop-up apple tree card using 3D Sliceform with this step by step tutorial and free SVG cut file from Jennifer Maker. #cricut #cricutmade #cricutmaker #cricutexplore #svg #svgfile

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95 Comments

    1. The finished card is 12″ high by 9.5″ wide. So it’s pretty large for a card. You could go smaller if you reduced all the files by the same amount, though it may be hard to make all those cuts even smaller on the Cricut. I am not sure.

      1. Thank you so much for this set of cut files. This was exactly what I was looking for. I started looking for a Christmas tree and found your site. Thanks again.

  1. OMG! I always wanted to make one of these since I first saw the love pop cards. You are amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the beautiful card! This is awesome. I also appreciated the info on the Cricut import. Couldn’t figure out why the detail didn’t show! Happy crafting!

      1. I was able to cut out the base and the trunk. I can’t get the leaves to cut. I can add the image but when I go to cut all the little cutouts are on a separate page. I tried attaching them but DS3 keeps freezing. I have tried Firefox and Chrome. I also tried Design Space and it says the image is too large. I have cleared my cache and restarted browser,, etc. and still no go. Any suggestions! I am so close!

        1. Hello, Kathy! Yes, this morning I uploaded the individual elements in a ZIP file — I recommend you try uploading those, as they will be smaller. Look in my resource library for the “Pop-Up Apple Tree Card SVG Files (Individual Elements)” file and try uploading the individual things you need one at a time. Let me know if this works for you please!

        2. I am having the same problem. The leaves are not on the tree tops. They are on a separate page when I hit GO

          1. Hello, Bee! As I mentioned in the tutorial, you need to click Select All and then click Attach before you click Go. Please try that and let me know if you have any issues. 🙂

        3. I ignored the “website is not responding” pop ups. Everytime I did click on it, what I was waiting for popped up! I also made the page with the 4 white…..blossoms pieces into two separate cuts. Those 2 things helped me A LOT. FYI: I spent a week trying to nail this one!

  3. I have downloaded the template. When I upload it, do I need to do any resizing? I watched your you tube video and it didn’t state the size of the images. So excited to try this project – thank you so much for sharing!1

    1. Hello, Sarah! No, I do not — the design on the front is just something I found in Cricut Access in Design Space. It did not make it. Sorry!

  4. Beautiful. I am cutting now. I had to go with the single images to get it to cut. Just checking- do I cut 2 of each pattern for the blossoms or 3 of each? I keep looking at the pictures and I am unclear? Thank-you.

      1. clarification….. there are 6 total. 1 is a bit bigger, 1 is in 2 pieces, an 4 are a bit smaller.

    1. Thank-you. I have cut out and am starting to assemble but… I do not have the piece of foliage separated in 2 halfs. I can see this piece in the file for the pop up card with all the files in one but it is not included in the individuals file which I had to use to get my machine to cut. Am I missing something or am I to cut a piece in half?

      1. It looks like I neglected to put that file into that zip file — so sorry! (There are now so many versions it’s getting hard for me to keep track of.) I uploaded a new “individuals” zip file with that missing file included (it’s called “apple-tree-branches2-individual-jennifermaker.svg”).

        1. I thought it was me, lol. Glad to see it wasn’t! Thank you for getting that file uploaded so quickly. I have every other piece cut, and I’m already in love!

  5. Hi Jennifer, Thank you again for this file. I am still learning the cricut, when I cut the tree flowers it is ripping my paper. Is there a way to slow down the blade to be more delicate or am I doing something wrong? I’ve tried recollections card stock and sharpening the blade. Thanks

    1. Hello, Shawna! It sounds like your mat isn’t sticky enough. Use your stickiest mat, make sure it is clean, and try again. I used a nearly-new StandardGrip mat. It makes all the difference.

  6. Hello, I love this card but I am having the hardest time cutting it out with the cricut. It cuts half of the image and then spits it out. Is there anyway to get the parts and pieces individually instead of together? I think the images are to complex and the cricut just gives up. Or any other tips to get it to cut?

    1. Also if the small pieces can be attached before loading it in to design space that might work better as well. Thanks so much!!

      1. If you use the “less-nodes” version of the files, they are all pre-attached. Have you tried that version yet? I made it specifically for folks with issues like yours. 🙂

    2. Hello, Jolene! Are you using the original files, the less-nodes files, or the individual files? Also, are you leaving your Design Space window open the whole time it is cutting and not moving to another application or web site? Thanks!

      1. OH MY GOSH! If only I would have read your very clear instructions a week ago!! lol!! Ugh I am mad at myself haha! Thank you SOOOO much! My cricut is humming along cutting out this awesome card right now. 🙂 Thanks again, you are wonderful!

  7. Yes!!!!! It’s taken me a week of non stop fiddeling, but it’s MADE!!! I WIN!!! It’s beautiful! BUT I doubt I’ll ever ake another one, so the next step is where and how t display it in my craft room……already have ideas…….

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!

      1. I do have one. would you like me to upload it here? if so how. I have a funny one ( that only someone who has had trouble with is going to chuckle at) too.)

  8. Help, it looks like my sizes for the leaves are wrong. can I have the exact size for the leaves and the tree trunk.

    thank you
    Lena

    1. Hello, Lena! All the files will upload at the right size, so you could just re-add it. If that is not an option, I can give you the dimensions, but I need to know which of the four ZIP files you downloaded (original, individual, less nodes, or simple). Thanks!

      1. I seem to be having the same problem. The two larger leaves seem to be larger than the four identical ones. I downloaded the nodes version. Can you give the dimensions of the cut leaves that are glued to the trunk first?

        1. Ok, the larger leaves should indeed be larger than the four identical ones. This is necessary to achieve the rounded look of the tree branches. I measured the cut leaves that are glued to the trunk and they are 4.705 in. wide by 3.1256 in. high. The side leaves (four identical) should be 4.2537 in. wide by 2.7547 in. high. (These are the dimensions of the objects in Illustrator. It turns out the dimensions are different once imported into Design Space.)

          1. Hmm, something is weird here. In Illustrator, where I designed it, the branches are 4.7 in. wide. When the file is uploaded to either DS2 or DS3, it is ENLARGED to about 6.5 in. I just checked my finished tree and those branches are 6.5 in wide, too. I didn’t measure what cut out vs. what I designed because everything fit together fine. I don’t know why Design Space is enlarging it — I’ve not encountered this before. It’s possible it has something to do with the complexity of the file. Anyway, the files I uploaded are the ones I used and they are working fine. So it’s probably best to ignore the measurements and just cut it out. It does all fit together. 🙂

        2. I have the same problem…though I figured it out after I assembled it. My 2 half pieces and the other branch “flowers” were both sized to fit the tree. Unfortunately, the 4 extra foliage, though all are the same size, are a bit bigger than the others, so they skew the tree and won’t fold. I could try to recut those 4 pieces, but the weeding about killed me. I’m using a once used cricut standard Mat, with cricut card stock and a new blade, but most flowers cut 85% around, forcing me the hand cut the remaining. Any suggestions?

          1. Hi there! If Design Space is giving you problems with processing the design, you might try looking at the other download options I have for this that aren’t as detailed. This is a very memory intensive design for a lot of computers.

  9. I made this card the tree and sent it to my mother-in-law and when she got it it fell apart and wouldn’t even stand up what weight card stock do you use for each piece. Very disappointed I would like to make another one.

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! Was it opening and closing okay when you made it, before you sent it? I used Core-dinations Solid Core Cardstock. I don’t know what weight it is. Did you include the bridge piece under the trunk? Or did you change the size?

      1. I did use the bridge and did every thing by following instructions I am just wondering if I need to use heaver or double up the trunk of the tree and lighter card stock for the leaves

        1. How heavy was the cardstock you used for the trunk? The leaves do need to be fairly lightweight — thats why I have so many cut-outs in my design. If the leaves are too heavy, it won’t want to stand up on its own. I had one reader make the leaves without the blossoms, and it wanted to fall over because it was too heavy.

          1. What weight of paper did you use for each cutout it would sure help I want to make another one it was fun making it.

  10. Ya I guess I will try it again with lighter and heaver paper I guess it is a learning curve

  11. So I am wondering if the files are sized correctly right out of the folder? I am doing the less nodes one. Or is there a size I should resize too? Because the bigger foliage seems to be much to big for the small foliage? And the tree trunk seems to be the same?

    1. That’s a good question, Rena. After I made this project, I discovered that some of my design sizes were being changed simply by the act of opening and reserving the files. I didn’t know this at the time I made this project. I just looked at the less nodes version, and I see that the large foliage was too large. So I resized it and reuploaded it to the library. So sorry! I’m glad you noticed. I am keeping an eye on this now that I know it can be an issue.

  12. This is really amazing! A lot of work went into it. Thanks for sharing it with SYC.. I’m sure it’s not intentional, but I’m not seeing a link back to the party.
    Jann

  13. Oh, wow. i wish I had the patience for making pop up cards. This is really neat. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight Pinned & sharing.

  14. I have been admiring those beautiful pop cards for months! I’m so surprised and thrilled to see one in your Resource Library. I’m going to have to change my blade before I give it a try, but it’s definitely going on my “at least try” list.
    Thank you so much for sharing such a fabulous creation. I hope you do explore this type of design. Would absolutely LOVE to see more of them.

  15. OMG your work is seriously amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing so much that you do! It is inspiring!!!! 🙂

  16. How I want to take you’r class but it will have to wait as I am traveling for the next 2 months.
    I am very creative but have a difficult time with technology, at 76 is that not surprising! I do have a couple of Cricut machines and would love to make use of them with my designs.
    I will be in touch when I return to the US to check on your next class schedule. In the mean time thanks for sharing.
    Pauline.

  17. Hi Jennifer, I started working on your pop-up apple tree card at the King County Library MakerSpace in Bellevue, WA. My first attempt of the flowers resulted in shredded flowers. I think because the paper available wasn’t the same quality as your recommendation. Second attempt mostly worked. I found a better paper and changed the blade. There was a bit of paper separation at the edges in a couple spots. The gals at Michael’s insisted that all cardstock is the same. Uhh…maybe I’m a paper snob, but I’m pretty sure there are quality differences amongst various cardstock. There are differences with painting and drawing papers.

    Tried to track down the Core’dinations paper locally, no luck. I’ll have to order some instead.

    I’m interested in your design process using Adobe Illustrator. I’d like to make my own SVGs to score/print/cut in Cricut Creative Studio.

    Thank you for sharing and posting regularly to your blog.

  18. I just AW THIS INCREDIBLE CARD AND COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES, I DO NOT OWN A CRICUT BUT TRULY ENJOYED JUST SEEING THIS CARD. JENNIFER YOU ARE ONE TALENTED LADY. I WILL BE FOLLOWING YOUR POSTS FROM NOW ON AS YOU HAVE INSPIRED ME WITH SOME OF YOUR OTHER WORKS OF ART. ooopsey, caps were on. Sorry. Keep em coming. you are the very best out there. Thank you so very much for all you do.

  19. I am speechless. This card is awesome, beautiful, sweet and incredible. Thank you so much for sharing. You’ve just made my day 🙂

  20. Hi Jeniffer, it is so beautiful!!! I for sure want to make it. Love your tutorials on You tube, learned a lot of it. Please don’t pay attention to my language, I’m Dutch.

  21. This is brilliant!
    I can’t wait to try!
    Thank you so much for all these wonderful blog entries and SVG’s and tutorials and EVERYTHING!!

  22. I just wanted tom thank you so much I have made this card and a few others as well I have looked though a lot of sites and I just could not follow them but your site is the best again Thank you…

    1. Oh, Linda, thank you so much! And THIS is not an easy project to make! Glad you hung in there!! 🙂

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