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Apr 23, 2009

How to Make Pop Up Cards Floating Tabletop with Supports - Lesson 23

Floating Tabletop Pop Up Card with I-Beam Supports

floating tabletop pop up card

When the card is opened 180°, a flat platform appears to float above the card. It is supported by I-beams (a support that flares out at the top and bottom, in the shape of an upper case I).

Very useful for popping up things with wings. Birds...a bat...a angel...winged heart. I've seen a hand that opens to reveal a butterfly. Examples are pretty scarce on the 'net. Anyone seen one?

Tutorial Level of Difficulty: Medium

How to make an I-beam supported, rectangular floating tabletop pop up card.
Prepare tabletop. 

Cut out a rectangular tabletop and fold it in half. Open up the tabletop and flip it, if necessary, so the fold is a mountain fold. Measure halfway down from the top of the table and draw a horizontal guideline.

Prepare base card.

How to determine the card size: Height must be greater than the table height. Width must be greater than (half the width of the table) + (the height of the I-beam). The height of the I-beam is the amount you want the table to float above the card.

Fold card in half. Measure halfway down from the top of the card and draw a horizontal guideline.
When the design is finished, the center fold on the tabletop will line up with the center fold of the base card.

Make three I-beams.

You will usually want the I-beams to be the same color as your card base so they disappear into the background. The exception would be if the I-beams were part of the card design: legs on a table, for example.

--Figure your I-beam measurements and cut out the pieces. The length of the I-beam is the height you want the table to float above the card, plus the two tabs. Let's float our table 2" above the card. Add a 1/4" tab on each end. Total height is 2.5". The width of the I-beam is twice whatever width will fit on the pieces you are floating. With a rectangular tabletop the width measurement is very flexible, so just let's cut something convenient, like 2".

--Score and fold. Score the tabs and fold all in the same directon. Score and fold the I-beam in half along its length.

Angle cut the tabs.

--Assemble the I-beams. Open up the folded I-beam and spread glue inside. Do not get glue on the tabs. Fold back together and allow to dry.

Attach I-beams to the tabletop.

Spread glue on the tabs on one end of one I-beam. Glue the I-beam to the center of the tabletop. The center fold of the table aligns with the seam between the tabs. The tabs are centered on the horizontal guideline.

Glue one I-beam on each side. Placement will be determined by the shape of your "tabletop." Here, I have placed them all the way at the edge of the tabletop. The seam between the tabs should be vertical (parallel to the center fold of the table).

Allow to dry.

Attach I-beams to card base.

Spread glue on the tabs of the center I-beam.

Glue the I-beam into the fold of the base card, aligning the seam and the fold vertically.

Push the tabletop to one side, folding it in half. Flip the (visible) side I-beam toward the center of the card. Spread glue on the tabs of the I-beam.

Slowly close the card. The I-beam will "find its own place."

Allow to dry briefly. Flip the card over, open it and glue the other side I-beam in the same manner.

Let dry.

Top view of the open pop up card.

Here's one I made with a printable airplane from Iceberg paper models. The narrow tips of the wings are too small to place the side I-beams there. I moved them near the center of the wings. When the card is closed the wings fold up into the center.

airplane pop up card

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