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Van Pop Up Card Tutorial

Halloween is coming, so I was inspired to transform a papercraft Mystery Machine van into a pop up card.

front view of van pop up card

I used a paper model by mikedaws and this other one by Gary Williams and Craig Griswold for reference.

From a technical point of view, this pop up card is a 180° Open Top Box  (for the van sides, front, and rear)

top view of open box pop up card

combined with a Tabletop Floating on Boxes  (for the van roof).

side view of floating table top pop up card mechanism

How to make a Scooby Doo inspired pop up
Make it!

How to make a van pop up card

--Print and Cut Pieces--

Download and print van on card stock. 

Score along lines shown in red on this scoring diagram.
Cut around the perimeter of the large van piece.

cut and score van pop up card

Decide whether you will use the dark windshield, or add "the gang." 
Cut out your chosen windshield.

I have not included printable images of the (licensed) characters in the front seat of the van.  You will need to add them yourself by printing a picture of the characters to fit the window opening.   I used this image, scaled to approximately 25% of size.  

Cut out the white part of the windshield (highlighted in yellow above).  Trim your picture to fit and adhere it to the back of the frame.

Discard the windshield you are not using.

--Assemble Base Card--

Cut a card base, 8" x 5.5 ".  Fold in half.  Adhere road to card inside.

road template for pop up card

--Construct Pop Up Mechanism--

Construct the two open boxes.  Crease each long strip into a rectangle and adhere closed, overlapping the tab and the end of the box.  I like to use tape runner rather than liquid glue as it does not weaken the fibers of the card stock.

assemble pop up mechanism

Adhere the boxes together along their long sides.

pop up boxes adhered

--Attach pop up boxes to van--

Crease the van along score lines.

crease van piece

 Draw guidelines on the back of the van between the black tabs.

draw guidelines

Push the center line of the roof down, inside the van, into a valley fold. 

valley fold roof

Flatten the van and run your fingers along the top of the van to set in the creases.

set creases in flattened van

Open the van out again.

open van pop up

Adhere the pop up boxes to the wrong side of the van, aligning edges with the lines you drew, and centering them on the center fold of the van roof.  (The center fold of the van runs vertically between the two arrows.)

pop up boxes on back of van

Apply adhesive inside the two guidelines you drew, and adhere the long sides of the boxes to the van sides (left-hand arrows).  Also fold down and adhere the black tabs to the short side of each box (right-hand arrows).

glue boxes to sides of van

If you have used liquid glue STOP and allow the glue to dry completely.  Wet glue weakens the fibers of the paper and will cause your pop up boxes to fail.

--Assemble the van-- 

Adhere the rear panel to the side with the tab.  Adhere the windshield at the front diagonals, using the windshield's two side tabs.  Adhere the front of the van to the side with the small tab.

Push the roof down inside, making the valley fold toward the inside of the van.  Be careful not to dislodge the windshield when you push the roof in.  The black tabs and feet of the pop up boxes will be visible at the bottom of the van.  Weight and let dry if you have used liquid glue.

adhere tabs of van

top view of assembled van

--Assemble the card--

Lay the van with the feet of the pop up boxes pushed into the crease of the base card.  Spread adhesive on the foot and black tab (shown in green).

glue one foot into card

Close the card carefully and, holding it firmly near the center fold, flip it over.

Open this side of the card.

Adhere the other foot in the same manner.

Close the card.  Put a weight on it and allow it to dry if you used liquid glue.

glue the other foot into card

side view of Mystery Machine

back view of van pop up card

Click here to download printable PDF files.  Files download for free. A huge thank you to the many readers who support my site with a small contribution. 

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