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Aug 31, 2012

Ecole Pop Up Tutorial


I started with a vintage French school room graphic from Agence Eureka to make this challenging ecole pop up card.

school pop up card

If you don't read French the site can be a little daunting to search. You may find her Flickr photostream easier to navigate. Lots to love!

How to make the school room pop up card

Print the PDF1 and PDF2and3 on card stock. I used heavy (110 lb) index stock for all, but I think it would work better to use the heavy stock for page 1 and a lighter stock for the rest.

Making the background

On the school room piece (page 1), score and crease the intersection of the wall and the floor.

school pop up card

Trim off the white edges of the cardstock.

Notice the color-lightened rectangles on the base card. These are glue points.


Before you start construction

Score page 2, referring to score/cut guide shown below. Red and green lines are score lines. Do not cut pieces yet! Some pieces are cut apart after they are assembled.

school pop up card

On page 3, score the dotted brown lines on the tiny tabs on the students. Cut out students and teacher.

school pop up card

Bend up the tabs on the students. DO NOT GLUE THE TABS. Glue each pair together, back-to-back.

school pop up card

Assembling the teacher desk

From page 2, cut out the teacher pop up box (piece #1), box lining (piece #2) and desk (piece #3). Heavy black lines on the score/cut guide are cutting lines.

Mountain fold the green lines, valley fold the red lines.

Glue the longer piece into a box.

school pop up card

Optional: glue the shorter piece inside the box, matching short and long sections. (When I made this card I didn't like that the white inside of this box was somewhat visible when the card was finished.)

school pop up card

Turn the box so the doubled parts are to the back and bottom, as shown. Adhere the box to the card, under the window, matching to the glue points.

school pop up card

Adhere the top desk tab to the glue point on the window, aligning fold of desk tab to the brown line at the top of the glue point. The tab should be pointing down toward the floor. Do not adhere front tab to floor yet.


Flip the desk piece up, out of the way, for now.

Glue the teacher to the front of the pop up box.

school pop up card

Close the card, weight it, and allow to dry for a couple minutes.

Open the card. Pull the desk down and thread it under the teacher's arms. Glue front desk tab to the floor, matching tab fold line to front outline of the plain brown square. Slowly close the card and let the tab "find its own place." Let it shift a little forward or backwards if it needs to.

school pop up card

Close card, weight, allow drying time.

Construct the student desk pop up mechanism

Cut out the desk box set (piece #4) and cut the three strips apart.

Glue the strips into three separate boxes.

school pop up card

Construct the student leg boxes (piece #5). First, cut out the entire piece #5 only around the perimeter. DO NOT CUT THIS PIECE APART YET.

Fold and glue the piece into a long box. Allow to dry.

school pop up card

Cut the piece apart.

You will have three boxes to keep (the yellow ones) and two to discard (the white ones).

Slide a student leg box into each desk box. Align the bottom of the leg box to the lighter yellow box on the bottom of the desk box. Match the top of the leg box to the faint black lines on the top of the desk box. Adhere. Check that the pieces are still aligned. These need to be precise!

school pop up card

Glue the students to the boxes. The body of the student sits right over the faint black line on the desk box.

Spread the tabs out and glue to the top of the desk box. Use a tiny bit of glue to stick the student's legs to the leg box.

school pop up card

You will want to slide the students back on the desk boxes. Not so far that they are extending past the backs of the benches, but a little further back than I have this boy. (He didn't fit under the desk as well as he should have and I had to trim his lap down a bit.)

school pop up card

Before the glue dries completely, turn each desk set so the students are facing toward your left. Test that the pop up boxes will flatten toward you.

school pop up card

See blue-coat boy at the top right? He needs to slide back so his knees touch the bench!

Adding the desks to the card

Glue the desk tops to the wall the same way you did the teacher desk. Align the creases of the desk tabs with the brown lines at the tops of the glue points. The tabs should be pointed down, toward the floor. Flip the desk tops up, out of the way.

school pop up card

Glue the student desk boxes into the card. Each box glues to the floor and wall of the classroom, to the corresponding glue spots. You don't need to glue the bottom of the student leg box because it moves with the desk box.

Pull down the desk tops and thread them under the students' arms. Glue the front tabs of the desks to the floor, matching the brown lines of glue points to the folds of the tabs. Glue one at a time, checking for alignment after each one. Again, the tabs will find their own place, which should be very close to the printed glue spots.

school pop up card

Glue the entire card into a backing card. (I used black.) Decorate front as desired.

school pop up card

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