How to Use a Pop Up Box Card Die

Pop up box card dies allow you to make the amazing 3D cube box cards without any need for measuring, scoring and cutting yourself. Although I can make my own pop up box card designs from scratch, having a die that does it for you is very neat.

See how to use a pop up box card die with my step by step photo tutorial and written instructions. I'll be demonstrating how it all works with my free box card die that came with my Die Cutting Essentials magazine on subscription.

Other dies by companies and brands such as Spellbinders, We R Memory Keepers, Lawn Fawn, Tattered Lace and others work in a similar fashion but come in slightly different designs and sizes. Once you know how to use one die, it should be easy to construct any.

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How to Use a Pop Up Box Card Die to Make Stunning 3D Cube Style Cards

How to Use a Pop Up Box Card Die to Make Stunning 3D Cards Tattered Lace, Lawn Fawn, Spellbinders, Die Cutting Essentials Magazine issue 51 Paper Craft Cardmaking CraftyMarie

Not so long back, I showed you how to score and fold your own pop-up box cards using a single sheet of paper. I supplied all the measurements and detailed instructions for both A4 and Letter sizes of paper.

That isn't all that hard to do once you have made a few. But what's even easier is using a pop-up box card die that does all the scoring and cutting for you using a die cutting machine such as a Big Shot by Sizzix.

How lucky I was to get this cute little pop-up box card die with Die Cutting Essentials magazine issue 51. You may have got exactly the same die and are wondering how it all works. Let me take you through how to use this and other dies to create these 3D cards much faster.

Step 1: Your Pop Up Box Card Die

Die Cutting Essentials magazine issue 51 with free pop up box card mini dies set card making crafts

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

Quite a few craft companies and brands now do a pop-up box card die. Spellbinders, We R Memory Keepers, Lawn Fawn, Tattered Lace are just a few. Some of them can cut and score everything in one go and others, like this freebie with Die Cutting Essentials issue 51, require a little more assembly.

This die style needs a little bit more work than some others but it is still easy and fast to use. Simply put, if you can work out how to use this die using my step by step tutorial below, other pop-up box dies should be even easier.

Die Cutting Essentials is one of my all-time favorite craft magazines and they normally have some fab dies included. Issue 51 gives you what you need to make cute, mini box card as well as some very handy little dies to decorate it with. I love the DIY tool dies included and will be using those for other projects.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Main Box Area

Using the pop-up box card die to cut out the main part of the handmade card

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

The free Die Cutting Essentials die, and possibly some other unbranded dies, will cut and score 1 panel of the box card shape for you. This means that you will need to cut out 4 of these shapes (using the section of metal die above) to make the basic box card shape. Other pop up box card dies may require you to cut 2 pieces to make your basic box card or even just the 1.

The Spellbinders Scalloped Pop Up Box Die S5233 (also at works in the exact same way as this Die Cutting Essentials one and needs 4 cuts to make each side of the box. It comes with some fancy edges.

We R Memory Keepers Pop Up Die Set Gift Box Card Maker 663082 is cut in one piece and you simply need to fix the end flap to the inside of the box.

The Lawn Fawn Scalloped Box Card Pop Up (also at is cut in two main parts to make the basic box card. It has a wider front and back section with narrow sides so the overall shape is a little different.

So each die you get can works slightly differently. However, the basic premise for construction is similar. You'll simply have more assembly and sticking if you need to cut 4 box parts instead of 1.

If your die is different to the one I'm demonstrating with, I recommend reading through to the end and looking at all the step by step photos so you get a feel for how the basic construction works.

Step 3: Folding the Score Lines on Your Cut Piece(s)

Scoring and folding all the die cut parts for the pop up box card craft

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You want to fold all the score lines except 1. A pop up box card usually has one tall section at the back of the box shape while the other 3 sides have the "top box flaps" folding down.

So fold all the thin side flaps inwards - they will be on the inside of the box card when glued together. And fold 3 of the large "top box flaps" outwards - these will hang down on the outside of the box card.

I like to use my bone folder tool to get a nice crisp fold line.

Step 4: Sticking Together the Pop-Up Box Card

Sticking Together the Pop-Up Box Card Using double sided tape on the side flaps

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The main box shape comes together by sticking all the box card pieces together. In this case, we have 4 box pieces that need sticking. You may have two die cut pieces or just 1 piece that is stuck back onto itself on the inside.

Placing glue or double-sided tape down each thin side flap. Then stick the side flap onto the inside of the next die cut section. In the photo you can see I'm about to stick the flap inside the next die cut piece.

Note that all the pieces are stuck together so that the "top box flaps" are all hanging down in the same direction. If you view the next image, you will get an even clearer idea of how the 4 die cut pieces start coming together.

Step 5: Main Pieces of the Box Card Almost Assembled

Main Parts of the Box Card Almost Assembled

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This photo allows you to form a better picture of how the different die cut pieces of the pop up box die are all stuck together.

If you had 4 pieces, as with the die I am demonstrating, you will have to stick them all individually. If you had 2 die cut pieces, you would only be sticking 2 parts together at this point.

And if you had just one die cut piece, well you got lucky with the sticking! But one piece should look similar laid out flat like this as well.

Step 6: Main Pop Up Box Card Assembled

Showing the way the die cut pop up box card is assembled and stuck together

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To transform the flat die cut section into a 3D box or cube, simply stick the last narrow side flap or tab onto the inside of the opposite side. Basically gluing each end together. Once stuck, you can squish the sides to make box shape.

You can still fold this flat again and it folds up flat (or almost flat depending on embellishments used) for posting or placing into an envelope.

Step 7: Cutting Out Inner Box Card Tabs / Strip Inserts

Cutting Out Inner Box Card Tabs die cut set

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Most pop-up box card die sets (but not all) will have a thin rectangular die that looks a little like the one shown in the photo above.

When cut, this piece makes a thin rectangle with two scored ends which you fold in the same direction.

You want to cut 2 or 3 of these tabs or strip inserts. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole project. These rectangular tabs are placed inside the box at the top. You will see exactly where in the next photo. They are there to allow you to stick things to the card at different depths. This gives a lovely 3D effect.

Step 8: Adding the Inner Box Card Tabs / Strip Inserts

Adding the inside tabs to the pop up box card die set craft card making

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

For a smaller box card die like this one, adding 2 tabs or strip inserts inside is more than enough for me. On larger designs, I can easily add 3 or more.

I find it easier to add glue dots or clear adhesive Zots to the end flaps. You can also use a double-sided tape which is tricky at this smaller sizing. Alternatively, use a wet glue which will allow for more repositioning but it will take longer to dry and fasten.

Put your choice of adhesive onto the end of a strip insert and stick it at one side of the box card on the inside. Line the insert up with the top edge of the box card, thin edge of the strip facing up and wide edge facing sideways.

Next, carefully position the sticky end of the strip insert on the opposite side of the card and stick that down in place. You may need to refer to the photo above to get an idea of what this looks like.

You need 2 or 3 inserts going across the inside of the box card with roughly equal gaps between each one. When finished, you should still be able to fold this card flat.

Step 9: Starting to Decorate the Bottom of Your Box Card

Brown pop up box card and square die cut red card pieces to decorate the bottom

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Some of the die cutting sets give you the cutting dies so you can quickly cut out inner panels of card of paper to decorate the bottom of your box card and also the flaps that hang down. Lawn Fawn does this with their scalloped pop-up design but Spellbinders doesn't with their scalloped die set.

It was great of Die Cutting Essentials to also include the inner panel dies to do this because it makes decorating your finished card a breeze.

First, fold your card flat to make the job of decorating it much easier.

Cut out 3 square panels - or panels to fit the bottom of your specific box card. You only need 3 unless you also wish to add paper on the back of your card design. I prefer to leave the back of my pop-up box card blank in order to write a greeting out.

Add your cut panels of paper along the bottom of the card. Sometimes, I will also ink around the edges of the cut paper with a slightly darker color to add some further dimension to the look.

Stick the paper panels in place. If you love to be neat and accurate, use my double-sided tape mounting technique because this means you will line up all the paper panels perfectly.

Step 10: Adding Paper and Decorating the Top Box Flaps

Adding patterned Hunkydory High Street papers to the brown handmade pop up box card design

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

I loved the little DIY tool dies that were also supplied with this particular die cut set so I decided to use them and make a Dad card for Father's Day. The Hunkydory High Street paper pad had a couple of perfect DIY papers inside to decorate the box with.

Using the rectangular shaped inner die with my set, I strategically cut pieces from the papers to decorate the box flaps and also the top of the card. Again, I recommend using my double-sided tape technique to stick your papers on perfectly.

Step 11: Adding Toppers and Embellishments to Your Pop Up Box Card 

Die Cutting Essentials Magazine Issue 51 and Finished Handmade Pop Up Box Card DIY Dad Father's Day Tools Men Man

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

The free dies included made perfect little embellishments and were very handy to decorate my pop up box card design. I added the die cut pieces to the inner strips of the card as well as to the outside of the card.

I go into a lot more detail on exactly how to decorate pop up box cards in my DIY card tutorial supplied HERE. Plus you will see further card designs.

Video Showing How to Make the LawnFawn Pop Up Box

The Lawn Fawn Scalloped Box Card Pop Up (also at is cut in two main parts to make the basic box card. It has a wider front and back section with narrow sides so the overall shape is a little different. However, the video tutorial allows you to see the overall process that is used to make these die cut cards.

Step 12: Completed Die Cut Pop Up Box Cards

Completed Dad DIY Pop Up Box Card Die Cut Cards Fathers Day Men Man Handmade Craft

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

Here's this completed pop up box card. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The patterned papers by Hunkydory allowed me to coordinate the look along with the die cut tools.

I used die cut alphabets to add Dad and DIY on the box. My Quickie Glue Pen with a fine nib (also at makes it very easy to stick letters and fine die cut pieces down.

Die cutting essentials issue 51 completed pop up box card pink flowers ladies women birthday cards design

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

Here's the other handmade card I made using this die set. For this I used card and pop out embellishments by Hunkydory from their Florabunda range.

Because the brown card I used for the box had beautiful gold swirls, I decided not to add paper over the bottom of the design. Why cover the gorgeous swirls up.

I used a pretty selection of pastel colored pink and blue flowers and butterflies along with a ribbon bow and stick on gems to create the look. I'm really happy with this birthday design.

Two Floral flower Birthday pop up box cards made by hand crafted card making cardmaking pink pastels blue women ladies her

Image Credit: photo belongs to the author.

This photo highlights the size difference between a card made with the free die cut set and one which I scored and cut by hand from an A4 sheet of paper.

As with many of these box card dies, the finished design comes up a little small. In many cases that is so you can get the dies to cut in a standard sized die cutting machine. Otherwise you'd need a large or super sized machine which not everyone has the space for.

If you wish to make a larger design, check out my other box card tutorial that shows you how to score and cut your own design from a single sheet of card: A4 and Letter measurements all included for you for free.

While the die cut design is very cute and quick to put together it is too small for me to easily add in all the details that I normally like to. A larger design gives much more scope so I would still score and cut my own for more special occasion cards and use the die cut design for general birthdays.

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Articles are accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.