Make a 180º Open Twisted Crest OA/Kirigami Pop UP Card

Flower 180º Open Twisted Crest Pop Up Card
Flower 108º Open Twisted Crest Pop Up Card
Flower 108º Open Twisted Crest Pop Up Card

I have been having fun making these 180º open twisted crest style origamic architecture pop up cards. This is a clever technique and, I wanted to invite you to join in the fun.  This post includes patterns for my new Flower Crest design, suitable for production on a laser cutter, a craft CNC cutter or, by hand.

Most people will have to actually make one of these cards or watch the folding video to get how it works.  I originally spotted this technique used for several patterns in Keiko Nakazawa’s 2006 book 3D Pop-Up Greeting Cards (link in the resources section below) and, abstracted it to make my own designs. Rather than gluing to backing cards, I prefer to develop other approaches like what I have done here.

Flower Crest OA Backing Card Pattern
Flower Crest OA Backing Card Pattern

Flower Crest OA Card Pattern
Flower Crest OA Card Pattern

Machine Settings

Settings for your cutting machine, whether CNC or laser, will vary depending on your machine, the specific paper stock you are using and other factors.

The paper I used for my cards was 0.014″ thick 105lb cover stock.

On the Glowforge, I used a speed of 500 and power of 72 for the cut lines and a power of 18 for the mountain fold lines.  I scored the valley fold lines on the back by hand with a craft knife.  If you are a Glowforge user, you likely have some experience dialing in settings for a particular material. I color-coded the file so that the GFUI will separate and order the operations on import.

27 July 2019 update: I’m seeing less smoke deposition with lower power and slower speed.  I have switched to using 250 speed and 36 power.

My settings for each operation for the Gazelle cutter are in the MTC file as layer descriptions (D is depth setting on my adjustable blade holder, V is velocity and F is force). Those will probably be mostly useless unless you are also using a Gazelle cutter with an adjustable blade holder.  If you are a craft cutter user, you are likely used to sorting out settings for a given stock.  The layers are in the order you should cut them.  The last two layers are the backing card (one score and the cuts).

Pattern Files

Important: These files are for personal, non-commercial use only.  If you want to produce these to sell or for other business use, please contact me to arrange for licensing terms.

Attribution-Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Flower Crest Pop Up Card PNG (for cutting by hand)

Flower Crest Backing Card PNG (for cutting by hand)

Flower Crest Pop Up Card SVG (optimized for Glowforge)

Flower Crest Backing Card SVG

Flower Crest Pop Up Card MTC (for craft cutters)


MT Washi Masking Tapes, Set of 20, Bright & Cool Colors

(Also available in bright and cool half sets.)

Lil Chizler scraping tool

3D Pop Up Greeting Cards by Keiko Nakazawa

Glowforge Laser Cutter

Amazon referral links support a local arts organization. Glowforge referral link helps defray my costs of running the studio.

Viking Longship Origamic Architecture Card

Viking Longship Origamic Architecture Pop Up Card

This Viking longship OA/kirigami pop up card was some time in the making. I’m quite happy with it, especially the dragon head.

I made four custom rubber stamps for imprinting the sails (two dragons and two spirals, one for each orientation). The metallic ink takes a long time to dry (like a month). So, I embossed them with clear embossing powder and a heat gun. The tongue is painted red. Lots of fragile bits on these. So, they required careful handling.

Laser-cut Spiral Stamp

Lasercut spiral stamp mounted on champagne cork

Lasercut spiral stamp mounted on champagne corkOne thing that always appealed to me about having a laser cutter in the studio is being able to create rubber stamps as needed, rather than having to send artwork out to a service. I have some “low odor” laserable rubber on-hand that I have never used. So, as a quick evening project this week, I created this little spiral stamp on the new Glowforge. I mounted it on a champagne cork using carpet tape, with a layer of plastic packing foam between the rubber and cork.

Important lessons learned here include how to size artwork for the GFUI and, that you absolutely do not want the residue from laser engraving rubber on your hands.


Abstract Origamic Architecture Experiment on the New Glowforge

Abstract Origamic Architecture Experiment

This week saw the arrival of the long-anticipated Glowforge laser cutting machine at the I had it up and running in a couple hours, dialed in some settings for cutting some standard stock last night and, produced this quickie abstract origamic architecture / kirigami this afternoon.  I am super excited to have an easy-to-use laser available!

Hart of Winter

Hart of Winter 2016 holiday pop up card

The Hart of Winter is my 2016 holiday origamic architecture / kirigami / pop up card. The card is three pieces. The two silver pieces mount to the base with slotting tabs then, connect together via interlocking antlers. These were fun and relatively easy to build and, a big hit!

Garden Lantern Pop Up Card with Integrated Electronics

Garden Lantern OA

I have been making chicken tracks around integrating paper electronics with origamic architecture for several years.  This is my first presentable project along that line.

I’ve had a vague idea for a garden lantern OA for quite some time.  The electronics seemed like a solid match for this.  The lantern itself it is a single piece of stock, cut, scored, folded and joined on two edges to make a pop up. It is mounted on two additional flat base layers that incorporate and conceal the electronics.

This uses an integrated switch and has no externally-visible electronic components, which I haven’t seen in any other paper electronics projects elsewhere yet.

The closed card is 11cm by 16cm. The lantern is 4cm square at the base and ~5cm tall when opened.

Watch the video to see the candle flicker effect and, to see it folded flat.

The “ambient nocturnal background sounds” in the video is another one of my multi-track recording experiments.

Special thanks to Natalie Freed whose paper electronics class at HSL shortened my learning curve with the paper electronics stuff. Thanks also to Jie Qi for her inspiring projects and, to the team at Circuit Stickers whose efforts made my project a lot easier.

Hammering a Helical Heart

Hammering a Helical Heart

I made an edited build video for the Helical Heart pop up cards, including an original taiko soundtrack (well, pentatonic xylophone, mokogyo, bowl gong, bells and fish rasp, anyway). This is my first YouTube video and, my first multi-track audio recording.  Let me know what you think and, if you would want to see more stuff like this.

I made an edited build video for the Helical Heart pop up cards, including an original taiko soundtrack (well, pentatonic xylophone, mokogyo, bowl gong, bells and fish rasp, anyway). This is my first YouTube video and, my first multi-track audio recording. <a href=””>Let me know</a> what you think and, if you would want to see more stuff like this.


The Popup Card Shop is Live

XOXO Popup Card
XOXO Popup Card
XOXO Popup Card

I am not sure why I didn’t think to mention it when the new Popup Card Shop went live a couple months ago. It features pretty new photos of all of the commercial cards from Japan and, more relevant for this site, some of my designs, on sale for the fist time. You may remember the first one up from my post here last January on the Golden Spiral card (now available here). I added the quick design I did for the XOXO festival as a Valentine’s Day card in February.

I am slowly working on getting some of my older designs production-ready. So, look for more soon.

I’m also working on refining some production techniques and, on some other experiments. I’ll post more detail on those here eventually.

In the meantime, check out the Popup Card Shop and, let me know what you think!