Cardmaking with Dies: Photo Collage Birthday Card

hello it’s Karen Burniston here with my
monthly designer challenge video this is designer challenge 31 our theme this
month is in case you missed it and the idea is that we get to choose any
previous designer challenge as inspiration I chose my card from DC 23
picture.this I wanted to make a new photo collage pop-up this time using a
clear front mine is going to be a birthday card to celebrate my husband’s
50th coming up in a few days okay I decided I needed 50 candles for this
card so this is kind of a cool trick with the candle dies that come out of
the cake pop-up die set I put sharpie pen marks across the back of the die so
that I could quickly see where the candle part ends and the flame begins
and then I just make sure I put that sharpie pen mark right on the line
between my washi tape sections and just the plain cardstock so this is just
yellow cardstock with washi tape strips across it then I just make sure that I
always line those up I get those two-toned candles it goes pretty quickly
when you need to cut a lot of candles either for a card or maybe for a class
okay candles are cut and I cut more than 50 I’m using a clear front I want to be
able to glue some of them back-to-back around the clear so when I make a clear
front card I first figure out what I want the finished card to be so in my
case is five inches wide by six inches tall
did I leave three extra inch and a half panels out to the left and then
accordion fold those down so the math for this card would be nine and a half
inches by six and then I scored that at five inches six and a half and eight
inches measuring from the right my thick plastic front will get sandwiched in
between this section I’ve cut that to four and seven eighths by six okay that
leaves this section back here it actually just gets sealed closed so I’m
going to use my lineco neutral pH adhesive in my fine tip bottle we do
sell both of those items on our website my favorite thing is just to use some
bag clips then I can clip that section closed I don’t have to hold it while the
glue sets up I remove the liners from the plastic so it’s clear and then I
find that a dry adhesive is best when adhering the plastic
so I am going to use a strong tape runner and be very generous with it you
could also use a strong tape and then I want to line up the right edge of the
plastic with the edge of the card and then I just fold over that panel and
onto the front of the plastic so that will sandwich that plastic in between
the layers so that you don’t see the adhesive you get a nice clean look to
the clear front card I went stash diving and found an older
piece of balloon paper that seemed good for the theme so I’m going to panel the
inside of the card and then on the back of the card I’m just adding another
panel of card stock and that’s mainly just to balance the weight the pop-up
die I’m using today is our photo collage pop-up
okay from thick cardstock I’ve die-cut the pop up base and four of the arms and
I’m going to start with the base step one is to find the four dots that have
been pressed into the piece by the die and they’re pretty easy to see if they
are not easy to see you probably have the piece upside down so just make sure
that you’re looking at the front where you can easily see those dots okay you
take a pen and you mark the dot and then you draw an arrow outward from the dot
so for this top one it’ll be arrow left then the next one it’ll be mark the dot
in an arrow up then the next one mark the dot arrow down and the final one
mark the dot arrow to the right so you end up with arrows going in four
different directions and those are going to help us place those arm pieces a
little bit later I’m going to let the long arrows help me make two more pen
marks so I’m looking at a long arrow and I see where does it point to for that
outermost panel and it’s this corner right here so I just need a mark on the
back then I do the same with a long arrow at the bottom I look out where
does it point to that outermost corner then I want a little pen mark on the
back okay pen marks are done and it’s time to
train the folds now I’m gonna go ahead and mark the folds with a white colored
pencil on my piece that’ll make it show up easier on the video you don’t have to
do this step it’s just for the video but basically I want to start with the
vertical and the X folds okay so I’m going to turn it sideways and then fold
on that vertical to the back and give it a good pinch okay and now I want to work
those diagonal folds so I want to open the piece back up again and then fold on
the diagonal again to the back and then back up again then turn it do the other
diagonal to the back and then back up again okay now that those folds are
trained it’s going to be easier to get these little mountains to come up and
into the piece so you’re just looking to kind of carefully work the folds until
you can get those mountains to pinch and come into the piece as you close it so
see what’s happening they’re collapsing inward okay so that is all the training
that needs to be done before this gets attached inside the card so what I want
to do is open up my card and then I want to attach
only one side of the base so the sides that are going to get attached or the
solid ones right and left so not the ones with all of the arrows and the
marks on them you can use a strong tape for this or you can use a glue I’m going
to use my glue but remember that pen mark that I put on there that’s to
remind myself not to bring the glue or the tape all the way up to that edge so
I leave a section unattached okay so I want to now press that left side down so
that as I look through the hole in the middle of the piece that I can see the
centerfold of the card right through that hole I want to make sure I have
about a same amount top and bottom so I’m centering it and then I just want to
make sure that that vertical line is lined up over the centerfold of the card
as I press down that left side okay since I’m using glue I’m giving it a
press and just making sure it’s good and set before I move on
I’m not going to attach the right side yet so you can see that that’s still
unattached because now I want to focus on getting all of the spinner arms onto
my pop-up spinner arms have a tapered end and that tapered end is meant to
line up with the pop up base so if it doesn’t look like it lines up just flip
it over and then you’ll see that it will line up and actually I’ll throw a
post-it note here underneath that so you can see what I’m talking about the other
taper just lines up with the edge of the red so what I want to do is add my
adhesive I do recommend glue for this all over the dot and the arrow and then
the spinner arm is going to cover that all up and I’m going to use that tapered
edge to make sure that I get it straight and you can see it’s down a little bit
from the notch up a little bit from the fold so it’s kind of just sort of
centered in that space okay next arrow next spinner arm let me
just move my post-it note so that you can focus on what I’m focusing on I grab
another spinner arm I look at the taper and I flip it over if I need to so that
the taper matches the line the fold line that’s what I’m lining up with this time
so the adhesive goes all over the dot and the arrow now I can’t place my
spinner arm right down into that adhesive because I first have to make
sure that it’s underneath the section above so see I have to slide it in from
the side then get the taper down into the adhesive and I want to line it up
with the fold now it doesn’t have to be jammed down into
fold you can see I’ve just left a little bit of space there so that it doesn’t
you know jam in the fold but I just want to use that taper to make sure that it’s
nice and straight and going up vertically okay if I turn that card
around I basically just repeat the same exact two steps which are to add the
adhesive to the dot and the arrow figure out which way the taper lines up with
the edge of that red section okay and I can put my post-it note in there so you
can see lined up with the red section a little bit down from the notch a little
bit up from the bottom so basically just centered in the space and then my final
spinner arm goes on that last arrow so once again I’m just going to add my
adhesive to the dot and the arrow since this is a vertical arm I need to make
sure that I bring it in from the side so that it goes underneath that section
above and then just lining up the taper with the fold line making sure that’s
just a little bit above the fold so it will not bunch ok spinner arms are
attached so now I get to work my final two fold lines which are those little
horizontal folds for these sections here so I work that little horizontal fold to
bring these two sections towards the middle and then I can lift up and twist
to where I can get the notches attached to each other so that’s why I haven’t
attached that right side of the pop-up yet because it’s really difficult to get
those notches together if you’ve already attached the right side but now that the
notches are together I can go ahead and attach the right side okay so if I had
been using tape I would have already added it but I’m using glue so I need to
back fold my card so that I have access to that section to add the glue remember
I’m avoiding the section where the pen mark is so you can see my glue doesn’t
come all the way to the bottom I’ve left that little section right here with no
adhesive and then keeping my card flat and my notches completely together so
that’s important that I slide those completely together before I press down
that right side and since I’m using glue I’m being a little patient here just
kind of pressing that side down until I feel like the glue is set up okay the
first time I close my photo collage spinner I want to give it a little help
because I’ve had it in a kind of flat position while I’ve been assembling
so I put my fingers along the fold of the card and press up under those
mountains as I carefully close the card and that will get it spinning that first
time after that you won’t have to do that again unless you’ve really
flattened it down while decorating and then you may have to do that retraining
but now it should remember that spin those base sections that don’t have
adhesive will lift up as the card opens and closes that is by design so don’t
try to go in there and tack those down so this next step is optional it sort of
depends on how much weight you plan to put on the pop-up but I like to double
up the vertical spinner arms so I’m just going to go ahead and add a second one
behind the arms at the top and the bottom and that’s definitely just a
matter of personal preference but it can be helpful if you plan to kind of load
up your pop-up with a lot of photos and embellishments the die set comes with
two photo frames and two decorative rectangles and I’ve used those dies to
cut a bunch of decorative rectangles out of white and then for different colors
of photo frames now you can use any die-cutting machine that can accommodate
a wafer-thin die so I’ve used my Spellbinders platinum six for all of
this die-cutting today and what I’m going to do with the photo frames is
just go ahead and line them up over the top of those white rectangles they will
line up perfectly okay if you’re using photos you want little square photos
they can be an inch and a quarter square or an inch and 1/8 square and if you
want those inch and eighth photos easily you can print them at Walgreens using
their 4×4 collage print and I do have a full video tutorial for how to do that
and I will link it at the end of this video or you’ll find it on the product
page on our website for the photo collage pop-up with the Walgreens photos
you end up with a little border around your photo on the inside or you can size
them up and take that border away so that’s kind of your difference between
inch and an eighth and inch and a quarter okay so I framed all those cute
little photos of John and me and John and a couple of him when he was a kid
and now I’m going to start building my photo collage so I always like to start
with the two in the center so I add my adhesive to the pop-up platform and then
I’m going to lie up a photo onto that section I like to
line it up with the left straight edge so just right here and then I just stay
a little bit above the fold so that it won’t bunch in the fold and then I just
give it a test and make sure that it’s closing and opening nicely now I’ll add
the one directly across from that first one so the adhesive on the pop-up
platform and this time I’m going to line up with the right edge so that way I get
a little bit of a staggered look to those first two and again I’m staying
out of the fold so that when it closes down they have a little bit of room in
there moving on to the upper arm I want to throw a little post-it note or
something to protect my card while I add a little bit of a tape runner out on the
very end of that spinner arm now the reason I didn’t go straight to glue is
because I want a chance to be able to move the photo if I choose poorly I want
to have it far out on the arm and veered a little bit toward the right and that
way it has the opportunity to flip over slide past the first photo and then flat
onto the card so placement makes a difference with this one it has to be
able to clear the right side and the left side but then once I have a
position that I like I can carefully remove that and make it more permanent
by using glue and of course the safest is to do the post-it note and the tape
runner on all of the spinner arms to be able to test the location first but I
know on this bottom one as long as I do pretty much the opposite of what I did
on the upper one so this time low on the arm veered more towards the left I know
that it’s going to operate nicely so I can just go straight to glue on that one
so now right to left I go back to my post-it note and my test it with a tape
runner idea this time I’m going to make sure that I’m high up on the arm so that
it can slide down and not past the fold when it’s closed so just testing that
location making sure that I like it that it stays in the card when the card is
closed then I can make that permanent with glue
on the left arm again I do the opposite so now I want it to be a little bit
lower on the arm I’ve got my post-it note just to protect my plastic I got to
make sure that it stays out of the fold when the card is closed but also that I
have at least a corner that’s actually on the paper when the card is open or
else it can catch against this edge right here so that’s kind of important
on that left one that I go far enough inward toward the center on that arm so
that I stay away from creating a catch point I’ll add a photo to that bottom
first one just sort of diagonally in the corner and I used glue for this and then
I check it real quick because right here I could create a catch point if I make
the location of that photo such that that corner catches so I just have to
kind of watch the location on that it’s nice to have a clear card for this so I
can show you those potential catch points but also the ability to move
things so use glue and then work quickly to check things so that you have the
opportunity to move photos if they create a catch point here’s another good
example I avoided it sort of by accident but you can see how close that corner is
to catching on that other photo it’s not catching so it’s fine I don’t have to
move it but that’s just a good illustration of how you have to kind of
be willing with the photo collage to just find those locations where you
don’t create catch points okay now comes the fun of figuring out where to put the
rest of the photos and 50 candles on this card and one thing that I saw is
that I actually have room for a 9th photo on the photo collage by just
attaching it to that left photo on the bottom such that it will slide up and
still stay in the card when the card is closed so I kind of have to do that a
little bit in the closed position to keep it within the card and at this
point I’m just trying to make sure that my interior photo collage that I like it
and then I’m gonna start working on the outside of what I see through the clear
but for now I’m just making sure I have a really good functioning photo collage
on the inside okay so one of the things that I’m going to do is attach a couple
of the photos to the backs of the ones on the inside and that way those photos
will be visible through the clear front when the card is closed but they will
disappear when the card opens now that’s definitely something that you gotta
be doing a little guess ‘n check maybe you’re taping those in place temporarily
first to check the location make sure that you like it in the closed position
when it opens you don’t create a catch point that’s fine I can decorate that
with a candle but you see what I’m saying so you definitely have to kind of
go in and find locations the best is when you can find a spot where very
little of the photo actually hangs off the edges because then you know you’re
not creating a new catch point you’re just doing some decorating so the best
most safest option is to find locations like this where that photo mostly just
fits on the back so it covers up some white you’re going to see it when the
card is closed you’re not going to see it when the card opens except for maybe
a little corner somewhere and that’s just a great spot for one of those 50
candles okay so here’s the front of the card all done you can see all the fun
layers anything I added to the front of the plastic I added the same shape to
the back I am gonna write in that white space on the left over here on the right
I’ve got spots for more candles because I discovered 50 candles is a lot so I’m
gonna repeat that kind of element and get my final 12 put somewhere okay I
figured it out so I’ve got two more photo frames on the right side of the
card holding 8 of the candles and then the final four are up attached to the
top photo up there so I did find a spot for all 12 it was a little tricky though
I used our alphabet die set to spell out the word 50 on the front of the card and
then use the number set for the 50 on the inside of the card I’m going to
hand-deliver my card but of course it could be mailed an a7 envelope would
work perfectly for this one the finished card measures 5 by 6
all of the dies that I used today can be found at and if
you want direct supply links they are in the description box below you will also
find a link to the blog post and that’s where you can see this card as well as
all of the “in case you missed it” cards by our very talented international
design team thanks for watching if you click on the website link you’ll go to where you can find out information about purchasing these
dies as well as links to all my other social media accounts you can subscribe
to this YouTube channel and check out some of my other videos thanks so much
for watching and I’ll see you next time

About the author


  1. What a fabulous card for our Hubby's 50th Birthday – Happy Birthday to Him as well – TFS this video! I always have trouble using clear acrylic and plastic – I either get glue on them or finger prints – do not know how to clean that up – any suggestions? Thanks for all the videos and products!

  2. I love your card! It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen! I must get these dies. Thank you so much for all the tips, especially the candle cutting idea.๐Ÿ˜„

  3. Love your demonstration and how you explain in details. Got this photo collage die set two weeks ago. ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  4. Hola
    Hermosa tarjeta de 50 aรฑos
    Intentare realizar una parecida para mi nuevo รกlbum de fotos
    Saludos desde Colombia

  5. I can't sure what size of runner bands are best for the pop up balls anyone have suggestions of what works best? I'd appreciate your input

  6. Wow. What a unique idea. Going to put both die sets to work. Thanks so much. Love your dies and videos.

  7. Happy Birthday John! Karen, I love this, and have had this on my wish for a while now. ๐Ÿค” I need to go a purchase this now. Lol. Thanks for the tutorial, excellent! Crafty Hugs. Xx

  8. OH. MY. GOODNESS!! I love this!! AND I own the die set already! I'm going to make one for my Mom's birthday next week. She will FLIP!! Thank you for sharing your creativity with us!!

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