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Card Craze Pops Up : * Classes teach crafters how to decorate and construct multilevel announcements and seasonal greetings.

March 25, 1994|R. DANIEL FOSTER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; R. Daniel Foster is a regular contributor to The Times. and

Look out Hallmark, do-it-yourself pop-up greeting cards are the latest craft craze.

Tired of sprinkling glitter and sequins onto flat cards, craft aficionados are opting for the element of surprise when sending invitations, announcements and seasonal greetings.

"Since the rubber-stamp craze has mushroomed, people are searching for new things to stamp, and pop-up cards are the perfect medium," says Reuben Allen, who teaches greeting card classes at the Paper Post in Westlake Village, Learning Tree University and Kids at Heart in Northridge. "Pop-up cards are perfect, because there are so many surfaces to decorate."

Pop-up card instructors usually start students with what Lynn Lacey at Stamp Into Burbank calls the "idiot-proof card," a simple insert that pops out the top of the card.

"We just take two folded cards and insert them inside each other," says Lacey, who has taught pop-up classes for three years. "It's just a simple fold that's glued down."

More advanced techniques that result in three or more levels of action require extensive measuring and gluing. "With advanced cards, you need to incorporate what I call little support beams that hold the different levels up," Lacey says. "If your measuring is off just one quarter-inch, the card just won't work."

To overcome that obstacle, Allen distributes up to a dozen patterns at his pop-up classes, attended by a dozen or more students. "Castles and houses are a popular form people use in the advanced cards," he says. "I had one student create a castle that opens up. In the entryway was a Santa Claus, behind him some steps and animals, and on the second floor, an elf. And a large clock popped out of the third floor.

"I always tell students that I want them to outdo me. It happened with that card. I think it took her a couple of hours to make it." Allen's beginning class also covers the basics of creating an animal figure that surrounds a large pop-up mouth.

For the cut-and-paste-impaired, Lacey sells cut and scored pop-up cards that are usually seasonally themed. A package of nine trees or hearts, for example, that are ready to decorate sells for $5.99.

The genre also includes a pop-up box, a veritable architectural masterpiece that folds up and can be placed into an envelope. Lacey also sells prefab box pop-ups (less than $10) and teaches students how to make their own boxed gardens, castles and houses.

Decorating the cards precedes the actual construction, as it's difficult to sprinkle glitter or stamp designs on constructed sections that interfold. Lacey says baskets of flowers, bears, balloons, butterflies and bunnies are popular subjects. Allen adds that seasonal items--trees, hearts and pumpkins--are popular as well as "romantic elements, like people kissing, or two kids holding hands."


Surprise birthday parties are the event of choice for most pop-up designers, says Allen, but wedding invitations and birth announcements also lend themselves to the startling effects the cards produce.

Allen also teaches how to build accordion-fold books, an Asian art that he considers the predecessor to pop-up, along with the Japanese technique of origami, the art of folding objects out of paper without cutting or pasting.

"Accordion books have hard covers on each side, with panels that accordion out on the inside," Allen says. "You can have as many panels as you want. Some fold out to eight feet or more." Sizes also vary, he says, from miniature tomes of one inch square to larger books.

The insides are stamped or decorated with drawings or constructed from unique papers, such as rice paper. "Accordion books can be thought of as an elaborate greeting card," says Allen. "People put cords or ribbons on the spines and give them as gifts or use them as decorations. And some people are using small ones as lapel pins, tied with a cord and worn on clothing."


What: Reuben Allen's greeting card classes.

Location: Paper Post, 1145 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village.

Hours: Pop-up greeting cards from 6 to 9 p.m. April 14 and accordion books from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 9.

Price: $22 per class.

Call: (818) 865-0702.

Other classes: Allen also teaches greeting card classes through Learning Tree University, (818) 882-5599, and Kids at Heart, Northridge, (818) 993-1359.

What: Lynn Lacey's ongoing afternoon and evening two-hour pop-up classes.

Location: Stamp Into Burbank, 3009 West Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.

Price: $16.

Call: (818) 845-8180.

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