Category Archives: Craft Gadgets

Information on some of my favorite crafting tools.

How to Make Pop Up Cards: The Pocket Paper Engineer by Carol Barton


I am an Engineer by day, and a crafter on evening and weekends.  Throughout my life, finding that balance between my need to do technical work and solve problems and my desire to create has been a near-constant struggle.  My little sister, recognizing this strife, gave me a book that made me smile the minute I laid my eyes on it!  The book I’m talking about is The Pocket Paper Engineer – How to make Pop-Ups Step-by-Step by Carol Barton.

The book goes into the basics of how pop-up cards work, and what kinds of tools you need to make them.  The best part is that included in each section of the book are several example cards that you can literally tear out and practice with (see photos below).  The examples have a printed design on the front and clearly indicate on the back where to cut and fold!  It’s a great way to get started with pop-up cards, and a highly recommended book if you think that creating pop-up cards is something you want to do.  I only have Volume 1 of this book, but there is a second Volume that goes into some more advanced techniques.

As with nearly any card making technique I come across, I try to figure out a way to do it on my Silhouette SD!  I thought that it would be fun to try out the shaped boxes technique to make a card that looks like a layer cake!  I cut the card using the Silhouette, but I ended up doing my scoring on my Score-it-All board (keep your eyes peeled for a post about this handy gadget next week).  On my first try, I made a rather large cake, and learned that when making a pop-out card, you should not make the cuts longer than half the width of the card.  If your cuts are too long, you’ll end up with little pieces of paper hanging out the end of your card.  On my second try, I got it right!  See, piece of cake!


The Gadget That Started it All


I have always been a fan of greeting cards, so much so that I would spend literally hours looking for just the right one.  After a while, I abandoned my searching in lieu of creating my own.  I have been known to cut, paste, and stencil my mornings away in an effort to make that perfect paper creation.  While I still spend plenty of time pouring over designs, I have found a faster, more precise, and all around wonderful gadget to help me with my cutting needs!

Anyone who knows craft gadgets is probably thinking that I am talking about the Cricut, but that’s where you would be wrong.  I first saw the commercials for the Cricut a few years ago and nearly purchased one on the spot, but decided to do a little research first.  I found that as amazing and wonderful as the Cricut seemed, it was not quite suited to my needs.  I needed a gadget that I could be even more creative with; that would accept my designs, rather than the pre-purchased cartridges that the Cricut uses.  It didn’t take long for me to find, and fall in love with it’s competitor the Silhouette SD!

Over the past year or so their software has greatly improved making the little gadget near perfect for making cards and paper creations of all kinds.  I love that I can create my own designs in illustrator and cut them on this little beauty.  For simple shapes, the SD software is perfect.  Also, if designing your own is a little out of your league, they have an extensive library of designs for a great price!


The Silhouette SD has been recently discontinued to make way for the new Silhouette Cameo.  I still strongly recommend the SD, and if you can find it for sale, chances are you’ll get a great deal!

I will be keeping my eye out for reviews on the new Cameo.  The Cameo will accept 12″ paper, making it ideal for scrapbook papers.  It’ll also have a quieter motor, which I’m sure my husband will appreciate when I’m working away early in the morning!