Fancy Folds: How to Create an Explosion Card

Surprise your friends and family with a card that’s bursting at the seams — really! There are no real explosives involved, but explosive cards are tons of fun because no one suspects the inside of the card to pop open bigger than the card itself. With just a few folds and inverted tucks, your next card recipient will be thrilled and amazed by your creativity!

Front and inside of finished explosion card

Wow friends and family with a card that explodes open to reveal heartfelt sentiments!

Before you get started…

Keep these tips in mind when making an explosion card:

An 8½” x 8½” block of card stock serves as the folded insert, fitting perfectly within a 4½” x 4½” card base. Larger or smaller cards can be created by adjusting the size of the explosive panel and card base to fit.

Use one-sided patterned paper if a color or pattern is desired on the folded sides. Otherwise, use plain light-weight paper, as heavy card stock is harder to fold and will result in a thicker finished card.

Crease each fold firmly with a bone folder. Doing so will result in a flatter, more professional finish.

All stamping on the insert should be completed before folding to ensure solid impressions where fold lines will appear. 

Once assembled, the card will open flat for easy signing so there is no need to write a personal message before assembly is complete. 

Explosion Card Supplies

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Light-weight one-sided patterned paper or light-weight white card stock, cut to 8½” x 8½
  • Bone folder
  • Zero centering ruler (not required but helpful)
  • 3″ x 3″ sticky note (or printer paper and temporary adhesive)
  • Stamps (I used Great Chemistry by Paper Smooches)
  • Acrylic block
  • Ink 
  • Coordinating 4½” x 4½” folded card base
  • Double-sided adhesive tape
  • Additional supplies to finish front of the card

Explosion card tutorial

Step 1:

Using a zero centering ruler, if available, center a 3″ x 3″ sticky note on the back side of your patterned paper to serve as a mask. This will mask an area for a sentiment and short personal note. If a longer greeting is desired, adhere a larger mask, or omit it entirely. If omitting, continue to Step 3. 

Step 1: Mask center

Step 2:

Stamp images over back side of patterned paper. Once stamped, remove the mask and stamp desired sentiment.

Step 2: Stamp background, remove mask and stamp sentiment

Step 3:

Fold up one corner to create a triangle. Stamped images should be inside. 

Step 4:

Unfold triangle, turn paper and refold in the opposite direction.

Steps 3 and 4: Fold into triangle, unfold, turn and fold again.

Step 5:

Open paper, flip over and fold into a rectangle. This time the stamped images should be on the outside.

Step 5: Unfold, turn over and fold in half to form a rectangle

Once unfolded, the paper should look like the photo below.

View of unfolded patterned panel

Step 6:

With patterned side facing up (as shown above), push in the left and right sides (at the valley folds) to once again form a triangle. 

Step 6: Tuck in right and left corners

Step 7:

Lightly mark the center of the bottom edge with a pencil on both sides.

Step 7: Lightly mark center on each bottom edge

Step 8:

Fold the top layer of left and right corners in to center point.

Step 8: Fold in left and right points to center

Step 9:

Flip over and repeat, folding in corners on the second side.

Step 9: Flip over and repeat folding in corners

Step 10a:

Working with one side at a time, unfold left and right corners.

Step 10a: Unfold left and rigth corners on one side

Step 10 b:

Invert the right corner to inside at fold line as shown below.

Step 10b: Tuck in right corner

Step 10 c:

Repeat on left side.

Step 10c: Tuck in left corner

Step 10 d:

Flip piece over and repeat, inverting left and right corners. Once folded, piece should look like photo below.

Step 10d: Flip over and repeat with second side corners

Step 11 a:

Apply adhesive to both sides as shown. 

Step 11a: Apply adhesive tape to both sides

Step 11 b:

Remove release paper from tape and center the folded paper over inside of card. Press to adhere firmly.

Step 11b: Remove tape backing from one side and center over inside of card

Step 11 c:

Remove release paper from adhesive on remaining side. Carefully close the card and press firmly to adhere remaining side.

Step 11c: Remove adhesive backing from remaining side, carefully close card and press firmly to adhere

If desired, add small embellishments to the inside of the card.

Finished inside, add small embellishments if desired

Finish card front as desired.

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