By far the cutest idea I have come across for a paper-engineered Valentine’s Day card has come from the blog minieco.co.uk by a clever lady named Kate. This 8-bit pixel heart pop-up reminds me of more than just old computer graphics…I can see counted-thread cross-stitch charts, lego, and kids’ wooden building blocks being used to decorate the basic heart shape.
I made a couple of plain versions, first, using the same sort of brightly colored card used in the original post, just to get the hang of all the cutting and scoring. The first one wouldn’t pop-up properly and, upon closer inspection of how the pop-up thing ‘works’, I found that there was a small error in the cutting and scoring template provided with the tutorial. If you just keep in mind that each vertical cut in the top-half of the heart has to extend down to meet the horizontal scoring line of the previous ‘step’, you will solve the pop-up problem. Another way to think of it is that each vertical line in the top-half of the heart should be three pixels long, not just two (as it’s shown in Kate’s cutting/scoring guide) and that you will have to extend the two-pixel-long cut downward by the length one more pixel…till it meets a horizontal cutting line.
Starting out with Kate’s basic tutorial for the pixel heart, I used a really fabulous Japanese paper that mimics pale wood…it’s so realistic that at first I thought it was just very thinly shaved wood veneer! It even has the fine, hairline streaks of silvery film, like you find in the grain of real wood.
I cut the heart, but didn’t do any folding until after I’d decorated it. I used a dark brown felt-tip marker to do a design that sort of reminded me of wood burning and folk art. I tried to use dots and hatching to give the design some contrast. Then I gently went over some parts with a colored pencil to mimic the slight smoldering that forms around the dark design areas when you use an actual burning tool.
Cut a slightly larger piece of dark burgundy card for the backing, and glued the pop-up card in place. And that was it…easy, and such a pretty card to look at…I have been staring at mine for hours, enjoying its chunky dimensionality and the illusion, from certain angles, of a burned Valentine made from a solid piece of wood.