Matchbox Pop-Up Valentines

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Come out and say "Happy Valentine's Day!" with a homemade pop-up Valentine. Not only are these matchbox cards easy to make, they also serve as endearing keepsakes. And your main squeeze will love getting a pop-up surprise when pulling out the tiny drawer of the Valentine.

A trio of pop-up Valentines
A trio of pop-up Valentines (Image: Jessica Begum )

Things You'll Need

  • Empty matchboxes, 1 3/8 inches by 2 1/2 inches
  • Decorative paper
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife and cutting mat
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sewing pin with a round plastic tip
  • Wire clippers
  • White printer paper
  • Heart cutouts (or other scrapbook embellishments)
  • Small coil springs, 3/16 inches by 1 inch (or take from ballpoint pens)
  • Scissors
Gather your supplies.
Gather your supplies. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 1: Make Paper Strips for the Drawer

Choose two contrasting paper colors/patterns to cover the matchbox drawer. Using a crafting knife, ruler and cutting mat, trim a long strip of paper that is the same width as the matchbox drawer. Use a different paper color or pattern and trim a long strip that is the same length as the matchbox drawer. The paper strips should both be at least 6 inches in length.

Trim paper strips to match the length and width of the drawer.
Trim paper strips to match the length and width of the drawer. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2: Secure the Paper Strip to the Drawer

Flip the paper for the outside of the box right-side down. Use a few small dabs of hot glue to tack down one end of a decorative paper strip onto the inside long edge of the matchbox drawer.

Glue the paper to the inside flap and wrap underneath the drawer.
Glue the paper to the inside flap and wrap underneath the drawer. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3: Cover the Drawer With One Strip

Wrap the paper strip all the way around the matchbox drawer, creasing at the corners as you wrap so the paper folds neatly against the walls of the drawer. Use small dabs of hot glue to secure the paper to the matchbox drawer as you go. Trim off any excess paper.

Wrap the paper around the matchbox drawer and secure with glue.
Wrap the paper around the matchbox drawer and secure with glue. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 4: Cover the Drawer With Another Strip

Take the other paper strip, tack it down with glue inside the matchbox drawer, and wrap, crease and glue it in the opposite direction (as in steps 2 and 3 above). Trim off any excess paper.

Wrap the other strip in the opposite direction.
Wrap the other strip in the opposite direction. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 5: Loosen the Lid

Next, place the covered matchbox drawer inside the matchbox lid to test whether it slides easily. If it is tight, you can unhinge the seam of the lid (using a craft knife) loosen it and reseal it with hot glue. If it isn't tight, simply leave the lid as-is.

Unhinge the matchbox lid, loosen and reseal.
Unhinge the matchbox lid, loosen and reseal. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 6: Make a Paper Strip for the Lid

Cut a long strip of decorative paper that matches the length of the matchbox lid. The strip of paper should be at least 6 inches long.

Measure and cut the strip the same length as the lid.
Measure and cut the strip the same length as the lid. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 7: Cover the Lid

Turn the paper right-side down. Secure the paper to the bottom of the matchbox lid with a few small dabs of hot glue, and wrap the paper around the lid, creasing it at the corners and using small dabs of hot glue to secure as you go.

Attach paper to lid and wrap around.
Attach paper to lid and wrap around. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 8: Add a Drawer Pull

Next, poke a small hole in the front center of the matchbox drawer with a sewing pin. Remove the pin and trim the round tip off the pin with wire clippers, leaving about 1/16 inch of wire attached to the tip. Insert the pin tip back into the hole in the matchbox, and use a small dab of hot glue to secure it in place on the inside flap.

Add tip of sewing pin to make a drawer pull.
Add tip of sewing pin to make a drawer pull. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 9: Make the Pop-Up Message

Cut a little flag out of white printer paper measuring about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. Write a simple Valentine message on it. You could also print the message out first using an 8- to 10-point font. Use a dab of hot glue to secure the flag to one side of a heart cutout (or other scrapbook embellishment).

Make a flag with a Valentine message.
Make a flag with a Valentine message. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 10: Make the Pop-Up Spring

Use wire clippers to trim a small coil spring to 1 inch long, or use a small spring taken from an old pen.

Trim a coil spring to 1 inch.
Trim a coil spring to 1 inch. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 11: Secure the Pop-Up Message to the Spring

Secure the spring to the back tip of the heart cutout with a dab of hot glue. If you're using a small pen spring, glue the very tip of the spring to the very end tip of the heart.

Glue the spring to the heart cutout.
Glue the spring to the heart cutout. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 12: Secure the Spring to the Matchbox

Place the bottom of the spring on the bottom of the matchbox drawer, centered toward the front of the drawer near the drawer pull, and secure it with hot glue. Allow the glue to dry for one minute before putting the drawer into the matchbox.

Glue the spring inside the drawer.
Glue the spring inside the drawer. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 13: Assemble the Matchbox Pop-Ups

Slide the matchbox drawer back into the lid, and carefully tuck the heart and message down into the drawer and close. The message will spring out when opened.

A Valentine's message pops out when the matchbox is opened.
A Valentine's message pops out when the matchbox is opened. (Image: Jessica Begum )

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