Here’s a comprehensive list of everything you need to make amazing explosion boxes and pop-up cards.
* Links to products are for your convenience finding tools and materials, however, they are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. *
12 x 12 Base Paper for Explosion Boxes
For explosion box bases, you need a thin, light paper that’s 12×12. I love the ColorBok brand; this pack has 180 sheets with 8 colors.
Plus, it’s solid core, which means there are no white lines where you fold it. It’s on Amazon and at Walmart. This is the secret to making an explosion box fall open well.
Often, the primary color pack is sold out on Amazon, but it’s been available on the shelf at Walmart each time I check.
Don’t use the standard 65 lb cardstock or scrapbooking paper for the bases if you want it to really “explode.”
If you are outside of the US, look for lightweight art A3 paper.
Multiple sheets of standard cardstock are used for the lids, sides, and various envelopes and embellishments.
65 lb cardstock is perfect for these!
Scrapbooking paper works too, but most of the time it will have a white line where it’s folded (such as on a lid or an envelope). If the paper pattern is light, often it won’t be too noticeable.
For solid core cardstock, Recollections 65 lb. cardstock is a crafter-favorite. When you bend it into envelopes, lids, or other embellishments, there is no white showing on the edges.
It’s also available at most craft stores such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
Most of the pop-up cards and explosion box elements use 8.5 x 11 cardstock.
A few projects, such as the large envelopes to send pop-up cards in, use 12×12 cardstock.
Tools for Paper Crafting
Use a Cricut scraper to keep your mat free from debris; clean it with baby wipes too.
The scraper is also used to gently pry the paper away from the mat.
This whole toolset is great to have:
– scissors are small and sharp to trim small details
– tweezers are used to place small details or grab the insides of letters when weeding
– hook weeding tool is used constantly if you use any type of vinyl
Cricut Cutting Machine
The original Cricut Maker is more budget-friendly than the newer model, but still has the tools so you can engrave, deboss, and perforate.
The Maker also cuts thick material with the knife blade and fabric with the rotary blade.
The Cricut Maker 3 is the latest model. It’s supposed to cut faster, but it always measures the entire mat (usually twice) so you have to wait to finally press the “Go” button. It is able to cut without a mat if you use Cricut’s Smart Materials.
Like the original Maker, it has tools so you can engrave, deboss, and perforate.
It also cuts thick material with the knife blade and fabric with the rotary blade.
I love my Explore Air!
It’s actually my favorite for paper crafting. It doesn’t have all of the extra options the Maker does, but it has everything needed to cut and score paper. It doesn’t measure the mat so it’s actually quicker than the Maker 3.
The cute little Cricut Joy!
I’ve taken this machine with me when I’ve flown internationally, and when I’ve been in the hospital.
The Joy isn’t great for explosion boxes, due to its small size and inability to score.
However, some of my cards have versions created just for the Joy.
Photo Printing and Accessories
Print out any photo to the correct size and shape yourself. This water-resistant, vinyl glossy sticker paper is perfect for photos and stickers for explosion boxes. You can even take it off and reposition the sticker without tearing it.
** Printing on this paper is my preferred method of getting photos off your phone and into cards or explosion boxes. I also love making stickers with it. Grab two! **
If you need photo paper immediately, you can pick up the Pen&Gear brand at Walmart.
It’s just $8 for 50 sheets so it’s super budget-friendly.
I often suggest laminating any photos you printed on your ink-jet printer. (It’s easy to ruin the print via scratching, glue, or moisture.)
I have a Scotch laminator. (You can also pick one up at Walmart.)
This glue is the best. It allows you to slide the paper around to the exact position you want and it doesn’t wrinkle the paper AT ALL.
It’s similar to rubber cement, so it does create some “strings” of glue.