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How to Make a Z Fold Card – a Step by Step Tutorial

Two Z fold cards

A simple Z fold card takes less than an hour to make

Simple to make and fun to play with, the Z fold card is perfect when you need something special STAT. With just a few simple materials, you can have this fun fancy fold ready in minutes.

Z fold cards are fun to make

You can see where this card gets its name – the shape is a perfect “Z” when seen from above. And you or the recipient will get a kick out of “opening and closing” it over and over again. And, unlike other cards, you can skimp on supplies and still have a perfectly acceptable card. I’ll explain how in a moment.

Supply list:

Cardstock (60 lbs or heavier – this card has to work for a living)
Stamps and ink
Embossing supplies (ink, powder, heat tool)
Scoring board
Bone Folder
Dies (Spellbinders Nestabilities Lables 8) and (Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels 3)
Embellishments of choice

Before I go any further, let me assure you that you don’t have to use the dies and embellishments I use. I only include them here for suggestions. You’re going to personalize these cards to reflect your own personality. I’m teaching you how to make them, but you’re going to use the decorations of your choice to make the most authentically YOU cards possible.

Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, I might receive a small commission. Your cost is the same (or sometimes less!), but your purchase helps support the Glitter and Bonbons website, which means I can bring more crafty goodness to you, my lovely reader. So, thank you! For full disclosure, feel free to visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

How to make a simple Z fold card

Step 1

Cut a piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock in half vertically. This will leave you with two pieces, 11″ by 4 1/4″.

Cardstock cut for Z fold card
Only two score lines required

Step 2

Score piece of cardstock in half horizontally, at the 5 1/2″ point.

Step 3

Turn this piece over and score one of the halves in half again – this time at the 2 3/4″ point.

Step 4

Fold on the score lines, pressing firmly with the bone folder. You will have a “valley” fold (at the 5 1/2″ point) and a “mountain” fold (at the 2 3/4″ point).

Two folds for a Z fold card
One “mountain,” one “valley”

Timesaver: If you score the card stock before cutting, you’ll end up with two Z fold card bases instead of just one. This is great if you’re making multiple cards.

Step 5

Cut your decorative papers as follows:

Mat layers:
5 3/8″ x 4 1/8″ (cut one)
2 5/8″ x 4 1/8″ (cute two)

Designer paper:
5 1/4″ x 4″ (cut one)
2 1/2″ x 4″ (cut two)

Decorative paper layers

Note: I prefer narrow margins around my papers, but if you prefer wider margins showing underneath, cut each mat and designer paper 1/4″ smaller than the base layer sections instead of 1/8″ smaller. This will give a larger decorative margin than what’s shown in the photos. (Meaning more of the mat and base layers will be shown.)

Step 6

Cut the front and inside greeting/sentiment pieces. In my case, I used die cuts as follows:

For the feminine peach/yellow card, I used a large die for the cream card stock and a larger die for the decorative mat behind it, cutting two of each. I heat embossed the greeting on the outside piece of cream card stock and lightly stamped a flourish design on the inside piece, using the stamping off technique first. (Only needed the slightest hint of pattern there.)

Inside the feminine version
Light stamping won’t detract from the message inside

I heat embossed the edges of the front diecuts with gold embossing powder, then I attached peach colored pearls to the corners.

Front and inside sentiment panels
Perfectly aligned with each other

For the masculine teal/brown card, For the front piece, I cut graduating layers of this die in colors that coordinate with the designer paper. For the inside layer, I cut two colors of cardstock. (I wasn’t going to write much in this card, hence the small message area.)

Inside layers for masculine Z fold card
Masculine cards don’t require a big message

I used twine to make a multi-loop bow and attached it to the front with three tiny tags attached beneath it. A scrap of coordinating ribbon completes this card.

Details of masculine version
Details count, even on guy cards

Design Tip: Make sure to center the inside piece(s) as precisely as possible to match the front piece(s).

Step 7

Attach the decorative piece to the front, using adhesive on the left side only. Align this piece with the inside piece as closely as possible so that the inside piece doesn’t “peek” out.

The closed card
No peeking from behind!

Timesaving options

If you’re pinched for time, you can skimp on Z fold cards and nobody will be the wiser. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t line the inside fold. I like doing it because it adds weight and a little extra pizzazz, but it’s not a requirement.
  2. Don’t use designer paper on the inside layer. Just lay a piece of white or cream cardstock there instead. You’ll have more room for a message (though a long message might interfere with the overall “look” of the card.)

Z fold cards are the easiest “fancy” cards in the book

And they fit inside a standard A2 envelope if you keep the embellishments to a minimum. Quick, easy and economical yet still very pretty!

So go ahead and create a Z fold card, then come on over to my Facebook page and share it with the G&B community. We’d love to see it!

Two Z fold cards
This card works for both masculine and feminine cards

More fun, fancy fold cards:

How to Make a Side Step Card the Easy Way- (Engineering Degree Not Required)
How to Make a Romantic Masculine Front-flap Card
A Genius Card Making Hack for Faster, Better Fancy Cards


One last hint: Do you sit at your craft table for long stretches? Do you get knots between your shoulders? If the answer is yes, try these two nifty stretches. They’re perfect for crafters, artists and anyone who sits hunched over a project for long periods.

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