Cozy Critters Hidden Message Card

Hidden message card by Natalie Lapakko with Cozy Critters stamps and A Little Foxy DSP from Stampin' Up!

Cozy Critters Hidden Message Card

I have wanted the Cozy Critters stamp set since the first moment I saw it. The owl and fox builder punches are already adorable, then you add these coordinating stamps with decorative patterns and warm little scarves and the adorableness rises exponentially.

I also wanted to try out a new type of card today, which can definitely be an adventure. As sometimes happens when you try new things, it doesn’t quite work out perfectly the first time.

As tends to happen, I saw something cool and thought I could figure it out on my own from the memory of having seen the card without the directions. Four failed cards later I have a pretty good understanding of what doesn’t work and finally go look up the directions to see what step I missed.

Hidden message card by Natalie Lapakko with Cozy Critters and Happy Happenings stamps from Stampin' Up!


Thankful for Trailblazers

I want to give a big giant thank you to Michelle Last and Patrice Halliday-Larsen who have blazed the trail ahead of me and made beautiful hidden message cards and provided some directions for me to follow when I couldn’t quite figure it out on my own. Thanks, ladies!

My dear readers, if you would like to go check out the blogs of these amazing card artists, click on their names to see their hidden cards, then explore their blogs for a bit! You’ll find some amazing inspiration. I know I did!

Challenge Inspiration

This card was also inspired by Global Design Project #63!


Other than being an adventure to make this card, it does have an adventure related theme. First, it has cute little wild animals! Second, the story I invented as I made up this card is that the fox had to move away and the owl misses him! Moving, even if it is only a few miles, is also a big adventure.

Hidden message card with tutorial and measurements. Design by Natalie Lapakko featuring stamps from Stampin' Up@

Hidden Message Card Base Directions

  1. Refer to the above diagram for measurements.
  2. Cut and score the pieces and fit them together before starting to cut windows into it or adhering things together. The middle layer fits inside the front layer, like the pages of a book. The right side edges will be lined up and the entire front of the center piece will be adhered to the inside of the front layer (but don’t do it yet).
  3. The back layer will be attached along the right edge, connecting it to the back page of the middle layer. Like this: Hidden Message Card, diagram for how to glue it all together by Natalie Lapakko
  4. Practice opening and closing the front page. Make sure that the shape, size, and location you choose for your window will be completely hidden and then revealed by the sliding piece as it moves back and forth.
  5. Punch or die cut the hole for the window in the front page of the front layer.
  6. Line up right side edges of the front page of the middle layer behind the front page of the front layer. Lightly trace the shape of the window. Punch or die cut a hole in the middle layer through both the front and back pages.
  7. If there are any decorations that must be stamped or added before the card is adhered together, do it now! For example, stamping on the front of the card may be more difficult later as all the layers may not provide a flat stamping surface. In this card, I had to stamp the branch image before gluing things together.
  8. Adhere the layers together. The front page of the middle layer is adhered completely to the inside of the front layer, with the right side edges lined up.
  9. The back layer should be adhered to the middle layer along the right side edge only.
  10. Stamp the sentiments through the holes to make sure they line up exactly. The first sentiment should be stamped while the card is closed. The second sentiment should be stamped while the card is open.
  11. The card base is complete! All that remains is the decorations.

Hidden message card by Natalie Lapakko featuring Cozy Critters stamps and A Little Foxy DSP from Stampin' Up!

Directions for Decorating a Cozy Critters Hidden Message Card

  1. Make a Whisper White hidden message card base using the diagram and directions above.
  2. Stamp the sentiments “Me? Miss You?” and “Only All the Time” from Happy Happenings through the windows. Double check that you stamp the first sentiment you want people to see when the card is closed. Not open. Check twice. Check three times, then stamp. (I may have stamped the wrong sentiment in the wrong window the first time.)
  3. To add a “Hoo” use washi tape to mask the “With Love” sentiment from Tin of Tags to get an H and an O all by themselves.
  4. Cut a raindrop patterned piece of A Little Foxy Designer Series Paper to fit the end of the card. Cut at an angle and trace the circle hole lightly to make sure you can punch or die cut it in exactly the right location to fit.
  5. Cut a Smoky Slate frame around the window using the same circle die or punch as the window and another one a size larger.
  6. Unfold the card base so the front panel lays flat. Stamp the branch (with the leaves masked) from Cozy Critters in Smoky Slate ink.
  7. Mask the the branch and stamp the leaves in Island Indigo. (Another option would be to stamp the whole branch in Smoky Slate then color the leaves with an Island Indigo Stampin’ Write Marker.)
  8. While your card is unfolded, decorate around the “Only All the Time” with sponged Island Indigo and rain-like stripes drawn with an Island Indigo Stampin’ Write Marker. Fold the card back up.
  9. Stamp the owl and fox from the Cozy Critters stamp set on a separate piece of Whisper White cardstock with Smoky Slate ink. Stamp the images again using Island Indigo and Pool Party.
  10. Use the Fox Builder and Owl Builder punches to speed up the cutting of the Smoky Slate base layers. Fussy cut different layers (such as scarves or eyes) in different colors and adhere the layers together into one image.
  11. Optional: add additional embellishments or coloring with Stampin’ Write Markers or other coloring tools. For example, I colored the owl’s eyes black and added a little white dot with a gel pen.
  12. Optional: use shading on the inside of the card to give the fox a little something to stand on.
  13. Optional: Cut of the owl’s feet that stick out kind of strangely and draw your own with an Island Indigo Stampin’ Write Marker. Place the owl where he will be and draw two curved lines for each foot.
  14. Using dimensionals, adhere the owl and fox to the front and inside of the card, respectively.

Always check your stamp after you ink it. Make sure it is fully inked AND that there isn’t any ink in places you don’t want it, such as on the corner of the stamp block. Also, don’t look too closely above the front window of this card.

Hidden message card with Cozy Critters and Happy Happenings stamp sets from Stampin' Up!

Wintery Color Combination

The start of winter has hit, along with every kind of precipitation possible in the last twenty four hours including, I kid you not, Thunder Snow. The weather, the A Little Foxy Designer Series Paper, and these colors are all reflective of a melancholy feeling of missing a friend or loved one who is miles away.

Though they work well for missing you and sympathy cards, these colors are not just for sad occasions. Shades of blue can also be very calming and serene, like a wintery nativity scene or an evening at the lake.

Color combination: Smoky Slate, Pool Party, Island Indigo

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!


Cardstock: Whisper White, Smoky Slate (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: A Little Foxy Designer Series Paper Stack (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Island Indigo, Pool Party, Smoky Slate (c) Stampin’ Up!

Stamps: Cozy Critters, Happy Happenings, Tin of Tags (c) Stampin’ Up!

Punches and Dies: Circle dies, Fox Builder Punch, Owl Builder Punch (c) Stampin’ Up!

Markers: Island Indigo, Pool Party, Smoky Slate Stampin’ Write Markers (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: sponge, dimensionals

Other Cards You Might Enjoy

Click on a card to view the post about that individual card.

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Homemade card by Natalie Lapakko featuring Paisleys and Posies stamps and the Fox Builder Punch from Stampin' Up!Christmas card by Natalie Lapakko with Cozy Critters stamps and Pretty Pines Thinlits from Stampin' Up!

35 thoughts on “Cozy Critters Hidden Message Card”

    1. I’m so sorry you had trouble trying to figure this out! How far did you get? What went wrong?

      I had to make a couple of rough drafts to figure out how this type of card worked before I made the finished one. Don’t give up if the first one doesn’t work out!

  1. I could not, for the life of me, complete this card with these instructions. Would appreciate some detail in steps taken when adhering the layers together.

    1. Thank you, Natalie. I am back to report: success! I didn’t give up and eventually figured it out. I think my main problem is that the paper I used initially was too thin (a rookie mistake, perhaps?). …but I’d still appreciate some direction on adhering.

      Thanks again for this amazing design.

  2. Thanks everyone for your awesome feedback! I have updated the directions for the hidden message card base. They should hopefully be clearer now, especially on how to adhere the layers together!

  3. Such an adorable card Natalie! I need to give a try at this! I’ve never tried it before! You are always spreading kindness in the blogging world! Thank you so much for that! Cheers! 💖

  4. Tha hidden message card tutorial has thrown my mind out of wack ! I just can’t get into my head how to set this card up. For top I combined the lengths and then scored but the card folds uneven and just really don’t understand how the middle and back attach at all. I’m lost do you have a video of this card ?

  5. I can not understand how to put this together. The first layer when scored is 3 1/4. It does not appear to be adhered to anything. I have gone over your instructions numerous times and I am totally dumbfounded. Please make a video or put numbers on each layer as to where it attaches to the next layer. I would love to make this card but I cannot figure it out.

  6. Great tutorial. Am anxious to explore your site for more inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Love this card Natalie, can’t wait to make it, thanks for the tutorial 😊

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