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Grand Rapids artist designs White House Christmas Card

4:44 PM, Dec 21, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) - Grand Rapids artist Chris Hankinson says designing this year's Christmas card for President Obama and the first family was extremely exciting and a big honor.

"We were halfway through the project and it still didn't seem real," he says with a laugh at his Heritage Hill studio.

This year the Obama's wanted a card that unfolds into a miniature white house when it's opened.

"Pop-up" cards are Chris Hankinson's specialty.

"Some people call it origamic architecture or paper engineering," he explains.

From design to assembly, the entire card was a "made in Michigan" project.

Hankinson created the design, he found a Comstock Park company to make a metal die to cut the paper, a Detroit plant did the printing and a Clinton Township firm folded and glued the card together.

"A solid 2 months of hand folding," says Hankinson. "38 women and a hand full of guys hand folded each one of them."

After producing the card Hankinson and his wife were invited to the White House for a holiday reception.

"That was extremely exciting," he says.

Hankinson says he promised he wouldn't tell how much he was paid, but says his fee came from contributions, not tax dollars.

He says creating the card for the White House is a highlight of his career.

"How do we top it?" he wonders. "What could we possibly do to top this? I still don't have an answer yet."

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