Becoming a Paper Engineer

Last week I began exploring the idea of creating books with pop-ups and movable parts. I was inspired by an artist call for submissions and decided to use this as an excuse to push even further the creative possibilities of my altered books. My first step was to go to Chapters and start looking at pop-up books in the children’s section to get a feel for how these things are constructed. I was really blown away by some of the books I found. [1][2][3]

I ended up purchasing Paper Engineering and Pop-ups for Dummies because it seemed to be an excellent resource for the kind of information I was looking for. None of the sample projects involve incorporating the techniques into existing books but they will help develop my own ideas.



So far I’ve been experimenting using the projects in the book as a jumping off point, and I’m trying to focus on learning the technique rather than trying to produce a finished product. The above two photos are of two pop-up cards I created using cardstock. I came up with my own design rather than following the instructions because I really didn’t want to make a pop-up card with hearts. I kept things simple though and made sure not to worry about what I was making. It’s important to “let go” when experimenting.


This airplane card is my first attempt at creating a pull mechanism, and again I was modifying the idea to suit my own purposes while learning the technique. It’s fascinating learning how to create a mechanism out of paper because it is way more complex on the inside than the simple movement of pulling the tab on the outside would imply.


This 3-D paper pop-up of a lotus flower is a design I came across online as a video demonstration. It looks really beautiful and complicated, but it’s actually very simple and made from a single piece of paper.

Next up, exploring more techniques and translating what I learn into creating an altered book with found objects and moving parts.

One thought on “Becoming a Paper Engineer

Comments are closed.