HOW TO: Make Your Own Pop-Up Book

by , 03/09/09

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Book publishers have recently been embracing the somewhat forgotten genre of children’s pop-up books. This renewed interest seems to have started with David Carter’s ‘One Red Dot,’ and has grown to include last year’s wonderful ‘AB3D‘, a Marvel series (which my son is intent on collecting all of) and various classic (‘Alice in Wonderland‘), educational (Dinosaurs) and fantasy (Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy) titles. But don’t be intimidated by the two paper masters who are mostly responsible for this resurgence, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhartse. There are very simple steps that you can take in creating your own one-of-a-kind pop-up book. Some of which are illustrated here using images from Sabuda’s website.

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1. Choose Your Subject Well: Be sure to choose a subject that your child will want to revisit again and again. Something that is not only memorable, but also includes elements that you can make pop. Field notes from a trip to the Natural History museum or re-telling family history (using old photos) are great ideas. The last thing you want is for the fruit of your recycled book-making project to end up in the recycle bin.

2. Keep Your Materials Green: Using environmentally friendly materials such as homemade rice glue or crazy crayons, along with clippings from recycled magazines will help keep your project fun while also keeping it sustainable. The best purchasing advice is to purchase nothing at all. Make use of what you already have at home.

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3. Don’t Complicate Things: It is a good idea to keep your animated pop-up elements simple and durable. Use sturdy paper and limit the number of cuts required to have your elements come to life. Have a look at the simple shapes created in the included step-by-step instructions and incorporate them into your book. More excellent ideas from author Robert Sabuda can be found here.

4. Make It Unusual: A great way to personalize your project is by incorporating elements that keep things interesting. You might try your hand at a few flip pages, or use bits of fabric from outgrown clothing too worn to be turned in at the thrift store.

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5. Sometimes It’s OK To Cheat: A quick way to breathe new life into an old, tattered book is by dissecting it and using its elements (illustrations, story line) to create something that pops! The only warning with this method is that when converting a conventional book to a pop-up book, you will quickly realize that you are only able to use one side of the conventionally printed double-sided pages. Choose your pages carefully.

The MAKEzine video (below) offers a few minutes of inspiration as designers Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhartse review a few of their upcoming creations. And early childhood educator and Green Apple Kids founder, Beatrice Tinio (who has been making DIY pop-up books and cards for some time now) advises that this should be “a collaborative experience where the sharing and expressing of ideas are enhanced by the most imaginative being… your child,” as “giving your child opportunities to create their own books, helps them embrace literature.”


Inside the Pop-Up Studio from paul b on Vimeo.

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6 Responses to “HOW TO: Make Your Own Pop-Up Book”

  1. dennis walker says:

    Thank you for the popup book idea. My grandson is 7 and would enjoy this as a project and tohave. I will also send the idea along to his first grade teacher. I would like more info on this subject? Dennis Walker

  2. dennis walker says:

    i entered security code you listed and was rejected? dennis walker dmw09walker@hotmail.com

  3. mey says:

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful Pop up Books.. it’s very creative and give me some inspiration …

  4. Jonathan says:

    beautiful books

  5. bbovell08 says:

    thank you for the idea I am using it for homework

  6. sassycat98 says:

    great!

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