Following a recommendation from Shawn, I purchased Pop-Up Design and Paper Mechanics: How to Make Folding Paper Sculptures by Duncan Birmingham so that I could learn more about how pop-up books were constructed.
When I began to read this book, I became instantly intrigued by both the simplicity and the complexity of the engineering behind pop-ups. The word “engineering” is used because it’s the only word that really fits. Don’t be intimidated by the word, however. There are only three rules to pop-ups and these are explained in Birmingham’s book.
Birmingham reveals the science behind pop-up books very clearly. His instructions are supported by visuals, so it’s easy to follow the steps he describes. He tells you exactly where each fold needs to go.
Birmingham reviews foundation shapes, the “building blocks of pop-ups”, and provides very clear descriptions of 18 foundation shapes. He also explains nine building techniques that can be used to build a three-dimensional scene. Birmingham tells you when to cut away parts, when to stick pieces on, how to add extra creases, when to create multiple folds, how to create slots, how to bend planes, how to make straps, and how to make a pop-up interactive.
Included in this book are templates for 14 projects. The templates are in color, so you can print them out as-is without investing in colored paper to create the elements of each structure. This is a huge plus for those just beginning to explore paper engineering.
Birmingham’s book is an interesting and enlightening introduction to pop-up structures.
So is it easy to build a pop-up scene?
No, not even close. To immerse yourself in the process and to receive guidance along the way, consider taking one of Shawn’s upcoming classes.
Pop-Up Design and Paper Mechanics: How to Make Folding Paper Sculptures is available at ArtPlantae Books.