Pop-up Art

Do you remember those pop-up cards or books that we used to marvel at as a child? You know, those wonderfully drawn images springing up into life when we open the card or the book? This month, we’d try to make one of those.

Let’s start with the materials.

The most important thing you’d need in making popup art is the paper. You don’t really have to use any special kind, but you do have to make sure that it has the right amount of thickness for the project. A piece of paper that is too thin would have difficulties holding up while a piece of paper that is too thick would be difficult to fold. Usually, an Oslo paper should be enough to do the job.

Aside from the paper we’d also need a protractor or a ruler (we’d have to use it to measure the angles of the folds), glue or double-sided tape (for sticking the popup art to its base), and a pair of scissors to cut out pieces of paper into our desired shape.

Ruler, specialty paper, colored paper, glue, and a pair of scissors: some of the materials we used for the project.


When the materials are all set, we’d begin by picking a design. Pop-ups can either be paper cutouts glued or taped to the base, or strips of paper that are carved into the base. Which one you want to use is totally up to you, but if you neither have the time nor patience to draw or carve complicated designs unto paper, printing a digital design then cutting the parts you need out is a faster and easier alternative.

If you’re going to use a cutout design, though, try to leave an extra centimetre or two of blank space from the edge of your design because we’d be using it to prop it up.

After you have the design cut out, we’ll start folding the paper. To make the folding easier, you can use any object with a blunt end like a bread knife or an old ball point pen that has no more ink to make indentations on the parts that we’re going to be folding.

However, before we fold the design, we’ll fold the extra centimetre of blank space that we set aside earlier first then slip it under the design until it’s no longer visible. When we’re done with that, we’d start folding the design itself. While doing this, make sure that the spaces between either side of the design is even (e.g. 45 degrees to the right; 45 degrees to the left starting from the middle) so the pop-up design would close down and open up nicely.

After that, we’ll apply some glue or stick a strip of double-sided tape on the stand then press it tightly against the base. For good measure, you can also stick another strip of paper (the same width as the other stand) at the back of the designs so it will be easier for the designs to pop up when you open the card or the book.

An example of the kinds of stands you can use to prop up your pop-up design.


When all of those are done, just hold the back cover of the card or book, press it down against the front cover until the pop up design in the middle is flattened it out. Hold it down for a bit, then after a few seconds, open the card or the book, and the design should pop up. If it didn’t close down properly, you might have to adjust the angles of the stands supporting the back of the designs, but other than that, that should be pretty much everything.

Photo showing one of the finished products starring Tok, Kat, and Tee from our talk@tee World of Tokkats collection.

So, how did it go? Let us know the result of your experiment below. :)