Pop-Up Paper Engineering

From the research that I carried out last week which you can find at this link below to my initial blog post telling you more about the Marine Life pop-up book Inventor based brief I am working on and my intentions.


Reminding you of my chosen task:

Devise and illustrate a pop-up book to educate/inform and promote thriving of marine life on the Glamorgan coast.

The next great place to start was to dive right into learning pop-up paper engineering.

I knew I wanted to learn lots of mechanisms to open my project up to lots of possibilities and to allow my book to have a unique pop-up mechanism for each page of my book to keep every page surprising, amusing and exciting.

From the pop-up paper mechanisms I learn I can simply grow my ideas off of them by planning my illustrations for the pages using its 3D perspective in front of me.

I used my “how to make a pop-up” research on YouTube to learn some striking designs.

When watching the YouTube homemade tutorials I found it really useful to adjust the speed settings to slow the process down to make it much easier for me to follow.

The Tutorial Videos I used to make a book of simple and easy pop-ups:

Here is my result:

Using card really made my pop-ups solid, neat and more striking. I intend to use card for the final pop-up book piece for a really powerful effect as I know paper is going to be a lot weaker and more flimsy. I definitely want my piece to punch out from the pages.

Next up was this video which I used to make this gorgeous flower growing effect which I immediately thought as being fantastic for a biodiversity page representing thriving marine life and also handy for upcoming Mother’s Day. The flower forms of this useful design could perhaps be transformed into marine fish and plant shapes or into fiery paper sea plant forms with fish paper cuttings incorporated and these cuttings having multi-coloured acetate (shiny and colourful just like fish) backings. Wouldn’t that look great in the light? I imagine it would project all the colours similar to a stain glass window effect.

The Pop-up Flower YouTube Tutorials I used:

Here is my Pop-up flower:

I also just came across this just now as I looked up “paper cut fish” which would look beautiful surrounding the flower transformed marine biodiversity centre developing off that exciting acetate idea.

Source: http://webneel.com/daily/sites/default/files/images/daily/04-2013/fish-paper-cut-illustration.jpg
Source: http://webneel.com/daily/sites/default/files/images/daily/04-2013/fish-paper-cut-illustration.jpg


I also made sure to make good use of the Universities library resource as I was curious to see if they had any relevant pop-up book material that could help me with learning new paper mechanisms. Plus tutors always advice we use the library as well as the internet when it comes to research which I totally agree with. I was really amazed that the library had so many books of this kind to offer me. I reserved the following:

  • Paper engineering for pop-up books and cards – Mark Hiner. (Hiner, M. (1985). Paper engineering for pop-up books and cards. Norfolk, England: Tarquin Publications.)
This book clearly had been used a lot.
This book clearly had been used a lot which is a good sign of its popularity. Source: Hiner, M. (1985). Paper engineering for pop-up books and cards. Norfolk, England: Tarquin Publications.
  • Paper Engineering For Designers, Pop-Up Skills and Techniques – Keith Finch. (Finch, K. (n.d.). Paper engineering for designers.)
Book by Keith Finch. Source: Finch, K. (n.d.). Paper engineering for designers.


Might I just add that reserving a book in advance online is the best thing ever. This saved me time struggling to find the books I needed as the librarian had already collected it for me. I definitely know now to always reserve! It was my quickest and most successful trip to the library ever.

The book that I used was the “paper engineering for pop-up books and cards” created by Mark Hiner as it was such a brilliant and easy to follow guide whereas the other one by Finch was pretty much the same thing except it had a lot more of a complicated approach. Hiner worked more with diagram illustration instructions which I much prefer over heaps of step by step writing in the Keith Finch book.

Using Hiner’s extremely helpful book I could simply trace the shapes of the paper mechanisms I needed and then follow his fold, cut and assemble guides.

Hiner also gave me an interesting brief back up on the history of pop-up books being designed to amuse and how they are once again a thriving market and starting to be used for serious educational intent. This is the way how I’m going with my project about educating the serious importance of saving our marine life.

Hiner helped me learn of all ten working mechanism models which are said to be…:

“…the basic ground-rules for successful paper engineering. Each being a starting point for a whole range of exciting possibilities.” – Mark Hiner

“By choosing the right mechanism and then adapting and developing it to suit your need, you can express and idea, a message or a mood far more vividly than any static picture ever can.” – Mark Hiner

My Mark Hiner Pop-up led works:












With my variety of pop-up mechanisms that I have accomplished. I plan on using these as reference for upcoming illustrations which I will now be focusing on for much of this week. Ideally I want to plan a page for the negative side then a opposite positive reflection and build the pop-ups with this repeat process to get my pop-up book developing into its physical form quite quickly following my intuition.

My tutor Chris Glynn said at last week’s tutorial that “it doesn’t have to be a complete refined piece”. Although I am aiming to complete mine by the fourth week on the 14th of March as I want to imagine this as a deadline by a company who is dependent and relying on me like how the Theatre designers from the recent MUSE are set strict deadlines and it is good for me to be in bit of pressure like Dominic Wilcox said when he set himself the challenge of creating something creative every day for 30 days in a row as this got him into the habit of making decisions really quickly which helped him to get in touch with his heart and instinct.

Watch Dominic Wilcox’s inspiring video called “The reinvention of normal”:




Author: ellosweetmellon

I am 21 years old and I live in Cardif. My dream is to be a great illustrator that can sell and exhibit my work with pride.

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