How is a Pop-up Book Made?

Children’s pop-up books have a high engagement factor. They’re filled with bright colors and exciting textures. Pop-up books are a staple in many households, but how exactly are children’s pop-up books constructed?

Children’s pop-up books encapsulate the wonder and magic that kids feel every day. Usually, pop-up books are bright, filled with exciting characters, and focused on the interactive pieces of the story.

But - have you ever stopped to consider how pop-up books are constructed?

Here’s how children’s pop-up books are made (and how you can try to make one too)!

What are pop-up books?

Children’s pop-up books are just one type of a larger group of books. This larger group is known as “mechanical books” and includes tunnel books, pull tabs, flaps, pull-downs, and pop-outs. Pop-up books are designed from the art of paper engineering. Many people compare these types of book art with origami because of their intricate amount of paper folding. However, pop-up books are unique in that they do rely on scissors and glue to reach the end product. Most commonly, they’re constructed with heavy cardstock instead of thinner paper (which rips or damages easily).

The first step? An engaging story!

The first step to developing a pop-up book is an engaging story featuring characters that will serve as the engaging foundation for the readers. These characters need to be adventurous, bright and have a story that “pops” off the page.

Dandeliophone, a new children’s pop-up book, features four main characters who pop right off of the page. Dandeliophone’s characters include; Little Ant who serves as the hero of the story, Ladybug who is always willing to help others, Bird who can change his mind on a whim, and the Ant’s Queen who can give orders to the main characters but also is tasked with listening to the needs of the other characters. These four strong characters in Dandeliophone are meant to attract and resonate with kids - especially in a pop-up book design format.

The general workings of pop-ups

So how do pop-ups work? How do the pieces actually pop or rise off of the page? Just like any other structural piece, pop-ups need specially engineered supports to provide a solid foundation and distribute the forces that are created when the attachments are moving.

It starts to get complex when supports are layered and moving attachments must move in synchronicity. However, the bonus is that supports built on top of each other can increase the strength of the page. Some pop-up books include sound elements with small speakers too!

Handmade versus machine-printed

Although modern printing presses can construct the necessary pieces of a pop-up book, many children’s pop-up books are still assembled by hand. Sometimes it even takes a large group of people to put together a single book!

Want to try to make a DIY pop-up?

Try making a pop-up greeting card to see how effectively you’re able to build the pop piece. Structurally, there will be some folding and gluing, inserting, cutting, and connecting that needs to take place.







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