Making Pop-Ups
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Make a Photo Pop-Up
From the book The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 2

Finished photo pop-up

The easiest way to build a photographic pop-up is to use the "box support" format described in chapter 3 of The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 1 . Once you learn this method, you can make more complex photo pop-ups using the "prop" method described in The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 2.

You will need several copies of the same image that can be cut apart into various layers of scenery, or several different images that can be collaged together spacially to create one scene.

Background photo image

1 Create a photo that is a vista or background along its top half and a ground or floor along its bottom half, as shown. (It's best to use a card-weight matte paper. Coated shiny papers tend to crack when folded)

  Additional image layers

2  Cut out the people, animals, or objects you want to stand in front of this background. The images should be flat along the bottom

  Fold image in half

3  Fold the background in half and press along the fold. Keep the paper folded.

  Make two equals cuts into fold       

4  Make two equal cuts into the fold where you want your first image to stand. The longer these cuts, the further out from the page the image will sit.

The distance between the cuts should be less than the width of the image, and the length of the cuts should be less than the height of the image.

      Make two more cuts into the fold        

5  Make two more equal cuts into the fold where you want your next image to stand. Each additional image added to the page will require another set of cuts in the fold.

         Fold tabs between cuts back and forth

6 Fold the tabs between the cuts back and forth, pressing down the folds.

     Flatten tabs forward

7  Return tabs to flattened position.

        Push tabs forward into center of card

8  Open the paper to 90 degrees. Use your finger to push the tabs forward into the center of the card, creating two pop-up boxes.

  Glue separate images onto boxes                                                 

9  Glue images to the front of each pop-up box to create a layered scene.

The finished pop-up photo has a sense of real space that is both surreal and magical.