How to Make a Pop-Up Book

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Have you ever read a book made with incredible pop-up illustrations? The ones that jump right out at the reader? Some of these books are truly three-dimensional masterpieces and quite realistically bring the story to life. If you feel inspired by pop-up books, follow this simple guide to creating your own unique pop-up story. We’ve also included a recommended reading list of pop-up books and instructional books that can take your pop-up crafting to the next level

What You’ll Need

  • Construction paper or Cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or tape
  • Pencil
  • A selection of art materials (i.e. crayons, colored pencils, markers, or even pictures/illustrations cut out from a magazine)
  • Before You Begin

    Take some time to gather your supplies. The most important part of creating your own pop-up story is the planning. Think of what story you want to tell. It can be one you’ve already written or maybe a story you’ve heard told again and again – you can even choose to recreate your favorite classic fairytale or fable.

    Once you have a story in mind, draw up a storyboard. Storyboards are a great way to get your thoughts on the paper and organize the sequence of your scenes or the order in which they will appear in your book. Storyboards will help you figure out exactly what you need to include to move your story along and what you can leave out. While you should spend plenty of time thinking about your story and organizing it, don’t worry about creating picture perfect illustrations for your storyboard – quick, stick figure drawings work just fine as long as you know what or who each figure represents.  

    Getting Started

    1. Take a piece of sturdy paper and fold it in half horizontally (hamburger bun style – if you know what that means!)
    2. Carefully use your scissors to cut two parallel, horizontal slits along the folded edge of your paper. Each slit should be about 2 inches long and 1 inch apart from each other.
    3. Open your paper and use a finger to push the tab forward.
    4. Create your illustrations. On a separate piece of paper, draw whatever illustrations you will have popping out of your story and then cut them out. You may also choose to cut out illustrations/pictures from a magazine or newspaper.
    5. Repeat steps 1-3 to create as many pages as you will need.
    6. At the bottom of each page, write the words to your story.
    7. Draw the background on each page. You may want to sketch the design in pencil first before adding in color. Make sure you leave the tabs blank!
    8. Glue (or tape) your pictures or illustrations onto each tab. 
    9. Paste your pages together, back-to-back. The top half of page 2 will need to be glued to the bottom half of page 1. Follow this pattern until all the pages are pasted together.
    10. Design a cover page for your story. Fold a sturdy piece of paper around the outside of your book. Once you’re finished decorating the cover, glue the inner pages to the first and last pages of your book.

    10 Fantastic Pop-Up Books to Inspire You

    Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart

    Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts by Matthew Reinhart and Kevin Wilson

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-Up Adaptation by Lewis Carroll and Robert Sabuda

    One Red Dot by David A. Carter

    The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert

    The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas

    Under the Ocean by Anouk Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud


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