Frequently asked questions
It’s not my idea to name it that but yes, what I’m doing is named Paper Engineering. There’s no diploma that gives you this title. It’s just a fancy way of saying I make pop-ups.
I’ve made a couple of templates but only of basic designs. Complex designs take a lot of time to explain and even more time to take apart and trace. And just a template is not enough. So a step by step tutorial is needed witch is also really time-consuming to make. Most of my designs are concepts and experiments that I’m not planning to take apart because of this.
No not at the moment. Because I’m still learning, I want to focus on developing my skills and use all the time I have to explore and most importantly, have fun. Creating pop-ups is time-consuming and recreating them means I have to trace, print, cut and glue everything by hand. It’s on my wishlist to get a laser cutter one day but it would be still a lot of work to prepare and produce cards.
Learning this starts with the basics. Most techniques that are used for pop-ups are basic techniques. By combining these, adding artwork, and hiding the mechanisms the possibilities are endless. And most importantly, finding the best and most effective mechanism that fits your theme can make the difference between a good and bad design. I’m doing this for three years now and still learning.
It’s all hand cut with an x-acto knife. The trick is to not push too hard. If you do that, the knife will dive deeper into the self-healing cutting mat. That way it’s harder to cut round shapes. Some people apply extra pressure when they do concentrated cuts. I did that too. But it makes it harder to cut clean. I use 160 g/m paper and I trained myself (pay attention) to cut with the least pressure needed. Also, replacing the blades for every new project. I use about two blades per week.
It totally depends on the project I’m working on. For concept builds I like to work with uncoated 160 g/m white paper. It’s cheap, easy to draw on, color with markers and because it’s uncoated, the tape will go off more easily, which makes it faster to work with and there’s also room for adjusting.
I prefer to use tape because you can remove it most of the time. This makes it less stressful to assemble a build and making a mistake doesn’t ruin the project. Glue also can cause the paper to get too weak, heavy, stiff, or wobbly. Clear tape can dry out and break over time so artist (masking) tape is the best choice for building concepts.
I’m really not into the whispering ASMR stuff but I do like the sound that paper makes. My pop-ups don’t make sounds on purpose* but I think it’s interesting to hear how the paper works and how the mechanisms move. The sounds of friction, bending, snapping, and sliding tell a lot about how well a pop-up design works.