There are many different tools and supplies which can be helpful if you want to create a pop-up. On this page you’ll find everything you’ll need to make your own pop-ups. From card stock paper to laser printers to coloring supplies, we’ve collected them all and made a selection of the most useful products when it comes to working with paper. Also take a look at these pop-up templates to start making pop-ups right away or watch some video tutorials first.
For making the perfect pop-ups we recommend using 80lb (216 gms) cardstock. It’s strong enough for the pop-up mechanism but also easy to cut and fold. It’s no problem when you can’t find paper with this exact weight, instead try to find something close to it.
Cardstock comes in all sorts of sizes and qualities. Also, this is important, not all paper sorts behave the same. Some may crack when you fold them, others are hard to use with double-sided tape and only work with glue. It’s a matter of trying and doing experiments. There’s a different type of paper for every project. But to get you started, we’ve selected all sorts of paper and grey chipboard to make solid and strong covers for your work.
Glue & Tape
For concepts, it’s nice to use artist’s tape. You can draw on it, replace it when you’re very careful, and most importantly, the paper material that this tape is made of, behaves almost the same as a paper fold. So perfect for quick pop-up concepts. For glue tabs in final builds, you can use double-sided tape or glue. Our favorite double-sided tape is the Scotch yellow package. It’s “sheetless” double-sided tape that is always ready to grab. When it comes to crafting with children, we recommend Elmers glue because it’s easy to use and strong enough to do the job.
Picking the right tools that fit your style may be a matter of time and experience. But one thing is for sure, every Paper Engineer uses a self-healing cutting mat. It keeps your knives and work sharp and fresh. And speaking of knives, a pair of scissors is great to have on the side for quick shavings and adjustments. Make sure to dedicate your scissors to only paper to keep them sharp. And also make sure to have plenty of X-acto knife blades ready. They do wear out and need to be replaced whenever they lose their sharpness or when the tip breaks.
You will always need a ruler to make a pop-up but what is the best ruler for all your projects? The answer is more than one. A plastic ruler is great for scoring lines. A metal ruler is perfect for cutting (never use a plastic ruler for cutting!) and you may also need a circle template for hubs and pivots. Or maybe that submarine window that you want to cut out? There are rulers that start measuring directly from zero, and rulers that have both inches and centimeters. And in case you need a bit of grip on your paper for precision cutting, you may need a ruler with non-slip rubbers on the back.
Scoring & Folding
Scoring lines is a precision job. When a fold isn’t straight, your pop-up will never work the way you want it to. So for a nice fold, you first score a line using a tool with a blunt tip. Also, to make folds super sharp, you can flatten them using a bone folder. These are the basic tools that will help to work more precisely. When you’re making a lot of cards and covers, a scoring board may come in handy too.
Time for artwork! Adding color and outlines to your work is always the most fun because it brings the pop-up to life. Using markers and micron pens is a great way to make your pop-ups pop. Always make sure to test your markers and pens on a scrap piece of paper before applying it to your final work.
Taking your work to another level? You may also level up your gear. Using a laser printer for example, for crisp prints that don’t moist your paper. Or a silhouette paper cutter. Great for quick pre-cutting that saves a lot of time (make sure to check reviews on YouTube first). Also a scanner for digital tracing and a magnifying glass for precision work. It’s all in our list of advanced tools!
Of course everyone has their own preference for tools and materials to work with so we hope that this selection of products will help you find the right supplies. Basically everything you need is on this page and although you don’t need much to make a pop-up, you can just be as creative as you want!
How to make a pop-up book
On this page you’ll find all steps that are needed to create and publish your own pop-up book. A detailed step-by-step guide to get you started with your pop-up book project. View page…
Pop-up video tutorials
There are a lot of great video tutorials to find on the Internet that teach you how to make a pop-up. Start with the basics or just pick a nice pop-up design to create yourself! Watch tutorials…
Books about making pop-ups
Books are perfect to learn more about paper engineering and making pop-ups. From pop-up techniques to pop-up templates, you can find them all in our book selection. View books…