Tiger Pop-up

The word 'pop-up' is used for a three-dimensional book, and the design and creation of such books is known as paper engineering. A lot of research goes into making a pop-up book! It is very difficult for artists to visualize the artwork that has to be rendered for every piece of the pop-up and it has to be engineered perfectly for the mechanisms have to work. After the initial research and sketches are done, work on creating the 'prototypes' begins. Each of the piece that goes to make a pop-up, will have its own sketch and art work. Reinhart makes his own paper for the artwork in his books using acrylic paint on marker paper!

A 'prototype' is a mock up of the pop-up while a 'dummy' is the complete book with all the pop-up prototypes. Dummies are made to test how each of the pop-up piece in the book will work, and to fine-tune the pop-ups. This also ensures that the page will open and close properly as they are supposed to. This will be submitted to the publisher for approval. After which, Printer’s sheets also called as Nesting sheets are printed. It is at this time that die-cut lines and texture is added all the pieces. The process of putting the different parts of the pop-up together is nesting. The entire process of creating these books is a perfectly orchestrated event. Each of the pop up in one spread in a book is individually put together and all these spreads are then bound together by hand.

Based on:

The Jungle Book adapted, illustrated and engineered by Matthew Reinhart


  • Ruler
  • Paper clip or ballpoint pen that has run out of ink
  • Scissors
  • White glue (Such as Elmer's glue)



Hint: It’s easier to color in and/or decorate your pop-up pieces before you cut them out!

Some of the folding techniques we will use in this pop-up:

Using a ruler as a guide, take the rounded end of a paper clip (or ballpoint pen that has run out of ink) and press along all the dotted lines of the pop-up pieces and card.

Carefully cut out the pop-up pieces and card following the solid, black outlines.

Mountain fold the tiger’s body in half along the dotted line.

Cut along the solid black line to form the lower jaw.

Valley fold the lower left tab and unfold it.

Repeat valley fold on the right tab.

Push the tiger’s lower jaw forward along the middle fold you made before.

Push the center fold above the tiger’s jaw, making it a valley fold.

Fold the tiger’s arms towards you, creating valley folds. At the same time, fold the bottom tabs upward. Part of the tabs’ folds will fold toward you, creating mountain folds along little “V-folds”.

Continue folding until the tiger is valley folded in half (the art is on the inside) all the way. The arms should be pointing forward, and his jaw is folded inside. Set this body piece aside.

Mountain fold the tiger’s head in half.

Cut along the curved black line to form the tiger’s nose.

Unfold the tiger’s head slightly. Push inwards on the mouth until it creates a valley fold.

Fold the head all the way closed. The mouth will fold inside the head.

Unfold the head. Valley fold the tab on the left and unfold it.

Valley fold the tab on the right and unfold it. Set this piece aside.

Valley fold the card in half along the dotted line and unfold it again.

Spread a small amount of glue on the two areas marked “glue here A” and “glue here B” on the card.

Match the tabs on the bottom of the tiger’s body to the “glue here A” and “glue here B” shapes on the card. Make sure the center fold on the body lines up with the center fold on the card!

Press the tiger’s body flat against the card. Press down firmly on the tabs until the glue dries.

Close the card and open it again to make sure the tiger’s body is lined up and folding correctly along all the dotted lines.

Put a small amount of glue on the body piece in the areas marked “glue here C” and “glue here D” (near the ears).

Match up the tabs of the tiger’s head to the “glue here C” and “glue here D” shapes

Press the tiger’s head flat. Press the tabs down firmly until the glue dries.

Slowly close the card to make sure the head is glued on correctly and folding along the dotted lines.

Congratulations! Your tiger popup is now completed.

More pop-up activities are available on websites of artists Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.