The Pop-Up Guest Book

The pop-up guest book I’ve been working on is finally on its way to my cousin. I have to say, all modesty aside, that I was rather impressed with myself only because it was the first time I’d ever made anything like it. Other than the coming together of painting and paper-crafting techniques, it was a gift that I felt privileged to make.

I mentioned in the previous post that I had come up with the pop-up book idea and I was raring to begin. Raring to begin didn’t mean I already had something to begin. In fact, it took me a couple of days before deciding on what pop-up  to make.

test piece

What did I know about pop-ups? Except for Robert Sabuda and my fascination with anything that moved on a page, almost nothing, really. However, I wanted to make that pop-up guest book so I turned to Google and did a search for tutorials and patterns. I found one by KirigamiArt on You Tube, did a test piece, and satisfied with the outcome, proceeded to work on my pop-up wedding cake.

At this point, I hadn’t quite planned the whole project through. I have to confess that I rarely ever do. I just wanted to make the pop-up and I knew I’d have to use paper or card stock that would withstand whatever I might decide to do to it. The thing with paper is that you have to be prepared for how it might react to anything liquid. It shouldn’t buckle or warp or disintegrate. As I was looking around at my stash, the Aquarelle Arches watercolor block caught my eye. Aha!

Watercolor Paper

After transferring the design, making the cuts (this was a bit tricky because of the thickness of the paper), and scoring the fold lines, I did the folding test. Except for a few cuts which had to be lengthened, my pop-up worked and I was thrilled! The watercolor paper had enough stiffness in it for the card to remain open although that wouldn’t have mattered because it was going to be mounted onto the book cover anyway.

Starting to Decorate

I already had the boards for the cover. A few months ago, I had purchased The Cinch during a sale on HSN and it came with a selection of boards for scrapbook covers. Serendipity at its best!

But first, I wanted to decorate the “cake.” That’s the fun part even with real cakes. It was tempting to get ready-made flowers from Michael’s or JoAnn’s but I decided that the only ones I’d get were the white sprays since I knew I wouldn’t be making anything like those anytime soon. Instead, I made flowers from paper clay and the left over pieces of watercolor paper.

Adding Flowers

Making the Flowers

 Then came the discovery that with the decor, the pop-up wouldn’t be able to close as flat as a pop-up normally would. They’re never quite flat but my decorated cake wasn’t going to come close to pop-up flatness. No matter, I thought. I’d make the book look more like a box or like a cake slice! The cake slice idea was quickly discarded, though, because the proportions would have made for a really wonky looking slice.

Making the Box

I ordered book cloth from Oregon Art Supply after once again scouring the internet. Most of the sites I went to had lots of options to choose from and the prices were almost all the same. However, most of them also charged a bit too much for shipping. The Oregon Art Supply had the most reasonable rates and the book cloth arrived pretty quickly.

Now the idea for the guest book is that when it opens to reveal a pop-up wedding cake, it will also have space for the guests to sign their names. The floor of the box and the lid had lots of space but it wasn’t going to have that TA-DA! factor. So instead, I drew and painted flowers and leaves for the guests to sign and then stick on so that the cake will be surrounded by a kind of flower garden. Much more fun and you can think up of metaphors as you look at it.



I was a bit worried about how the whole thing would hold up in the mail but then one night, we had a thunderstorm and a huge gust of wind blew the opened guest book off my table along with some of the flowers that I had begun to cut. I didn’t know right away that they had fallen so it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I picked up the guest book, ready to repair any damage. It survived the fall unscathed! I just had to do a search for some of the flowers that flew away and thankfully found each and every one.

When all the flowers and leaves were painted and cut out, I packed everything in a box, found some packing peanuts I had put aside (serendipity again–my husband gave me a funny look when I said I was keeping them for “just in case”), tucked in a note with instructions for my cousin, and last Monday, went to UPS to get it sent away. I’m not posting the finished piece. I think the bride should have the first look.

What’s next? Well, there’s the Make It In Design Summer School which is taking care of any MATS Bootcamp withdrawals. It’s free and it’s keeping me going. There are competitions and submissions that I’ve tacked onto my cork board as well as projects with Christmas shoppers in mind. Most of these are not paper related and will probably end up on my other  Blog or website if you’d like to take peeks. I’m still flakey about joining the MATS Global Talent Search. I have until tomorrow to decide, so let’s see!


2 thoughts on “The Pop-Up Guest Book

    1. Thanks Debra! I get a bit too ambitious for my own good sometimes. Thank goodness this one worked out! I actually have a wedding guest album that’s been in the works for almost a couple of years now and it’s only because I’m trying to come up with a different type of “book” for every page of the album =) By the way, I visited your site and absolutely loved all that you do. Plus, I’m not much of a gardener and am always pleasantly surprised when a plant thrives in spite of me!


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