Main Project Report 2017 Part 1: Origami PopUp Book

In my WRTG 3035 class last semester, my professor arranged for the class to visit Norlin Library’s Special Collections & Archives. On display were handmade books from as early as the 16th century. There were Da Vinci sketches in giant leather bound book and small artisan books from the modern era.

I wanted to make my own interactive book with features and novelties similar to the books in Norlin’s special collections. I thought I could work with mediums such as leather or origami paper. I was even thinking about having some of the story line written on a piece of paper inside of a fortune cookie.

Overall, I knew I wanted the book to be interactive, dynamic, intricate, and beautiful. Eventually, I decided to make an origami accordion book bound together by origami.

I determined my top four constraints to be time, patience, ability, and content.

Time: Origami takes time, and I micro manage my time.

Patience: Paired well with lack of time, lack of patience could cheapen my book.

Ability: While my fingers are deft and nimble, they can only evade clumsiness for so long.

Time was my enemy, and the origami skills I gleaned took lots of time. Each page took a few hours of work between the planning, paper marbling, folding, and binding. I have little patience, and could only work on the pages for about an hour at a time before giving up, leaving my mess of paper scraps on the coffee table.

Money was not a huge constraint, since I just bought paper. It was relatively cheap, and Dr. Hertzberg lent me her water coloring kit.

I folded the pages of the book using this method:

The book pages bind themselves, by folding together and creating a paper hinge. In true origami practice, I used no glue, tape, or cuts to interlock the book pages.


Following the origami theme, two of the three scenes incorporate origami mountains, a cat and mouse.

The center scene displays an “Emerald Cityesque” Engineering Center. The green popup of the ECCR is an example of perspective, a skill we focused on in class. The Towers have a slight bend in the front to make them appear to go in different directions.

Many pages of the book incorporate marbled paper that I made. I filled a kitchen pan with about an inch of water. Then I dropped colored ink into the pan and swirled it around. Before the ink sank to the bottom of the pan, I quickly laid rice paper on the surface of the water, transferring the ink design onto the paper. I laid the paper to dry on a clothes rack in the sun. When it was dry, I ironed it on low heat. Finally, I adhered the marbled paper to pieces of origami or card stock as accents or backgrounds.


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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Gautham Govindarajan
    May 10, 2017 11:06 pm

    The final product has turned out great. I really like the colors you have chosen for the book. You have used an intriguing method for painting your book and the result look awesome. The engineering center is my favorite part your project. Great job overall!


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