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How to make a pop up art journal

Hello lovelies! It’s Ashley here with a fresh new tutorial. As you know, fairy tales are full of ups and downs, twists and turns, trials and triumphs, much like our own lives. So, as the Season of Fairy Tales comes to a close, I thought it would be interesting to explore our own personal stories. I believe we all have a story to tell, no matter how mundane we think our life is, we’re all on a different journey with varied experiences. Sharing our story can be healing and inspiring, and it also creates connections and fosters understanding.

Today, follow along with me to create your own mini pop-up book, and let your story unfold.

4 Basic Pop-Up Techniques

Here, I am sharing four basic ways to make a pop-up. First, I’d like to note this is my very first video tutorial (Eek!). So, if anything in the video is unclear, I have also included the instructions for each technique below. You’ll see I started with one single sheet of paper and divided it into four separate pages to demonstrate each technique. Once you view all the techniques you may make as many pages as you’d like for your own mini book.

Converging Counterfold

First, fold your page in half.  Now, make one cut inwards from the folded edge of the page. Make a triangular-shaped flap and fold it over both directions to create a clean crease. Then, open up the page and push the flap through to the inside. This technique will form a triangular or “beak” shaped pop-up.

Parallel Counterfold

First, fold your page in half. Next, make two cuts parallel to each other from the folded edge of the page. Fold the tab/flap back and forth creating a clean, crisp crease. Open up the page and push it through. This technique will form a “box” shaped pop-up.

Basic V-fold

For this technique, you will be adding a pop-up element to the base page. First, fold your base page in half. Next, take a separate piece of paper no bigger than your base page and fold it in half. Then, fold a tab at the bottom and crease. Snip a small corner from the bottom of the tab towards the folded edge. This will create a V-fold with two tabs to glue down. Use a small dab of glue and spread it along the first tab. Line up the V-fold with the crease of your base page, and glue the first tab down where you want it to be positioned. Close the V-fold and add glue to the other tab. Then, close the base page on top. When you open the page, it will look like a wall rising on the page. Once you practice this fold, you can make it any shape you’d like and even add several to one page. Some ideas to consider are a castle, a cityscape, or a field of flowers.


This technique is my favorite! Once again you will be adding a separate pop-up element to the base page. First, fold your base page in half. Next, take a separate piece of paper that will fit nicely within your base page, and cut a spiral shape. You can clean up the edges and snip the ends if you’d like. It all depends on your preference and the design you envision. Next, glue down one end of the spiral on the right side of the base page. Then, place a tiny bit of glue on top of the other end of the spiral and fold the left side of the base page over top. When you open the page you will see a winding spiral pop-up over the page. As you reflect on your story, you may imagine this element becoming a roller coaster, a snake, or even a sea monster!

Note: You can use these techniques directly in your art journal as well. In this case, a page in your art journal will serve as the base page. Just use a separate sheet of paper for each technique, and be sure to line up the fold of the pop-up with the crease in your journal when gluing it down.

Assembling Your Pop-Up Book

Now it’s time to assemble your pop-up book.  As you’ll see in the video, all you need is a tape runner (a glue stick will do too) and a separate piece of paper, slightly larger than your pages, for the cover.

Thank you for watching and following along! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and please feel free to share anything you create with me.

A Mini Pop-Up Book Tutorial

A Mini-Pop-Up Book Tutorial

A Mini Pop-Up Book Tutorial

A Mini Pop-Up Book Tutorial

A Mini Pop-Up Book Tutorial


Action Steps


What’s your story? Create a mini pop-up book and share your story to uplift and inspire.


For a complete guide to pop-up design, check out Pop-Up Design and Paper Mechanics by Duncan Birmingham.

Ashley Rodgers

Ashley is just an artsy-craftsy kinda girl trying to make it in the world. She loves everything from scrapbooking to sewing and art journaling to jewelry making. Her motto is “Make it ’til you make it. And then make some more.”


  1. Melody Willoughby

    Ashley, great job on your first video! I am still too chicken to try video yet. The little pop-up mini book is delightful.

  2. Katie Smith

    I love these ideas Ashley!! Also, your video looks great!

  3. Elizabeth D.

    I cannot wait to try this! I always loved pop-up books as a kid!

  4. Lesley Watson

    Thank you for the video. Hard to believe it was your first! I’m away to try and make one now.

    • Lesley Watson

      Did it! Not as beautiful as yours but I really enjoyed making it. Now in an envelope in my journal.

      • Ashley Rodgers

        Yay! Thank you, Lesley! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I’m sure it’s lovely. And how wonderful you’ve found a place for it tucked in an envelope in your journal, like a special keepsake. Love that!

  5. Maura Flood

    This is terrific, Ashley. I can’t wait to put some pop-up pages in one of my journals. Thanks for sharing your clever ideas.