Follow Here To Purchase The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 3: V-Folds: How to Make Pop-Ups Step-by-Step

Author: Carol Barton

Publisher: Popular Kinetics Press

ISBN:- 978-0-9627752-3-9

There is something magical about one’s first encounter with a pop-up book   – that joyful and wondrous moment when an illustration transcends the limiting frames of the flat page and comes to life before your eyes.  Few crafts so successfully combine the pleasure of handmade art with the technology of print. Fewer still are books that can coherently  deconstruct this art for the novice paper engineer. Carol Barton’s books on pop-up construction certainly belong in that last group.

The Pocket Paper Engineer Volume 3 ( PPE3) is third in a trilogy that comprehensively covers the design and construction of this most seductive of crafts, making it accessible to students of all ages. Volumes One and Two introduced the basic materials, terms and concepts  needed to master the fundamentals of pop-up construction. Volume three, which I had the pleasure of reviewing, takes its readers to the next level of complexity by focusing on V-folds, a set of versatile paper folding techniques that allow images to stand upright on the face of the page. It remains the best book I have read till date on the subject, with its unique combination of instructions, tips and DIY exercises that strengthen  paper working skills and encourage creative thinking towards three dimensional problem solving.

Starting with directions to assemble a basic V-fold, the book progressively steps up the intricacy of its exercises, each of which are accompanied by stunning hand-rendered templates that can be cut out and assembled. It is necessary to follow the sequence of the exercises in the book, as they build on techniques and ideas explained in earlier sections. I confess to feeling quite daunted the first time I flipped through this book. A week later, I face its final exercise – a cheerful little bat demonstrating the formidable Zigzag V-fold – with far greater confidence. 

PPE3 is a celebration of the small detail – from the playful,  lushly rendered illustrations ( created for this book  by Ms. Barton’s assistant, fifteen year old Eleni Smitham)  and cut outs to the numerous tips and suggestions offered throughout the book  . While I have spent the last week trying out the exercises illustrated in the book, I also found myself leafing through its pages just for the quotations from noted writers and philosophers that precede each section (My favourite – Samuel Beckett urging me to “..Fail again. Fail better.”)  And how many manuals of this kind would offer a handy pocket to store completed projects in? I also appreciated the final section on multiple editions, enabling one to think beyond just the individual project and tools at hand. One problem I did face while using this book was an utter inability to mutilate it, preferring the more laborious process of tracing out or redrawing the components of each exercise. For readers who would like to avoid that additional step, a complete set of pop-up components for this book can be purchased from Ms. Barton’s website.

PPE3 is a must-read for  every paper engineering enthusiast.

Follow Here To Purchase The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 3: V-Folds: How to Make Pop-Ups Step-by-Step