Show Pop Up Box
Ok, its not what you think, so
get your mind out of the gutter. But the title did pique your interest,
didnt it? And this little box will pique your viewers
interest when you present it to them.
Pop up cards are a mainstay of the
greeting card business, but their heritage goes back to childrens
paper theaters, akin to Punch and Judy, and peep show boxes, which
have a much different connotation today.
Creating a scene within a small box,
very similar to those Easter eggs you peer into, creates a real
sense of intimacy with the viewer. Only one person can see whats
in side at a time. People cant help but pick something up,
and look inside to see what is hidden from their view. Its
the mystery, and intrigue that makes it exciting.
Following are instructions and templates
for you to create your own peep show pop up box. Think of it as
creating scenery for a play. Different backdrop, foreground elements,
and side panels are combined to produce the set--a series of art
panels. The construction of the box is based on the accordion. The
viewer will be able to expand or contract the box to create the
space between the art panels, and in turn create a three dimensional
scene from 2 dimensional images. This effect is somewhat hard to
describe, but once you've read through the instructions, and reviewed
the pictures you'll have a good idea of the final product.
It's up to you to choose the images
that youll use. Check the sidebar "Visual
Suggestions" for some ideas.
Exacto Knife, with sharp blades
White glue, or glue stick
Images for the art panels
Paper: You can use any color paper,
but black works best for the box and its components. Youll
need white paper to create your drawings on. If you are using photographs,
or other images, you can use black paper instead. In that case,
when the instructions below call for white paper, substitute the
black paper. If you are using magazine pages or other printed material
for you images, black paper works best so that the image printed
on the other side doesnt show through.
Youll want a good paper, like
a Strathmore, available from any art store. Dont use construction
paper; its too weak and fibrous to support the box, and the
slots and tabs youll be creating.
Black Art Paper
White Art Paper
Lets start by making the panels,
then the box.
Using white paper, cut out the four
shapes below. These shapes will become your art panels. Create your
artwork on the four art panels. Keep in mind that you can only cut
away areas within the gray border, as you need to leave a frame
to support the panels. You will cut away more material on the first
panel and less on the second and third, until you reach the last
panel which creates the background.
In this example Ive used simple
colored blocks to indicate each panels artwork. Cut off the
edges of the three rectangles, indicated by the black lines, to
make a total of 4 squares. Save those cutoff rectangles, theyll
become the side panels later.
Out of black paper, cut out the three
shapes below. These become the support panels that will be placed
inside the accordion box. Make cuts on the black lines with an Exacto
knife to make the tabs.
Glue the art panels on to the support
panels. Having the double layer of paper gives the panels additional
In order to see whats behind
a panel you need to remove areas in the assembled support panels
so that you can see the next panel behind, the panel behind that
and finally the background panel.
Cut out areas within the gray border
using an Exacto knife. Usually youll cut out areas to make
silhouettes of your images. For example, your first panel might
be a picture of a person standing in a forest. You would cut out
the forest so that the only thing left is the person. The open areas
now allow the view to see what images are on the next panel. The
next panel may be a photograph of a castle against a blue sky. You
would cut away the sky, so you would just be left with the castle.
At this point, when the viewer looks into the box they would see
a person standing in front of a castle. You need to plan carefully
so that open areas dont conflict with each other, and each
panel is visible and adds visual interest. Nothing will be cut out
of the background, so leave that alone.
This illustration shows how the panels
will be assembled into the accordion box, by matching up the lettered
slots and tabs. The background (shown in blue) is glued to the back
of the inside of the box. The illustration to the right shows how
the images will appear when looking through the boxs window.
Now its time to make the accordion
box, which will hold the panels. Using the template, cut the box
out of black paper. As indicated on the illustration, make cuts
in the paper to create the slots, in which the tabs of the panels
will be inserted. Also, cut out the window, this is where the viewer
will look into you box.
Lightly score the paper with the Exacto
knife in the location and side that is indicated on the template.
The scoring will allow you to get a perfect fold when you assemble
the box, but make sure not to cut all the way through! Now bend
the strip on the score lines to create the accordion. The score
will always be on the outside of the bend.
The box, scored and folded.
Insert tab A into slot A to complete
Now insert the panels following the
slot and tab references indicate on the templates. Refer to the
next figure for reference.
You will glue the background art panel
to the back of the box.
Now take the panels that were created
when you trimmed the orange, purple and light blue rectangles into
squares, and glue them onto the inside of the accordion box, as
shown in the illustration. Make sure to keep your lefts and rights
The reason that we didnt create
side panels for the green artwork panel, was that when you close
the box, the area where the green side panels would go would be
seen in the boxs window. Leaving them black helps keep some
The colored line in the illustration
below indicates where the images appear.
You're finished! Look through the boxs
window to view your creation. Expand or contract the accordion to
get the best view. A small triangle cut out of white paper help
orient the user to which side is up.
Close up the box, by squeezing the
accordion together, then tie with a ribbon or string, or create
a simple sleeved box out of black paper, like the one shown at the
beginning of this article. If you attempt this project, please drop
us an email, so we can see what youve created!