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Richardson Collection of Movable Books: Education and Resources

This guide provides information on the Richardson Collection and movable books. Enjoy!

What is a Pop-Up Book?

The term pop-up book is often applied to any three-dimensional or movable book, although properly the umbrella term movable book covers pop-ups, transformations, tunnel books, volvelles, flaps, pull-tabs, pop-outs, pull-downs, and more, each of which performs in a different manner. Also included, because they employ the same techniques, are three-dimensional greeting cards. “These are books that contain text or illustrations that can be moved or manipulated, more than in the turning of an ordinary page. They are also called ‘action books’ or ‘special effects books’.” Some examples include: 3-D books, Board books, Glow-in-the-dark books, Lift-the-flap books, Light-up books, Pop-up books, Puzzle books, Scented books, Sound panel books, Sticker books, textured books, and Toy books.

Many people associate the Eastern art of folding paper forms, called origami, with techniques of paper engineering. Few origami structures are designed to more - most are static- and thus, movement differentiates pop-ups from origami. 

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What is Paper Engineering?

Paper engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the usage of physical science (e.g. chemistry and physics) and life sciences (e.g. biology and biochemistry) in conjunction with mathematics as applied to the converting of renewable raw materials into useful and valuable products.

As it relates to books, paper engineering is the cutting, gluing and folding of paper to create books and ephemera with pop-ups, pull-tabs, flaps and a variety of other moving parts.

The Richardson Collection includes books on how to make your own pop-up books as well!