When we saw Portland-based designer and art director Mengyu Chen’s paper pop-up books on Booooooom, we instantly fell in love. The minimal design and simplicity of action recalled our childhood, when craftily constructed stories sprung to life. It was a magical first encounter with animation and one we can happily relive until we’re old and gray. Lucky for us, playful pop-ups are being marketed for adult readers more frequently, and we’ve chosen a few incredibly designed books to share with you past the break. Some can be purchased and others simply admired — the handiwork of artists who similarly view the 3D books with childlike wonder. See more amazing pop-ups below.
Designer Marion Bataille created a pop-up book for typography nuts. “Each of the 26 dimensional letters move and change before your eyes. C turns into D with a snap. M stands at attention. X becomes Y with a flick of the wrist. And then there’s U… ” Preview ABC3D (complete with lenticular cover) in the video above, then pick up your own copy.
Daisy Lew felt inspired by New York City icons like the Statue of Liberty and the metropolis’ yellow taxis, and created a pop-up ode to the Big Apple. View the rest of the series on her website.
The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares
The same folks that created The Pop-Up Book of Phobias whipped up this nightmarish compendium. If you have dreams about falling or other unsettling sleep terrors, The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares is perfect to torture yourself with, featuring eye-popping versions of your worst sleepytime visions. Pick up a copy over here, masochist.
The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Pop-Up Book for Adults Only
Head back to the 1890s and delight in naughty pop-up shenanigans, Victorian-style.
Andy Warhol’s Index
Chris Cerf — who was a senior editor at Random House (co-founded by his father in 1927) — and veteran publishing insider Alan Rinzler teamed up with Andy Warhol in 1967 to create a unique pop-up book. The Random House publication included photos of celebs and 3D spoofs of Warhol’s famous artworks — like a cardboard can of Hunt’s tomato paste.
Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy
Matthew Reinhart’s geeky pop-up homage to one of cinema’s enduring classics was a book tie-in to the film’s 30th anniversary in 2007. Since then, fans of the iconic George Lucas film have been drooling over its beautifully executed designs that transport you to a galaxy far, far away.
600 Black Spots
David Carter has made an entire career out of crafting some of the world’s most artistically designed pop-up books — like this one, which focuses on sound. We’ve featured his 600 Black Spots, seemingly inspired by pop art and scavenger hunts.
Pop-Up Calendar Books
German artist Johann Volkmer took a minimalist and monochromatic approach when creating an elegant pop-up calendar that looks more like a wall sculpture (featuring 12 different designs). It’s a lot cooler than the poor excuse for a monthly planner you have sitting on your desk.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of Suspense: A Pop-up Book
The films of suspense maestro Alfred Hitchcock spring to life in Kees Moerbeek’s pop-up homage to the director. It’s a nice treat for the cineaste that likes their murder and mayhem in the form of a dizzying, dimensional pictorial — and thankfully it’s the closest we’ll ever get to a 3D version of a Hitchcock film.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation
Adapting John Tenniel’s cherished artwork, Robert Sabuda’s stunning pop-up version of the classic Lewis Carroll story is the book you should have had as a child, but can finally appreciate as an adult. Textures, patterns, and gorgeous paper engineering make this adult-approved version of Alice a keepsake.
CERN’s Proton-Smashing Pop-Up
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) created their own pop-up book to explain how the Large Hadron Collider was created — the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, AKA a physicists’ playground. It rests in a tunnel beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. The book details how the Atlas Experiment — one of the seven particle detector experiments — is part of CERN’s quest to “understand the birth of the universe.”
Image credit: OC Always
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A Pop-up Book
Wander the pop-up version of the Maine-New Hampshire woods for a while with The God of the Lost and Stephen King — because, you know, that doesn’t sound creepy at all.
Someone created this amazing Lego pop-up book — which reveals a pagoda scene inside — to make us all feel inadequate.
Haunted Philadelphia Pop-Ups
Colette Fu creates collapsible art books that combine her photography and pop-up engineering in an attempt to “eliminate the boundaries between book, installation, photography, craft, and sculpture.” This image of Philadelphia’s City Hall is from a series inspired by the former national capital’s historic architecture and haunted past.
Abandoned Lot Pop-Up
Swedish artist Andreas Johansson created photo collage pop-up series From Where the Sun Now Stands, showing various perspectives of the same abandoned lot.
Counting on the Marsh
Chicago-based artist Shawn Sheehy creates every detail of his gorgeous artist books, composed of handmade paper, linoleum block print illustrations, and delicate, hand-stitched binding.