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Incredible Pop-Up Books for Grown Ups

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.

ABC3D

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.

Pop-Up NYC

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.

Lego Pop-Up

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.

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