Engineered with Paper: Architectural Pop-Up Books

Engineered with Paper: Architectural Pop-Up Books

The Sunday Paper #401

February 20, 2022

I had so much fun with 200+ of you celebrating pub day for The Art of Papercraft. Special thanks to Akua Lezli Hope for setting the mood by opening and closing the event with her poems about paper; to the team at Storey Publishing for getting this book out into the world; and especially to Susan Joy Share, who interviewed me and showed off her contributions to the book. And thanks to everyone who showed up, has purchased a book (in print or on Kindle) or checked one out from your local library. If you weren’t able to attend, you can watch the recording and make a Hexagonal Hat!

A couple of fun facts:

  • The Art of Papercraft was listed as #1 new release in papercrafts this week on Amazon (it has since fallen to #2).
  • A reader told me she checked the book out digitally from her local library (on Hoopla).
  • Another reader said she has a hold on the book from her local library (all 10 copies have been checked out).

I’d love to see your creations – if you’re on Instagram, tag me #helenhiebert, #theartofpapercraft. You can also post your renditions of the projects in my free facebook group, The Paper Studio.


I had the recent pleasure of interviewing Kelli Anderson on Paper Talk. Kelli is a designer and paper engineer whose work operates in the space between conceptual art, graphic design, and tech. Her whimsical books have featured a working paper planetarium, a pop-up pinhole camera, and a paper record player. Whenever she can, she uses humble, lo-fi materials to expose the invisible magic of the world and make abstract concepts real and tangible. Enjoy our conversation!


Wowza! Most of you know that I have a thing for Paper + Light. Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata designs intricate landscapes using layers upon layers of white paper. Some of her sculptures are miniature, whereas others are immersive installations, and all are brought to life with the play of light and shadow, which create “movement” throughout her pieces.

As featured on Colossal: All images © Ayumi Shibata, shared with permission


I’m going to start featuring one-sheet wonders here on the blog, since the projects in my book fall into that category. Please fill out this form if you have a one-sheet wonder to share!

Here’s one by Joel Stern. Envision this: stretching the model causes the eyes to blink and the mouth to open and close! Stern offers origami workshops for all ages, has published several books of original origami models, and exhibits his work internationally. He also coordinates a monthly origami workshop, Pacific Ocean Paperfolders (POP), and I’ll be folding with them on May 1st.

© 2012, Joel Stern, African Mask, 8 1/2 x 11″


If you are in Berkeley, CA this spring, check out the exhibition Engineered with Paper: Architectural Pop-Up Books. A display of pop-up books focused on the built (and sometimes imagined) environment. Traditionally bound to two-dimensional architectural representations, paper engineers construct three dimensional forms that emerge from within the book and allow the viewer to move around and through buildings, viewing plans and elevations — often simultaneously.


Paper Tidbits:

  • We explored a unique Star Box structure in The Paper Year membership program in January. Watch this video  to see the variety of paper creations. If you’re interested in joining The Paper year, you can find out more here (registration opens again in April).
  • There are two spots left in the Red Cliff Paper Retreat, held in my studio at the end of August.
  • I’ll be exhibiting at the Codex Book Fair in Richmond, CA April 10-13. I can’t wait, and I hope to see many of you there!


In the Studio:

This month is all about paper weaving, as I weave along with my amazing Weave through Winter course participants. Here are a few weavings I did this past week.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

The Art of Papercraft, The Papermaker’s Studio Guide, a film you can download, the Red Cliff Paper Retreat, and Papermaking with Garden Plants (now available on Kindle).

The Art of Papercraft


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Thanks to everyone who has already pledged your support!


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  1. Shelly DeChantal says:

    Congratulation on The Art of Papercraft coming out, Helen. Really enjoyed watching the video party. Sorry, I could make the live event. Best wishes, Shelly

  2. Thank you for catching the replay, Shelly!

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