Pop Up, and The Beatles

The Beatles Musical Pop Up_CoverWhen I was a kid, one of my most prized possessions was The Beatles: Musical Pop Up. I still have it. It has a strange, somewhat incomprehensible text, and the pop ups are rudimentary compared to the likes of Robert Sabuda, but there’s something fabulous about seeing the Beatles in illustrated pop up form. On the last page, which depicts the group’s final rooftop performance, a musical chip the size of a match box plays ‘Hey Jude.’ In 1985, that was epic.

The Beatles Musical Pop Up_InteriorSome years ago, I was at a publishing party where I spoke to a gentleman who, I discovered through our conversation, was an instrumental player in the creation of The Beatles: Musical Pop Up. He told me that the music chip was the first of its kind in a book, and that when the bulk shipment arrived in the port, he received a call saying that the dock workers were abusing the cartons. The musical chip had malfunctioned and every musical chip in every book in every carton on every pallet was playing ‘Hey Jude’ at a different time. It was driving the dock workers mad.

Sometimes I flash on this story when I read about or come in contact with an enhanced electronic book. What can be accomplished in the confines of two hard covers is where the magic’s at, perhaps precisely because you can see (and sometimes hear) the effort.  

Here is a beginner’s pop up project.


  • Heavy paper
  • Something to draw or paint with
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Construction paper


Cut and fold a piece of heavy paper into the size of a greeting card, i.e. around 4 x 6” folded.Card_1Decide what element you want to pop up (a character, object, etc.) and the background for it.

Draw or paint the pop up background on the upper portion of the splayed open card, and draw or paint the ground of your pop up scene on the bottom portion of the splayed open card.

Draw or paint your pop up element, making it around 2 x 2”. (It’s best to provide a child with a piece of heavy paper that is around 2 x 2”, so that the parameters are set for them.) Cut out your pop up element.  

Close your card and cut two parallel lines near the middle around 1.5” to 2” apart and about 1.5” deep.Cut_7

Open the card, push the cut portion through to the inside of the card, and crease the top and bottom of the cut portion, so that you have a platform.

Glue your pop up element to the front of the platform and let it dry.

Fold construction paper around your card and trace. Cut out the construction paper, adhere glue to the back of your card, and affix your card to the construction paper, being careful not to glue your pop up card together.

Pop Up!

Pop Up_Eliana_11

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The Beatles: Musical Pop Up. Concept by Rob Burt and Michael Wells; illustrations by Mike Peterkin and Pete Campbell; paper engineering by Ian Honeybone; production by Graham Brown for Brown Wells and Jacobs Ltd. 1985 edition published by Bonanza Pop Up, distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc. © Brown Wells and Jacobs Limited. London 1985. First published in Great Britain by Orbis Publishing Limited.


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