Pop-up Botany

Hello dear readers.

I’ve gathered more books about the Greek life and will post more travel tales soon. Today, it’s about pop-ups though.

On Friday I took a Pop-Up Flower Garden Card Workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I always love an excuse to visit the Botanic Garden, which is such a Chicago gem. I was not sent a supply list, but on impulse grabbed my X-Acto knife before leaving the house. I should have also brought a ruler, a cutting mat and a bone folder. Fortunately we found a sketch pad that served as my cutting surface, along with a giant ruler that scared my neighbor into loaning me a little ruler she had on hand. Another classmate threw me a bone-folder.

Shawn Sheehy provided us with cover stock in various colors, some preprinted with his flower design templates. It takes him anywhere from 3 hours to a week to engineer each of these pop-ups. Originally a teacher, he discovered paper engineering in the early 90’s and has been committed to it ever since. He now teaches nationwide.

We began cutting away and had completed 2.5 cards before lunch time.

The Bloodroot:

and the Blue Violet:

We assembled the Trillium after our lunch break.

Then we spent an hour cutting the parts for the Prickly Pear.


It was tiresome, but the assembly generated joy and surprise for all of us.

What a feat!

We finished with a Jack-in-the-pulpit, and then class was over just like that!

They all fold up nicely:

All in a day’s work!

Fortunately the Evanston Art Center is offering another class with Shawn, which I will be signing up for to learn the fundamentals of pop-up making. I can’t wait to apply these techniques on ideas of my own later this year. 🙂

Shawn also recommended this book on pop-up making.

My day was rounded out with a stroll along the lovely garden. I’ll never get tired of this place as each visit brings new discoveries, whether it be plants I’ve never heard of or the discovery of a new waterfall I hadn’t seen before. I have yet to enter the miniature railroad garden.

No matter what climate you’re in, the variety of local plant life will surprise you, so set a date to visit your botanical garden today! 🙂

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