Jan 1, 2010

Hogwarts: The Foldable School of Magic

This was a fun Christmas gift to make, mostly because I have this undying love for single-piece pop-ups. Technically, this one is made of two pieces, but the key is to create all cuts and folds from one solid piece of paper with no added adhesives to suspend the illusion. I guess you could count the additional two sheets used as a backing behind the actual pop-up, so we're at 4 pieces of paper, but that's definitely the limit here. I promise.

This is easily my most complicated pop-up so far, so I had a nice challenge to balance intricacy with stability. The more cut-outs and holes I make, the weaker the entire piece becomes. This actually makes the backings play two roles: one to simplify the silhouettes of the windows, and the other to keep the whole piece from collapsing (see top of towers in the shot above). Easter Egg Alert: I threw in Hagrid's hut on the bottom right, despite it being geographically much further than that from Hogwarts. I hope that doesn't ruin the whole thing for you diehard Potter fanatics...

The right half of the pop-up was created after I had roughed in the left half, so I used some tricks I learned earlier to make some more complicated layers, such as the church at the base of the valley.

I totally miscalculated the distance the major bridge would extend from both sides, so the two ends had to overlap considerably for the suspension bridge above to connect as well. Noted for next time.

Some more recognizable landmarks are here, including the eating hall and the living quarters. I kind of ignored the fact that the towers, when folded, would protrude behind the "sky", so I had to make appropriate holes in the backing to let it fold completely. The same goes for the little part of the hill on the bottom left.

Okay fine. I used tape here, but only because I accidentally cut the HP logo too thin and the midsection ripped off. My blisters were sore enough by this point, so I cheated a bit. At least we know that section will outlast the rest?

Here's the full rough draft composed into one shot. This is literally what I printed out, traced, and used as reference for folding (green = mountain fold, red = valley fold, black = cut), so these 8 sheets of paper helped me out the whole way. In total, there are 311 windows, arches, and cut-aways across the two pieces of paper. The dimensions are 14in tall x 16.5in wide x 8.5in deep when fully assembled. I guess I'd say the total time from drawing the blueprints to making the final fold was roughly 10 hours, half of which was spent cutting out windows. It's okay, as that day The Matrix Trilogy was on in HD, so I had some nostalgic ambiance to keep me cuttin.

And yes, they do indeed fold completely flat. The scariest and most exciting moment is when you first fold an entire piece flat, which is the same moment when you realize just how accurate your measurements were. Folding is the final step of the whole project, so there's a lot of anticipation to see if the project simply folds, let alone looks cool. Thankfully, I've recently found how helpful it is to measure things digitally, so there were no doubts of right angles going crooked or millimeters adding up to centimeters of error. The only variable factors this time around were my cutting skills, which seemed to do a satisfactory job (this judgment being gauged by the lack of additional gashes on my table).

So, hope you enjoyed, had an awesome holiday-filled week, and have a fantastic start to your new decade!