Adventure Pop-Ups!

Written by Jordan Blandino, bike mechanic and adventure-artist at our Santa Rosa store.

DIY pop-up illustrated book of a person bicycling through trees.While I might not be able to get out on new adventures for the moment, I have plenty of time to reflect on some of the great adventures I have undertaken in the last few years. Scrolling through photos of previous trips, I am taken back to some very special places and moments. I can almost hear my bike tires crunching on the dirt roads of expansive dried-up lake basins of eastern Oregon. I can nearly feel the cold wind whipping through Tahoe pines as I try to make it to camp before the alpenglow of the setting sun is gone for good. I can practically hear waves crashing on the cliffs below yet another stunning vista on the California Coast. Hell, I swear I can feel ticks crawling up my legs as I pushwhack my bike through the tall grass of a phantom trail in Henry Coe State Park. (Don’t always trust GPS!) Places so incredible in their scale and beauty… places I may never ever find myself in again.

Bike rolling over dirt.Sheltering in place has given me lots of time to dedicate to working on personal projects. While I can usually find reasons to procrastinate or distract myself from finishing projects, these days I don’t have such an easy out. I’ve been a doodler and a tinkerer as long as I can remember. Like many, my interest in my hobbies has fluctuated over the years. Without the excuse of anything else to do, what better way is there to combine some creative energy with my wanderlust than to create tangible memories of “the good times?” 
There are many resources for how to make pop-up books and cards so I will not attempt to make a step-by-step instructional on how to craft your own. Instead, I wish only to provide some inspiration. Whether you consider yourself to be artistic or not, there is certainly a pop-up mechanism that you can create and feel proud of. They are fun, always unique, and do a great job of taking up large amounts of time. They also make fantastic gifts, and nothing beats the excitement of opening one for the first time! 

A few tips:

-Be patient! There is a certain amount of precision required and rushing is not the answer (plus, what are you going to do with all that time you saved?) The more you do it, the faster you’ll get at it. 

-Make miniature, functional examples of the mechanism you are constructing before committing to the “real” thing. It’s a great opportunity to reveal any issues that you will need to consider regarding functionality, spatial relationships, and effectiveness.

-You don’t need to be an “artist” to create awesome pop-ups! They are firstly mechanical in nature. You’ll be surprised with how successfully a simply drawing can serve to create your desired effect. 

-Great for all ages and experience levels! We can all learn from each other!

-Goes great with music, podcasts, and audiobooks! 

Final Thoughts:

Life is uncomfortable and uncertain at the moment, but it is not completely out of our hands. If you do nothing, nothing happens. Stay busy. Try something new. Stay positive and be well!

Pop up book illustrated with a biker riding over a road


  • Karen says...

    I love these. So fun!

    On April 01, 2020
  • mariav says...

    Bravo! you have inspired me.

    On March 31, 2020
  • Jeffrey Ramirez says...

    Incredible! I really appreciate the details!

    On March 31, 2020
  • Darcy Ellsworth Yow says...

    LOVE these! Thank you for sharing!

    On March 30, 2020
  • Stu Nuttall says...

    Fargin rawsome Tucker! Stew.

    On March 30, 2020

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