2021WKSP-08 Star-shaped Structure with Pop-Up Faces

  • 11 Sep 2021
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom
  • 0


Registration is closed


Star-shaped Structure with Pop-Up Faces

Instructor: Helen McCusker

Location: ONLINE using Zoom

Date: Saturday, Sept 11, 2021

Hours: 1 pm - 4 pm *** Eastern time zone (Toronto/NY Time) ***

Course fee: $45 members / $105 non-members (incl. one-yr CBBAG membership)

Prerequisite: none


Presented by: GTA Chapter

Registration closes: Weds Sept 8, 2021, 11:59 PM

Please note this is a live workshop and is not recorded. The link for the Zoom meeting will be sent at the latest by Friday, Sept 10.

Learn to make paper Pop-Up Faces with a variety of features and expressions and then combine them into a star-shaped structure. We will discuss how to change angles and cuts, methods for embellishing and decorating, and other applications.

Basic paper-engineering techniques will be covered, as well as how to measure for different sizes of structures. Technical issues such as what papers and adhesives to use, and other related topics, will be covered, as well as an opening presentation of Pop-Up artworks for inspiration.

Tools Required:

Cutting Mat

Small Utility knife and/or Exacto knife

Scoring tool – an old ballpoint pen (Bics are great) with the ink cartridge removed are perfect.

Scissors - small for detail work


Pencils and erasers (H or HB for marking)


Needle and Decorative Thread (Linen, Embroidery, etc.) for embellishment.

Paper Punches

Materials Required:



Foam Core – 1/4” to 1/2” thick.

You can bond two pieces together to make it thicker if needed. A 6” square will be sufficient (or two 6” squares if you're doubling the thickness).

OR Corrugated cardboard, millboard, Eska board, or Illustration Board.

You will probably want 2 or three layers if you use these.


For the Pop Up Faces: Light-coloured papers to contrast with the Backing papers.

Japanese Papers such as Kozo – something with a bit of stiffness to hold the folds. It can be a bit translucent, such as Parchment paper (what I used in the sample), or even a heavy tracing paper. Vellum is NOT suitable as it can crack along the folds.

Or 24-30 lb photocopy paper and similar materials work well.

Test your paper ahead of time by folding a small corner back and forth to see if the surface cracks. Some scrap-booking papers do this. Ideally you should be able to make small folds cleanly and without too much bulk.

Backing Papers:  a contrasting colour/tone to the Face Paper.

65lb Cardstock, or 30-50lb paper such as Canson Cardstock or Ingres or something similar. Patterned papers work so long as the pattern is not going to interfere with the Pop up.

Decorative Papers: Any thin papers with colour or pattern.

These are optional and will be used as collage on the surface before cutting the face. They must be thin so they won't interfere too much with the folds.


White glue – with a plastic card, scraper, or glue brush for spreading it evenly.

Glue stick (I like UHU brand)

Low-tack Masking tape (green paint tape is fine)

Magic scotch tape

Any decorative tapes you want to try

Optional – Scotch brand double-sided tape (with the yellow/black label)

Reminder: this is a live workshop only - nothing will be recorded.

Online Workshop Process:

The instructor will be in contact prior to the workshop to share the meeting link and any required directions about materials preparation. Materials should be prepared in advance of the workshop which will allow participants to take the best advantage of the live format. Please review the technical requirements on the workshop registration page prior to registration to be sure you can participate.

Technical requirements for participation:

·       Access to the internet and to the Zoom application

·       Screen large enough to follow instructor’s video feed (cell phone is not ideal)

·       Microphone or Headset / Webcam

·       How to join a zoom meeting information https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193

Helen McCusker is a practicing artist with over 35 years of experience. She is a member of the Etobicoke Art Group f and an Instructor for Neilson Park Creative Centre, Visual Arts Mississauga, and Haliburton School of Art & Design. Active in the local art scene, Helen shows her work regularly at Neilson Park Creative Center, Visual Arts Mississauga, and other venues. Paper Engineering (Pop-Up) and Paper Sculpture have been a regular part of Helen’s art practice for over twenty years. She has taught many workshops to a variety of groups, amongst them – The Etobicoke Art Group, Visual Arts Mississauga, CBBAG, and private workshops.

Painting papers is one of her favourite things to do and she has a very large  and growing stash. Helen’s teaching is based on a solid understanding of paper engineering techniques and practices, and personal attention to each student. She is enthusiastic about helping students discover their potential and encouraging artistic exploration. To see Helen’s work, go to: theartfulpopup.blogspot.ca, Helen McCusker Artist on Facebook, or Helen McCusker on Instagram.

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