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The Kid Should See This

How can hidden castles pop up from chunks of wood?

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These burled chunks of wood conceal castle-like structures, imaginary cities that are meticulously carved to pop up and hide again.

Uli Kirchler cuts these multi-level structures from burls, bulbous tree growths. This Localish video goes behind the scenes with the Portland, Oregon-based Italian artist to see how he creates these fantastical wood pop-up sculptures.

“I’m working with woods from the Northwest. We have incredibly exotic woods here that I’m able to take advantage. Burls, the natural edge, anything with an interesting natural edge outside… I take these pieces… and then make decisions where to cut these little buildings out of.

“I use a scroll saw, tilt them on a slight angle. And because they’re tapered, instead of shooting straight out—falling straight out—they get stuck. I add some plugs on the bottom so they don’t fall out of the bottom. But one shake makes them all catapult out. And one tap, they all disappear.”

Follow Uli Kirchler on Instagram or at

Watch these related wood and pop-up videos next:
• Engineering the Perfect Pop
• Easy paper card pop-up tutorials for kids
• A wood automata submarine bustling with busy animals
Grandpa Amu creates a ‘Lu Ban stool’ from a single block of wood
• Bending sliced wood like a slinky
Tauba Auerbach’s massive pop-up book paper sculptures

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