Tunnel Books Made our Narration 3 Dimensional!

Tunnel books form 3 dimensional pictures made from cut out layers stacked on top of each other, almost like a peep show!

I thought this would be a creative way to illustrate the overcrowded immigrant cities we read about in our Sonlight  American History studies.  (Busy hands while I read aloud …smile)

Here’s a 4 frame tunnel book tutorial:

  • I prepared 4 frames, each one slightly wider than the next.
  • We looked at photographs and pictures to plan each frame.
  • I suggested that the objects become slightly smaller on each frame and that some objects stick out into the inside of the frame. (You’ll notice the sizes decrease in the tunnel book above and really create a sense of depth!)
  • The girls illustrated and cut around the inside details.

    4 frames with 2 concertina strips

  • They placed this frame over the next wider frame and planned where to place their new objects that would stick out.  Objects that joined across the frame looked really good!  They planned new details to show where the top frame would not hide them.  They drew a few pencil lines around these and illustrated the new frame.
  • Once they drew and cut around the 2nd frame, they placed this on the 3rd frame and repeated this on the 4th frame.
  • We did not cut out the middle of 4th frame, but  illustrated the centre as the background of the picture.
  • We folded 2 concertina to have 4 folds each and pasted each page on the folds on both sides.

    Matching each frame to a fold on the concertina

  • Viola!  A 3 dimensional tunnel book!

And it was such a lovely creative project,

and really easy!


  • This would be done best on cardboard or stiff paper.  We did ours on plain paper, but it worked well.  It will not be bulky in our notebook folders.
  • Coloured card or paper would be lovely.  We started with black pen outlines and felt that this was detailed enough.
  • Use just 4 layers: one is the front cover and the 4th is the background.  You could add as many as you need.
  • You could make this tunnel book into a card and include narrations or notes inside the card.
  • Moms could make a simple template for younger children to cut and colour and paste into a tunnel book.
  • You need not have 4 frames.  Instead use a front frame, the next 2 layers just make some sides and paste these against a 4 layer which could be a full photo or picture.
  • Be creative and adapt the idea to suit your child’s age or the concepts you want to include in the tunnel book.
  • You could use 4 photocopies of the same picture or photo and layer these on each frame in the same way that people make 3D pictures with the same picture mounted above the previous one.
  • Have fun!

More tunnel book ideas on the net:

at instructables.com,

a fantastic gallery of great tunnel books,

another gallery,


a pdf of a zig-zag version,

and this beautiful easy photo tutorial.

I especially loved the map/ globe tunnel book

Could we use this in Geography?  Weather systems, atmospheric layers, soil and rock layers …

Or what about life cycles or ecosystems in Biology and Natural Sciences?

Cell structure? Zoology of a pond? …

Or a scene from a play/ poem/ story?  Characters, scenes, plot?

I’m tickled to think of all the other possibilities …

And you?


12 thoughts on “Tunnel Books Made our Narration 3 Dimensional!

  1. Agree with the others, simply amazing! You really do get the crowded feeling. Thanks for sharing yet another wonderful idea.


  2. Pingback: Fun Ideas for Creative Homeschooling | Homeschool HUB

  3. Pingback: Fun Ideas for Creative Homeschooling | Practical Pages

  4. Pingback: Random Bites | mysunnysideuplife

  5. Pingback: Playing with Poetry « Practical Pages

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.