How can I make a cardboard cutout of myself?

Written by lillian downey
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A cardboard cutout can be a great decoration for a variety of celebrations. It can showcase the guest of honour at a party, or pay tribute to someone who has passed. It can serve as a great self-marketing tool, or add a quirky decorating flare to your room or apartment. Cutouts are great to use for party and shower games. Once all the supplies are gathered, they can be made in an afternoon.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • a life-size photo of yourself
  • a piece of cardboard as tall and wide as the photo
  • Scissors & utility knife
  • pencil
  • duct tape or hot glue
  • ruler
  • spray adhesive
  • dowel rod (can be optional)

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  1. 1

    Take or find a full-sized photo of yourself. This photo should clearly show your head, arms, hands and feet. Ideally, the photo should be taken on a digital camera with 8 or more mega-pixels to produce a clear enlargement. Review the image in a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop or Gimp to make sure the photo is bright enough, to remove red-eye and to crop or remove unnecessary images from the background.

  2. 2

    Enlarged to the size you prefer your cutout to be. Measure your height with a tape measure. Take your image to a photo centre that does enlargements. Be prepared to allow a few days to a week for your image to be processed. It is a good idea to order two copies in case you make a mistake on the first photo.

  3. 3

    Spread your enlarged photo out on a flat surface. Use your pencil and your ruler to draw a straight line under each of the feet. This makes a flat base for your image to stand upon, and will be the edge that touches the floor.

  4. 4

    Start cutting by removing large areas of excess photo, then trim away the smaller areas closer to the edges of the body. Do not cut out the area in between the legs. This will give your picture greater stability when it stands up.

  5. 5

    Lay your cardboard on a flat surface and place your picture on top of it. Use your pencil to trace around the image. Move the image to the side, and coat the cardboard with a layer of spray adhesive, spraying only inside the lines your traced. Glue your image to the cardboard, starting from the bottom and working toward the top, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Attaching the photo to the cardboard and then cutting it out is much easier than also cutting out the cardboard and tying to match both together.

  6. 6

    Use scissors or a utility knife to cut out the cardboard and the image. Save the scraps of cardboard to create the stand.

  7. 7

    Create the stand. Use a dowel rod to prop up the cutout like a picture frame. Flip the cutout over and line the dowel rod up with the centre of the bottom edge. Use your pencil to mark where the top of the rod meets the cardboard. Make a cardboard flap by cutting out a square from the scrap cardboard, about 4 inches by 4 inches. Fold the square in half. Glue or duct tape the flap with the seam facing up, to the pencil mark you made. Glue or duct tape the rod to the underside of the flap. This will allow the rod to adjust in or out.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray adhesive can me messy and should be applied on sheets of newspaper, a dust sheet or outside.
  • Call an appliance store for refrigerator boxes if you cannot locate cardboard.
  • A second stand option is to cut three pieces of cardboard into strips 14 inches long by 4 inches wide. Cut a 3 inch long slit into each 4 inch wide section at the middle point. Slide the cutout into each slit, positioning one at each end and one in the middle. You may need to widen your slits if the cutout won't fit into them. You can also reinforce your stand by attaching it to your cutout with duct tape or hot glue.
  • Use spray adhesive in a well ventilated area to avoid breathing in fumes.

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