How to Make a Fake Xray Film

x-ray diagnosis image by Keith Frith from

If you'd like to make a bogus X-ray film -- as a gag, for a prop, or as part of a costume -- your challenge is to create a black-and-white image on plastic film. But you can't simply use transparent plastic film, because the white areas on your X-ray will look clear, not milky white.

The answer is to use a little-known product called translucent film, or backlight film. This is a white, inkjet-compatible stock that transmits light, so your bones will look the way they do on an X-ray. It's not going to fool a medical professional, but your fake X-ray should have your friends looking twice.

Set up an 11 inches by 17 inches image in your graphics software, and import an X-ray image as the background.

Modify the image in startling ways. For instance, you can "replace" the heart with an alarm clock by downloading a picture of an alarm clock, converting it to a grayscale image, then converting the image into a negative. Both conversions are usually found in the Colors menu. Cut and paste this negative image into the X-ray image as a transparent selection.

Select "Print" from the File menu, then click the "Properties" button next to the name of your inkjet printer. In the Media Type options, select either "Ink Jet Transparencies" or "Back Light Film." Also set the paper size to 11 by 17. Click the "OK" button to go back to the Print dialogue box.

Insert a sheet of translucent stock in the printer and click the "Print" button. You may need to put a little pressure on the stock to help the sheet feeder grab it.