How to Make Cardboard Cutouts From Pictures


Turn photographs into dimensional embellishments to adorn a table centerpiece, place cards or wall decorations for a holiday event or a special occasion with friends and family members. Whether you want to make personalized decorations that feature cutouts of the guest of honor for a birthday party or retirement event or produce themed embellishments for a seasonal gathering using photos of inanimate objects, a simple cut-and-paste technique will help you design the accents with ease.

Things You'll Need

  • Home photo printer, photo lab or color copy machine
  • Photo
  • Old newspapers
  • Spray adhesive
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Double-stick tape
  • Determine how large you want the cardboard photo cutout to be and use a home photo printer, a photo lab or a color copy machine to enlarge the image to the desired size. When you blow the photo up, ensure the subject reaches the proper size and not the photo itself since you'll be cutting the background away.

  • Cover a work surface in a well-ventilated area with old newspapers. Place the photo face down on the newspaper and spray the back with a light coat of spray adhesive. Press the photo onto a piece of cardboard large enough to completely cover the back of the photo.

  • Use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut the subject out of the photo. Ensure you cut closely around the edge of the image to eliminate all traces of the background for the most visually pleasing result.

  • Create a stand for the picture cutout by using scissors or a craft knife to cut a piece of cardboard that's 2 inches wide and half as tall as your cutout. Fold the cardboard in half the long way and press it down to make a strong crease. Apply a piece of double-stick tape to one side of the cardboard and press it onto the back of the cutout. You can also simply prop the dimensional photos up against objects on a table or fireplace mantel.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you cut the image from the photo with a craft knife, place a self-healing mat beneath the photo so you won't slice into your work surface. Buy the multi-layered protective mat at sewing, scrapbooking and craft stores.
  • When choosing a photo to create a decorative cardboard cutout, select a well-lit image with a subject that has well-defined edges to make it easier to cut.
  • Design personalized seat assignment cards for a casual luncheon by making a 3-inch-tall photo cutout of each guest and placing it on the plate in lieu of a handwritten place card. Invite the guests to take the embellishments home when the festivities are over as a memento of the event.
  • Never make photo cutouts from original or one-of-a-kind photos, particularly if you might need them later for another craft project. Ensure you're using a duplicate photo or color copy before you cut into the image.

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