Any birthday party is incomplete without proper decoration. When you are hosting a birthday party on a character theme the first thing for decoration that comes to mind is character cutouts.
While there are various cutouts available to purchase but you would agree they are not budget friendly. Shipping charges of life size cutouts are phenomenal and not worth. Sometimes time is a constraint too. Whatever is your reason, here is a simple and easy way to make your own character cutouts. We are taking the example of Mickey Mouse clubhouse theme with pictures of Mickey mouse and Donald Duck. You can make more characters Goofy and Minnie Mouse depending on the space available for display and the time you have to make them.
Involving your kids in making these character cutouts will make this whole project extra special. Parents have to supervise where knife and scissors are involved.
Supplies you will need:
– Styrofoam sheet ½” thick
– Sharp Knife
– Drawing Paper (suitable for Acrylic Paint)
– Tracing paper
– Craft Knife
– Cutting Mat
– Acrylic colors
– Spray varnish
– Laptop/PC with standard software Paint
– White printing paper letter size
– Scotch tape
Step by step Instructions
For step by step pictures for this project click here.
1. Find the free printable line diagram or coloring pages of the character you want to make. There are numerous free printable that are available online. You can use any of them. Try to avoid complicated designs as they will be difficult to cut on Styrofoam sheet. For Mickey Mouse I used this printable. Make sure it is a gif image. Save it on your computer.
2. Open the save image of Mickey Mouse in Software Paint, you will see the actual size of the image in the footer. Resize the image as per your need. Click on resize (change the horizontal dimension, the vertical dimension will be calculated on its own) you can do any size you want. To make a life size cutout of 42 inches select accordingly. 45 inches will suit your need.
3. Next step is to see the print preview. Click on print preview, select the size of the paper. I selected Letter. Also select adjust to 100% size. Your print will be in multiple pages. Reduce the margin to zero.
4.Take print on white letter size normal printing paper. Align the pages using scotch tape. Cut the outline using scissors or craft knife on a cutting mat.
5. Next step is to put it on Styrofoam sheet. Draw the boundary using a marker.
6.Heat your knife over a candle flame and cut the Styrofoam sheet in the shape.This gives a perfect and smooth finish to the cut. You might want to use a old sharp knife which you would be using for craft purposes only. As heating might result in the knife being black but Styrofoam sheet will be perfectly fine. There are various Styrofoam cutters available too. You can use them as well.
7. On a drawing paper suitable for use with acrylic color and of the size of the finished Styrofoam cutout, trace the Mickey Mouse cut out using tracing paper.
8.Paint with acrylic colors. Refer the pictures for details. Making the necessary highlights using a black marker is also a good idea.
9. When the paint is dry, glue the chart paper to the Styrofoam. Make sure you apply glue throughout and in thin layer. Make sure there are no air bubbles in between.
10. Once dry, spray clear varnish to make it permanent.
This technique can be used to make any character cut out for birthday parties or any theme parties. This way you can create unique, budget friendly and wonderful characters cutouts like that of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Elmo for a fantastic birthday party. Making the second cut-out is faster as by then you have mastered the technique. After the party the cutouts can be used to decorate the kids room too or you can share with your friends who might be organizing a similar theme party.
Styrofoam sheets are widely available in craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. However, I found that if you are making multiple cut-outs then Home Depot offers the best price. You can also use white foam sheets if Styrofoam is not available. In that case you will have to use craft knife instead of heated knife.