Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait

At Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab, I’m all about crafting sustainably. I’ve been playing around with ideas on how to utilize pictures and decided to try a portrait cut into cardboard. What could be more sustainable than upcycling a piece of cardboard from a box? It’s easy on the pocketbook too because the cardboard is free!

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 025_BOF.jpg

I found this picture of Austin Powers on the internet and sized it to print 8 1/2″ x 11″. However, you could utilize the same technique and use your own photograph by converting a colour picture to black and white using the threshold settings in photoshop (see ‘Working with Your Own Headshot Photo” further ahead).

austin powers.jpg

The corrugation adds to the contrast, so decide whether you want the lines running vertically or horizontally (I chose vertical for mine).

I first changed the grey in the internet picture to white in photoshop because I wanted a two-tone effect.

Watch the groovy video (and subscribe while you’re at it!) then continue reading to get your craft mojo on!

What you Will Need

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Painters tape
  • Printer
  • X-acto knife
  • Sculpting tools (as shown below)
  • Pencil
  • Curved scissors

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait_BOF.jpg

Print Black and White Image

Print your picture. I mirror-imaged it first because I initially thought I could flip it upside down on the cardboard and use a pencil to trace the image onto the background. I thought the printer ink would show up if I pressed hard enough but unfortunately that didn’t work out.

I thought of using carbon paper, but couldn’t find it. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t because it would inevitably show up on the finished piece if I didn’t cut accurately. I even tried rubbing pencil on the back and then tracing, but the pencil just smudged everywhere!

Instead, I cut out some of the white areas with a curved pair of scissors, then taped the image to the cardboard with painters tape. I cut right around and through the paper with an X-acto knife. Even though I ended up using the mirror image of the original picture, I wasn’t too fussed about it.

When you place your image on the cardboard, don’t forget to position it so it lines up either horizontally or vertically with the corrugated lines. When done, remove the paper. The image below shows the faint image you’ll get after cutting. It doesn’t look like much now, but it will!

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 005_BOF.jpg

Go Over Again

Ensure that all your cuts have pierced through the top layer. Go over any areas that didn’t get cut through with the X-acto knife, paying particular attention to the corners and small details so you won’t have any problems lifting the top layer.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 011_BOF

Remove Top Layer of Cardboard

Start with large areas first and then do the details. Insert the sculpting tool underneath an edge and use it to help lift the top layer of cardboard, exposing the corrugation beneath.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 008_BOF

When trying to lift around areas you want to keep, bridge across the area with the sculpting tool, as shown, and slide it along to prevent breakout.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 013_BOF

My sculpting tool had a double end (flat and offset). The offset end shown below comes in handy for running along the corrugated lines to remove the glue and help lift the top layer.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 015_BOF

Take Your Time

Go slow and work on each area at a time; you may need to use the X-acto knife on occasion too so keep it handy.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 018_BOF

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 019_BOF

Add Text if Desired

A picture of Austin Powers wouldn’t be complete without a catch phrase! I printed out the text on white paper, cut the letters out and arranged them.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 021_BOF

I use a pencil to lightly trace around each letter and then cut them with the X-acto knife. I used a ruler to help with the straight lines, then free-handed the rest.

Consider the font style when making your selection; a non-serif font such as Arial would probably be more legible, but I wanted to experiment.

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 022_BOF

Yeah Baby, You’re Done!

Clean up any stray bits of cardboard and you’re done!

Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait 028_BOF

Now onto using your own photograph!

Working with Your Own Headshot Photo

This would be a fun project to do if you have photos of members of the family that you want to use instead of pulling something off the internet. It’s just like making a stencil!

You’ll need a high res photo and graphic software program, such as Photoshop. Note that I’m using Photoshop CS5.5; the whereabouts of each feature in your version may be slightly different.

If your picture is not a headshot, just crop it close and make it into one.

Because I couldn’t find a high res shot of Austin, I’m going to demonstrate how to do this with a picture of Kiera Knightly. Here’s the step-by-step:.

Step 1. Open your colour picture in Photoshop. Use the lasso tool (or any other tool you’re comfortable with) to outline the headshot.

Step 1_Kiera.jpg

Step 2. Go up to the toolbar and click Select / Inverse.

Step 2_Kiera.jpg

Step 3. Delete the Background.

Step 3.jpg

Step 4. Copy the layer (Ctrl J on a PC or Command J on a Mac). I like to keep the original as-is just so I can always refer back to it if I have to.

Step 4.jpg

Step 5. Click on Image / Adjustments / Threshold in the toolbar.

Step 5.jpg

Step 6. Adjust threshold so you have a good balance of detail. Mine ended up being 103, but yours might differ.

Step 6.jpg

Step 7. On the toolbar, click Filter / Filter Gallery / Cutout.

Step 7.jpg

Step 8. Soften the lines in Cutout by sliding the bars for Number of Levels, Edge Simplicity and Edge Fidelity. I used 2, 0 and 1 for my settings but yours may differ.

Step 8.jpg

Step 9. Finished ‘stencil’ is ready to print.

Step 9.jpg

Next up on Craft Rehab, I’ll be showing you how to do a Pop Art Portrait and turn it into a one-of-a-kind serving tray, so subscribe if you don’t want to miss it!

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Here are a few of the things you may have missed if you haven’t yet subscribed:

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  1. Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
  2. Paint Can Water Feature
  3. Paint Stick Pallet
  4. Blue Jean Planter
  5. Paint Chip Portrait
  6. Main Page to explore more….

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One thought on “Yeah Baby! Turn a Headshot Photo Into a Cardboard Portrait

  1. Pingback: How to Hide an Electrical Panel in a Finished Basement | Birdz of a Feather Home

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