Duct Tape Art

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Introduction: Duct Tape Art

Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest

Second Prize in the
Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest

This wasn't too difficult, and the more detail you put in, the better the result.

Patient people will be good at this!

Dont forget to vote for me in the duct tape and cardboard contest! Thanks!

Date made: Feb 2013
Approx cost: £5
Approx Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Step 1: Things You Need

1. Duct tape (I used white, silver and black)
2. A piece of cardboard
3. A knife
4. Computer/printer

Step 2: Find Picture

Find a picture that you like. Something with high contrast and big areas makes it easier.

I found a cool picture of John Cleese that I liked.

I guess I should give credit to the original image under fair usage. It came from the Guardian.co.uk website and is credited to: Cine Text/Allstar.

Step 3: Quantise Picture

Use a program that you are familiar with to turn the image in to the right number of colours.

There is normally a function called posterise. That is the function you want. This is the case on paint.net and photoshop. You might want to apply an average noise filter reduction first to smooth the image too. 

I actually used an iPad app to do this (see comments for details), but it can be done in pretty much any paint software. If you don't have any paint software paint.net is free and fairly easy to use. 

I chose 3 colours. Generally paint software lets you choose the limits if each colour. Try to get a good balance.

Print out at least 2 copies. 1 for cutting through, and 1 for reference when separating layers later. I printed 4 just in case I made a mistake.

Step 4: Lay Down the Colour Base

Get your piece of card and stick down strips of white duct tape. Start in the middle and work out so that you have even strips on either side and aren't left with a small slither one end.

Next use your knife to trim the edges.

Repeat this with your next colour, but lay the tape at 90 degrees to the last set. This will help you when you strip the separate layers later.

Step 5: Cut Picture

Stick your template to your cardboard. My cardboard was A4 and so was my picture, so I just lined it up and used some duct tape on either end to fix them together.

Then start cutting! Get your knife and follow the template.

You need to gauge how hard to press the knife. You need to press hard enough to get through the duct tape but not go through the card. That's probably the hardest part. You can always practice before hand.

You don't need to follow the lines exactly, but like I said before the more time and detail put in to it, the better the result (or so I think). If you look at the finished picture you can see the shadow on the left of his face I did with a smooth curve, on the right I followed a rougher line. Decide which you think is best, and go with that method!

Once your done, remove (what's left of) your template. This will leave you with a 1 colour picture with lots of cuts in it!

Note: A craft knife would have been much easier than the knife I used, so get the best knife you can!!

Step 6: Peel Off the Layers

This part can be tricky, just be patient!

Start peeling off the layers you don't want. Use the spare print out as your reference so that you know which bits to peel off.

I found pulling the duct tape off at a 45 degree angle was best, so as not to pull off the layer below at the same time.

Use your knife on its side to start any fiddly bits.

Remember not to peel off too many layers!

Keep your knife handy as there are bound to be bits which haven't cut quite right, just cut them as they go.

Best advice is to take your time!

Step 7: Enjoy

Now you have your finished picture you can put it in a frame, send it as a birthday card or if you thought about it before starting, you could do it on the front of a school book or something.

2 People Made This Project!


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I guess I should give credit to the original image under fair usage. It came from the Guardian.co.uk website and is credited to: Cine Text/Allstar.

The app I used was called "poster me hd lite". The free/lite one won't let you save the image, but you can take a snapshot of the screen (press power and home together) and crop the part you want anyway!

This app will only let you have 2 or 3 colours. If you want more, you will have to use some computer software.

I just saw this and I think it would be really neat to do this for my fiance, but I'm still not sure how to do that. Can you please help ??

Which part are you struggling with? Let me know, and I will help as best I can.

This instructable might help some people with the posterise computer step:


If the contest would still be on, you would of got vote! Sooooo awesome

you got my vote! this is really really neat!

When we saw this we said, "What an Artist!" I've never seen this tecnique before. One commenter said it's not new, but who cares? It's new to me and I'm 53! Thanks for educating me. I love the arts. (Oh, wait. I'm 56, but the other rymes! Tee. Hee.)