School Portrait Costume

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Introduction: School Portrait Costume

About: Former Instructables employee. Living in San Francisco amidst the fog. I love getting my hands dirty by taking on new projects, developing unique skills and learning fun facts.

In need of an easy, quick, and funny costume? Get old-school and make yourself into a school portrait. In just an afternoon, and with the help of a thrift shop / clothes hidden in the back of your closet, you get a second chance at elementary school. 

Plus, you'll gain respect on the playground this year after your mom springs the extra $4 for a laser background....

Step 1: Print Background

I've saved you the hard work with photoshop, and have attached the pre-sliced images of this rad laser background. I used a 24x32 sheet of corrugated plastic, so this is sized to fit with a little bit of wiggle room. Cardboard would also work fine as a backing. 

Simply print out these 12 images and lay them out to find where they go. Be sure to print each 100% to scale (see my screenshot for reference), without letting your printer re-size to fit the page. Chop and glue each piece to each other first. Then, once satisfied with your paper sheet, carefully use spray adhesive to attach to your backing. 

**note: there's a little bit of overlap with these images, but not much. Be sure to work meticulously so your pieces all line up. 

Step 2: Assemble

While holding up the freshly mounted backdrop behind you, have a friend mark where your shoulders and armpits are. 

Align each of those dots, and carefully cut a set of holes around each. I used zip-ties to make little loops. Then, between these two loops, I tied some yarn that matched my shirt, so I was wearing the sign like a backpack. 

Feel like adding some braces to the mix? Jeannie Mai show you how: 

And you're done! Trim any edges, throw on your retro gear, and rock out in your costume! Celebrating your success with a pudding cup: optional, but encouraged. 
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    38 Comments

    I need help!!! I can't get these images to print big. Do I select each image and print separately?

    1 reply

    Did you figure it out? I can't even download the image files!

    I can't download these laser images as pdf files? It's telling me I have to sign up for a $35 membership with instructables to download? Is that the case?

    haha reminds me of 8th grade

    I love this project!! I want to make it for my friend's bachelorette party - we'll be bringing back our late 80's early 90's middle school look!! Thanks for posting!

    You look so cute! Miss those 80s..fun time growing up in...

    This is the funniest costume!! It made me think of Glamor Shots, lol...well done!

    This is great! Oh, but Mr. Devoid, I have to say that there was ONE OTHER OPTION for school portrait backgrounds... and that was pitch black, with a spooky profile of your own face gazing heavenward.

    4 replies

    My family started School Pictures, Inc. in the 40's and it was the first and largest school picture company. The shot you are describing is called a "reflection" and I took thousands of them! Twice the work and it was really awful when the person blinked on the second shot. Got to start all over. I remember the laser background well. This is great!

    That's fantastic! I never had one of that style myself, and I recall being quite jealous of those who did in the early eighties. It seemed so classy then!

    yeah, that's a pretty awesome idea.

    YES!!! I am SO doing it but with the profile silhouette background!!! Bahahahahahaaaa

    Wow, I dated her in college. Maybe not, but a girl who wore her hair just like that; I never saw the laser background, though.

    Great costume; reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s.

    I love the idea, but a simpler way to do the background would have been to use wrapping paper.......the size should minimize cutting, too.

    Did you by any chance post a photo up on Jezebel or Gawker? I'm pretty sure I saw a photo there haha

    Such a funny costume! I love this idea!!

    This is AMAZING. One of the best costume ideas I've seen in a long time.

    Is it strange that I know how to do that background effect with an actual Airbrush?