Introduction: Duct Tape Artwork

Welcome to my instructable on Duct Tape Artwork! Before I start, if you find this instructable interesting or helpful, be sure to vote for me in the Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest and Make-to-Learn Youth Contest! 

So Duct Tape art is something that has been around for a while. This guy on youtube

has a lot of great material and suggest you check him out. There is also many other people with work out there, just check ask google! Ive been making wallets for a few years and the posters are something that I've taken interest in this summer when I decided to get a booth at a craft fair. The design itself is what i'll talk about in this 'ible because i know there are millions of instructables on wallets and such and the design aspect is what really takes your work to the next level! It can be made any size and shape, and has so many practical uses like:

  • Book Covers
  • Skateboard Decals
  • Posters/Paintings
  • Wallets
  • Cards
  • Phone Cases

So let's get started!

Step 1: Materials and Setup


Duct tape (I like to go to Jo-Anns and use the 50% off coupons they print every week)



Knive with Sharp blade

Measuring tools 
  • Rulers/ Strait edge
  • Circle Template
  • Protractor (?)

A computer and printer

Now another important thing to have is a clean workspace and good lighting. As you go along, make sure you put scrap tape in the garbage. A lot of the you cutouts will need very small features and you don't want to get mixed up between what's good and what's scrap.

Step 2: Getting Your Design Template

I find it easy to get designs by just typing something in google images and then adding "silhouette" afterwards. Often times people have already simplified many images that you can work with with Duct Tape. IF you cant find any images or just want to be creative and use your own, i found a windows program by the name of "Layer Pilot" (link at bottom) that works great for simplifying complex images. However it is a Windows only program, so if your a Mac user, sorry. I know there are many other ways of "color quantization" as its called in the image editing world, so if you know what your doing I'm sure you can do it on any OS, but that was just the software I found. Once you have an image that is a) simple enough to cut out without going insane and b) in the right colors your set to go!

When printing out a larger image (more than one page), look at it in print preview. Try and figure how big its going to be and then print all your pages. I used to lessen the contrast in order to save on ink, but it makes for a pain when trying to differentiate between the colors. 

While you're on this step, feel free to print out another smaller image for reference during the process.

Then just cut out the margins and tape them together into one large image. A straight edge is handy to have. Use your print out to figure out the size your cardboard is going to need to be. If you're thinking about adding text and such, add a few extra inches on the side. For cutting it out just use a large knife like a box cutter and a straight edge. If you have one, use a cutting matt, otherwise improvise. I cut it right on the carpeting in my basement because its really coarse and isnt going to suffer much damage. I also like the leverage of it being on the ground. Once thats set you can get taping!

Step 3: Wrap It

For starters, lay down a backing color. I chose the medium grey to fill the spot. Also, i couldn't find 502 shades of grey so i substituted a red called "Merlot Mania", partially because its my favorite color, and partly because its pretty subtle. Once youve designated colors, wrap you cardboard in the base color. Smooth out any wrinkles, make sure everything is smooth. Its always the small stuff that makes the big difference.


Step 4: Cutting, Peel, Place, Repeat.

All the notes for this step are on the pictures. However...


This process will take forever. Deal with it. Don't try and rush it or push how much you can get done in one sitting. And yes, depending on the size, it probably will take quite some time. So text people, listen to some music (alternative rock anybody?), and just stay sane! 

Step 5: Montage of 6+ Hrs.

Honestly, I find the whole process more time consuming than difficult, but all in all its really rewarding when you get the end product. After I layer the face and hair, I add text, which is something I find adds a lot to the picture. When its people usually its a quote, because I think people like quotes and they can always find a way to relate to them. It adds a certain effect thats hard to find sometimes. To get a font, just look through the ones in Microsoft Word OR you can look up fonts online and entire collections of fonts are there for you to download. The one i chose was called "KBTRoubledSoul" for reasons I don't know. Then comes a signature (by the figure on the poster) and thats all there is to it! 

I used to cover these in a clear packaging tape (Like Louis) because i figured for protection, but it adds a really annoying glare and wastes a lot of tape. Ive just stopped doing that because honestly, how much is something hanging on your wall gonna go through? I would do it though to anything that will suffer abuse like say skateboard decals and wallets.

Step 6: Conclusion

I think this is the kind of project that is so amazing, because
  1.                  Theres not a huge learning curve- If you can draw, or even trace something, this project is easily accomplishable.
  2.                  You can get Duct Tape for super cheap and Cardboard for free- so its not like some project that can only be done by those able to afford it.
  3.                 Theres no age barrier- You don't have to be old enough to work with potentially dangerous machinery or worry about hurting yourself. Anyone who can safely hold a knife is capable.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable and give it a shot!  Also once again, if you appreciated this guide, be sure to vote for me in the Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest and Make-to-Learn Youth Contest. Follow me for more 'ibles in the near future! Thanks!


Q: What did you make?

A: For this instructable I made a duct tape poster of John Lennon. It has his quote "(all were saying is) Give Peace a Chance" and his name. I made it out of purely cardboard and duct tape and used a craft knife, measuring tools, and a straight edge to do so. It took me a week working an hour or so every day after school.

Q:  How did you make it?

A: Well I got the idea for this project because John Lennon has always been an inspiration of mine, and Duct Tape is a material I'm relatively familiar with. One of my friends named Aidan loves Duct Tape too and he built a Duct Tape Boat over the summer and sailed it on lake michigan. Meanwhile I was selling wallets, trying to gain money for another project of mine, a backyard beach volleyball court. But I think just the amount of versatility in Duct Tape is what keeps bringing me back to it. As I worked on this project, I had to make a lot of changes with the color scheme and the general design, but I think it all came together in the end.

Q: Where did you make it?

A: I made this project in my room, on my antique drafting table, in the time between the theatre and school and homework. Sometimes it was difficult trying to balance things and make sure i hit deadlines for everything, including this project, but everything worked itself out. 

Q: What did you learn?
A: Well, over the course of this project, I think the biggest thing was patience. I've never been the most patient person, I always find myself rushing for glue to dry or to get something done and out of the way. But this project was different, because if i wasn't patient I would screw up or cut myself. And then I'd be back to square one because I had rushed just to finish a project and not to make it good. Next, the thing I'm most proud of is how the final project turned out, and how far I've come . Growing up we didn't always have the most money, I'm not gonna lie, and so doing some things were out of the question. Like welding for instance. Or getting better tools for our workshop. I guess thats why I'm so good with hand tools. But Duct Tape brought me to a realization that you don't need the most expensive tools or high-tech 3-D printers to do great things. It showed me that you can take something other people just glance over for repair work and turn it into something that nobody would expect. A work of art. I think I'll definitely keep going with this more and more because its such a gateway for me and it lets me prove myself to a lot of people. Before I turned 15 this past year, selling the things I made from Duct Tape was my only source of money. I sold in school, and at a craft fair, and I made myself probably close to $700 over 2 years time. I learned to be an entrepreneur and that ambitiousness  is one of the greatest traits a person could have.

Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

Fourth Prize in the
Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest

Participated in the
Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest

UP! Contest

Participated in the
UP! Contest