My sons share a birthday and wanted to have a NERF birthday party. We wanted to make some fun targets for when the kids were tired of getting hit with darts. To do this project you will need some basic tools: A camera, smartphone that can run an app, a box cutter, scissors, cardboard boxes, spray adhesive, gorilla glue, and a straight edge.
Step 1: Capturing and Editing My Images
I had my kids dress up in some of their army clothes, grab a NERF gun and try to look as menacing as possible. I snapped their pics and downloaded a free app on android called "DEEP ART EFFECTS". I then ran a filter in that app called "DAWN". There are a tone of filters that would work, I just liked the effect it had on the pics, making them almost comic book like and highlighted some of the NERF blues and oranges.
Step 2: Printing and Gluing the Cutouts to Cardboard
I then went to our local Maker space and printed out the pics on a 42 inch plotter. The pics could also be printed at a local copy center. I tried to go as close to full size as I could with the prints. I then brought them home and grabbed my cardboard. I used large size moving boxes from Home Depot. The cost a little over a dollar a piece. I cut the boxes along one edge and folded them out into a long strip. The 42 x 60 inch prints fit perfect on the boxes. I used 3m spray adhesive #77 to adhere the prints to the cardboard. I smoothed them out and let them dry over night.
Step 3: Stiffening the Cutouts on the Back.
The next day I flipped the cardboard over and I used Gorilla Glue to add a second layer of cardboard to the back. I staggered the back plates over the fold in the boxes to add rigidity. I then stacked the cutouts and let them dry.
Step 4: Trimming the Cutouts and Removing Excess White Space
After drying I cut the cutouts about 2 inches around the image. I used a box cutter with a fresh blade and only had to do one pass. This process removed the excess cardboard and reduced the weight of the cutout drastically.
Step 5: Makeing the Bases
I now needed to make the bases to help the cutouts stand up. I took a left over cardboard box and cut it into strips, about 8 inched tall, and maybe 30 inches long. I took the strips and folded them in half. I then used a straight edge and cut one side of the strips to make sure it was straight. After cutting the folded strip stood easily on its on. I then folded it back in half and cut a 1/4 inch with channel into both ends about two or 3 inches back from the edge. This will be our bases.
Step 6: Adding the Base to the Cutout
I took my cutout and added some slits on the base. The slits were about 1/4 wide and maybe 4 inches high. I made them about 5 inches in from the outside edges. I then took the base I made in the previous step and inserted it's slits into the cutout slits. This made it possible for the cutout to stand firmly up. If your cutout is tall, you might consider making the cutouts in the base slightly angled, so the cut out leans back just a tad. This will help it from falling face over. Repeat these last steps to make a base for each cut out.