How to Make a Cardboard Standup




I run a small library with a very limited budget, so I have to get creative when it comes to decorations. I decided to start making my own standups as a way to advertise various programs at the library.

For this project, you'll need...

  • color printer
  • paper
  • a computer
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter or xacto knife
  • foam core board or cardboard
  • duct tape
  • spray adhesive
  • modpodge
  • foam brush
  • velcro

Step 1: Find Your Image

You can take your own or find one online. The higher the resolution of the photo, the better it will look when enlarged. If the image has a background that you don’t like use a photo editing software to clean it up. I decided to use one of my cats.

Step 2: Figure Out the Desired Final Size for Your Project

Figure out what size you want your final project to be. This site does a fairly good job of converting pixels to inches and inches to pixels.

Step 3: Download SmillaEnlarger

Step 4: Enlarge Your Image

Drag and drop your image into SmillaEnlarger

Then set your output height. There are other options, but height generally gives the best results. The number is in pixels. Use the site from Step 2 to figure out how many pixels will give you the height you desire. You will need to check to see the dpi settings for your printer.

Pick a name for your enlarged photo and choose where you would like it to be saved.

Click Enlarge & Save to save the photo.

Step 5: Print Your Enlarged Image

Now we are ready to print our enlarged photo. There are several different businesses, both
online and brick and mortar, which have the ability to print large images on a large sheet of paper. We do not have that ability, so we will have to print our photos across multiple sheets of paper.

Open up your enlarged image in Microsoft Paint. Then go to File > Print > Page setup

On the Page Setup screen, set your margins all to 0. It will then default to the smallest number possible. Under Scaling – select Adjust to 100% normal size. It will then show you how many pages the picture will print across.

Hit OK and then print your picture.

Step 6: Trim the White Edges Off Your Paper

I forgot to take pictures during this process with my cat picture. These are from a previous Batman standup I made for our superhero themed summer reading program.

I used a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter to trim the pages, but any straight edge and blade should work. I highly recommend using a cutting mat to protect whatever surface you are cutting on.

Step 7: Attach Your Trimmed Pages to Your Backing

Now it’s time to mount the papers onto a board. I used foam core board. It’s easy to find and inexpensive. You can use cardboard, but it’s not as stiff and doesn’t work as well for larger projects.

I recommend laying out all the pieces of paper on the foam core first. That way you can plan how many pieces of foam core you need and see what type of layout will work the best.

If you need more than one piece of foam core board, attach the pieces together with duct tape before you start gluing the paper to them.

Start by spraying the foam core with a spray on adhesive. I’ve found that 3M Multipurpose Spray Adhesive works the best. Once you’ve sprayed the adhesive, start laying down the papers one row at a time. Most spray adhesives are tacky, so you have the ability to adjust the papers for a short amount of time.

Continue laying down the papers, reapplying the spray adhesive as needed, until all the pieces of the paper are glued down.

Step 8: Seal the Seams

Once all the papers are glued down, we need to seal the seams. Using a foam brush, cover all the seams with mod podge. I used the type that was just for paper and has a matte finish.

Step 9: Trim the Edges

Once the seams have dried, trim the edges of your project to whatever shape is desired.

Step 10: Attach a Stand to the Back of Your Character

The final part of this process is putting a stand on the character. If you just want something to attach to a wall or the end of a bookcase you can ignore this last step.

Cut a piece of cardboard or foam core board about ¾ the height of your standup character and about 4” wide.

On the bottom cut about a 5 degree angle. This will cause the standup to lean very slightly backwards. If you want it to lean more, cut a steeper angle.

Take self-adhesive Velcro and attach one strip to the middle of the cardboard stand up and the other strip to the edge of the stand piece. You want the Velcro to be even with the bottom of the standup.

Attach the stand piece to the back of your stand up.

Step 11: Enjoy Your New Standup



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12 Discussions


Question 8 months ago on Step 7

Hello. You write here that foam board is easy to find. But, I've just looked in AC Moore and searched online at Michaels and Staples, and all of the foam board they have is too small or comes as tri-fold. (I just want one big piece about 32 x 48. So, where did you find your large foam board?

2 answers

Answer 8 months ago

I used 20x30 I think. I bought mine from Hobby Lobby. If you look at the foam core step you can see that I duct taped two pieces together. I think the Batman one in the pictures above took four sheets.


Reply 8 months ago

Thanks! and thanks for replying so quickly. We have a Hobby Lobby near us. I see the duct tape now. Should work fine. I am excited. I am doing something for my daughter's birthday. It's going to come out great because I am following these instructions. :)


3 years ago

So Cool! I've been wanting to do a Dr. Who themed cardboard standup for a while now.

2 replies

Reply 3 years ago

If you do it, please post the pic! I have a coworker who is obsessed that I'd love to show it to.


3 years ago

Thanks for sharing. I know what I am making my cat lover for Xmas now!!

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Thanks! I need to start working on one of my other cat ;)


3 years ago

This is a great technique. Very nicely done!

1 reply

3 years ago

you should also check out posterazor. It adds and overlap and makes putting the pages together very easy.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion. I can't install any programs on my work computer, but I checked it out at home. Looks like a cool program.