School Portrait Costume

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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. 
Autodesk Employee Halloween Contest

Finalist in the
Autodesk Employee Halloween Contest

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    38 Discussions

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    Kladybug78

    2 years ago

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

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    amurray78Kladybug78

    Reply 1 year ago

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

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    amurray78

    1 year ago

    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?

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    sjeverett75

    1 year ago

    haha reminds me of 8th grade

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    emilyshore

    5 years ago on Introduction

    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!

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    HollyMann

    6 years ago on Introduction

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

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    poofrabbit

    6 years ago on Introduction

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

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    pokiespout

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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
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    silverkattpokiespout

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

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    pokiespoutsilverkatt

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

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    funkypampokiespout

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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

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    sempei13

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    SQLGuru

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    Beergnome

    6 years ago on Introduction

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