How to Make the Cutest Fabulous 50’s Car Cut-Out You’ve Ever Seen

Posted in CRAFTS, FAMILY PARTIES, KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES
on March 31, 2017

Create amazing photo ops with this “life-size” pink Cadillac cardboard cutout. It’s the perfect prop for outstanding party memories and pictures!

So, you’re hosting a 50s themed party and aren’t sure where to start setting the scene? Details make a themed party memorable, and it is simple to make your own Retro Convertible Standee that brings you back to the Poodle skirt, Rock’n’roll era with an easy tutorial and free downloadable pattern.

If you’re in a rush, use these links to skip to the tutorial section of your choice:

Download the Transfer Pattern

Preparing the Transfer

Cut out the Car

Painting the Details

Customize your Car

 

We’ve thrown a few parties around here, but by far, one of our most favorite bashes was the 50s Sock Hop we hosted for my daughter’s birthday.

I’ve loved everything 50’s since I was a little girl.  Dancing and twirling around my room in my full-skirted, yellow chiffon 50’s prom dress, with my ponytail swishing behind me circa Sandy 1950-something, belting out “Hopelessly Devoted to you..”, as my double Grease album – that I still have – spun on my Mickey Mouse record player. I just knew that Danny was helpless without me! #OhSandy

I’ve loved sharing the movie with my children – despite the ear-burning from the Greased Lightning lyrics (What?! How had I not known what they were saying?!) and I was so excited when my daughter wanted a “Grease” themed party! An inexpensive and easy way to set the scene for our Fabulous 50’s party was with the decorations.

This fun and easy Pink Convertible car cut-out not only made everyone feel as though they’d stepped out into the 50s, but it also served as a perfect photo prop. All the kids had the best time pretending they were cruisin’ to the drive-in after grabbing shakes and burgers. I may or may not have jumped in to get my photo when no one was looking. Even better, the car had a second life as the picture prop at our elementary school for their annual 50s day.

Here is how you can make your own!

Supplies you’ll need


  • Car Pattern
  • A tri-fold cardboard display board (28″ x 44″) – I got mine at Walmart.
  • Wax paper (cut into 18 -8.5″ x 11″ sheets)
  • Glue stick
  • 18 – 8.5″ x 11″ paper sheets
  • An inkjet printer
  • A utility knife
  • Acrylic paint in pink, black, dark gray and white <affiliate link – great set, but you can get it cheaper >
  • Paintbrushes
  • Chalk pen – white for customizing (optional) <affiliate link>

 

Download the Transfer Pattern

The transfer pattern, which includes a set of instructions, is available as a free printable for subscribers to Knock it Off Kim. Every week I send a list of posts you may have missed and updates to other free goodies as I offer them! You can opt-out at any time. Promise! Click here to subscribe and download the file.

Preparing the Transfer

Once you’ve downloaded your pattern, cut 17-18 8.5″x11″ wax paper sheets. To cut the wax paper, it’s easiest to fold the wax paper around an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of printer paper sheet, then tear down the fold.

Use a glue stick to apply a sheet of cut wax paper to a piece of printer paper. You don’t want the glue the sheets together to last a lifetime, just to keep the wax paper from bunching up in your printer and jamming it.

Print the car pattern feeding one sheet of wax paper through at a time, wax paper side down. Remove from the printer and place the sheet wax paper (ink) side up. Stacking individual pieces will ensure the ink does not smear from pattern piece to pattern piece. Repeat for each piece of the pattern – there will be 16, being sure to place the printed piece ink side up in individual piles – in other words, do not stack them on top of one another. Instead, lay the pieces out side by side on the floor or a larger surface sequentially.

Apply the Transfer

Put the display board out on a flat surface, right side up. Take the pattern piece numbered “1” and gingerly lay it, wax (ink) side down in the left top corner of the display board. Being sure to hold the pattern piece in place, trace firmly along the printed lines of the pattern with the tip of your finger, transferring the design from the wax paper to the board.

Take pattern piece “2” and align the edges of the design with the newly-transferred pattern on the board. Transfer the design. Repeat in this fashion until all the pattern pieces have been moved, working left to right. Let the ink dry to avoid smudging.

Cut out the Car

Cut out the top and inside of the windshield, areas marked with an “X”, with a sharp utility knife. It’s easiest to trace the cut-line with the knife without going through the cardboard, then, go back and retrace, cutting all the way through, using the first cut as a guide.

Cut out two 2″ x 6″ strips from your cardboard scraps. Attach one piece each on the bottom of each side of the back of the trifold board to act as stands using a glue gun. The car needs to lean back at a slight angle for balance – adjust the stands accordingly.  I found it easiest to attach one side first on the fold, then adjusted the board to where I wanted it to sit before attaching the other side.

Painting the Details

Paint the car in this order, allowing each color and coat to dry before moving on:

  1. The body of the car, using pink and a 1″ brush.
  2. The details marked in dark gray; headlights, outlines of fog lights, grille, license plate.
  3. Black details; the wipers, windshield outline, and grille.
  4. White and gray definition – For the grille, layer a white outline followed by a gray to give them a 3D effect.
  5. Outline all edges with a black paint pen or small paintbrush.
  6. Using a mostly dry brush, I feathered the paint along the edges of the ink outline, blending them towards the color.

Bonus: The ink outline does much of the shading for you!

Customize your Car

For an easy and fun way to personalize your prop, add the name of your guest of honor or organization to the license plate. A chalk pen in white would pop against the black!

Set up your car on a little table for a simple photo booth, and add a few fun photo props – <this is an affiliate link>. You can make your own, or, if you aren’t up for that, I found this set on Amazon. Ooh and Ah over your creativity! You AND your guests will be dancing around the room, channeling your inner Sandy, hand-jivin’ to Shake, Rattle & Roll, reveling in the nostalgia of an era you likely didn’t live in outside of the movie “Grease”! Not that I have any idea how to hand-jive, but in my 50’s dream, that’s what I’m doing!

I hope your party is the best! And, of course, let me know if you have any questions or I can help in any way. Cheers!

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