How to Make the Cutest Fabulous 50’s Car Cut-Out You’ve Ever Seen
Create fantastic photo ops with “life-size” pink Cadillac cardboard cutout party decorations. They’re the perfect props for outstanding party memories and pictures!
Are you hosting a 50s themed party and aren’t sure where to start setting the scene? I have the answer to your problem: Party decorations! Details make a themed party memorable, and it is simple to create your own Retro Convertible Standee that brings you back to the Poodle skirt, Rock’n’roll era with an easy tutorial and this pattern available for instant download.
If you’re in a rush, use these links to skip to the tutorial section of your choice:
How to make 50s Pink Cadillac Photo Prop Party Decorations
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 taken 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
- Click here to buy the Car Pattern – click here to buy now!
- 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 >
- Chalk pen – white for customizing (optional) <affiliate link>
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Preparing the Transfer
Once you’ve downloaded your pattern, cut 17-18 8.5″x11″ wax paper sheets. It’s easiest to cut the wax paper by folding it around an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of printer paper, 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 to last a lifetime. Use enough glue 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 part 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 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, (ink) wax – 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 tri-fold 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. Attach one side first on the fold, then move the board to where you want 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:
- The body of the car, using pink and a 1″ brush.
- The details marked in dark gray; headlights, outlines of fog lights, grille, license plate.
- Black details; the wipers, windshield outline, and grille.
- White and gray definition – For the grille, layer a white outline followed by a gray to give them a 3D effect.
- Outline all edges with a black paint pen or small paintbrush.
- 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 Sandra Dee, 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!
Want to make it even easier? Purchase and print the matching customizable party pack for just $6! It’s the perfect accent to ensure your party is peachy-keen!
You’ll find everything you need to throw a fabulous 50s theme party in this customizable at-home Printable Party decorating pack!
50s Party Pack Printables – $6.00
This PDF file includes:
This file is a digital download, print-at-home product. There is no shipping charge; nothing will be shipped to you directly.
You will be able to download your files immediately after purchase.
All images are for personal use only and are not to be resold, repackaged or used for any commercial purpose.
Still, need the pattern? Purchase it here!