What You Need
- Lifesize photo
- Foam board
- Spray adhesive
- A sharp box cutter or X-acto knife
- A large surface to cut on
- 1-inch wide tape
How to Make a Pet Flat
1. THE PHOTO: Pick a digital photo that portrays your pet’s personality, but also shows your pet in complete outline. It’s very easy to make a flat version of a small pet, but anyone who has a pet that’s over 18-inches tall will need to consider some factors. The bigger the flat pet, the more expensive it is to make.
Also, the more difficult it is to transport easily–and isn’t one of the reasons it’s fun to have a flat pet the fact that you can easily slip them into a restaurant? Also consider the possibility of cuteness when your Great Dane is shrunk to 20-inches tall.
2. MAKE A POSTER: A quality flat pet comes from a photo that is at least 1 megabyte—the fatter, the better. Take your digital photo to a photo processor where you can get it reproduced in poster size. The finished photo should be as close to the pet’s true size as possible, but still fit in your briefcase. Processer choices include big box warehouse stores, drug stores, chain stores, and photo/camera shops. Many photo processors can be accessed online—which allows you to take your time and easily play with cropping to achieve the best size for your flat pet. Alternatively, you might be able to get an acceptable print if you have access to a really good copy machine that can handle larger sized color copies.
3. GET STICKY: Put some newspapers down on your workspace. Set your photo face down on the newspaper. Take the spray adhesive and spray glue on the back of the photo. Be careful of the messy possibilities because it seems no matter how careful you are there is always “overspray” from the spray adhesive.
4. GLUE IT: Carefully and gently put the photo glue-side down on top of your foamboard. It sometimes helps to have a clean tissue or paper towel to help you smooth out the bubbles–be careful not to create wrinkles. Once you’ve got the photo smoothly glued to the foamboard, let it dry overnight.
5. CUT: Now comes the hard part. You are going to use the knife to cut around the image of your pet’s body being VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT YOURSELF OR YOUR FURNITURE. Be sure you’ve got something underneath your foamboard (cardboard, a cutting mat) so that your knife does not cut into your table. And never put your hand, fingers, or other body parts in the way of the knife–blood on your flat pet is not cool. Make sure you have a very straight horizontal cut at the base of your flat pet to help him/her stand up.
6. MAKE A STAND: The last step is to make a flap to go on the back side of your flat pet to help your flat pet stand up–like you would find on the back of a photo frame. Use a scrap piece of foamboard. Cut a trapezoid similar to the picture. On the edge that will be attached to the flat pet (this edge must be straight and at right angles with the edge that will be the bottom), cut out a small square to form a smaller flap which will act as a lock to keep the larger flap open and your flat pet standing. Use 1-inch wide tape (the kind you use for sealing boxes) to hinge both flaps. Tape the bottom edge of the small flap to the large flap. Then on the same side of the large flap, apply the tape running it half on-half off, in 2 pieces being careful not to catch the small flap. Fold the unattached side of the tape over (to keep it out of the way) so that you can place the edge of the flap against the flat pet to align the flap with the center of your flat pet and line it up with the straight bottom. Then gently smooth the unattached tape (which you were holding folded over) onto the back of your flat pet.
That’s it! Now take your flat pet out and explore the world. And be sure to take lots of pictures! And don’t forget to share them with Flat Tyler on My Flat Pet!