Creating Character Cut-outs as a Promotional Tool

While on vacation at Rehoboth Beach we walked by the Clear Space Theatre. Out front they had these fun character cut-outs.

Character cut-outs from Clear Space Theatre.

It struck me that this could be a great promotional tool in what I’m now calling Operation #SoldOutShow—a mission for what will be the first ever sold out fall play at Lampeter-Strasburg.

The plan is simple: make two identical character cut-outs. In addition to the characters, add pertinent show information such as location, date, and time.

In the weeks leading up to the show, the cut-outs can then be positioned in high traffic retail areas in the surrounding community such as our locally owned grocery store, Darrenkamps.

I would love to hear your suggestions on other Lampeter-Strasburg school community retail locations where the cut-outs could be placed.

The idea is that parents will take their children’s picture using the character cut-out and then post the image on social media. Since the cut-outs have the show’s information it acts as a form of viral advertising.

Just to sweeten the deal, I’m contemplating adding a pocket to the cut-out that would hold coupons like the one shown below. How many times have you done something simply because you had a coupon for it? That’s the hope here.

That lost dollar from the coupon is still four if the person was not going to come if they hadn’t gotten the coupon.

The weekend of the show, the character cut-outs will be relocated to the grand hallway outside the auditorium for those in attendance to use for photos. Again hopefully those images—especially the ones taken on the first two nights—will be posted on social media acting as a form of 11th hour advertising.

Building the Character Cut-Outs

Building them was a simple endeavor. The supplies required include:

  • Two sheets of 1/2″ plywood
  • 2x4s
  • Foot stool
  • Overhead projector
  • Transparency sheet
  • Permanent marker
  • Jig saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Sander
  • Talented artist to paint the cut-out

That last item might be more difficult to find. I’m luckily enough to have two on my build team.

I used the cut-outs from the Clear Space Theatre as the inspiration for my own. I printed out a picture I had taken of one of the cut-outs. Next, I overlaid a transparency sheet over the print out and traced it using a marker.

After positioning the overhead projector so the cut-out was appropriately sized, I traced the design onto the plywood. If you don’t work at a school where previous century technology is readily available like an overhead projector, you could always freehand the design.

Laying out the character cut-out.

The most difficult step was getting the design sized correctly. The cut-out holes couldn’t be too small. A face needed to fit in the hole. At the same time it shouldn’t be ridiculous large either. I had my eight your old son on hand so we was happy to help with the hole sizing and height.

Next, I cut the design out using a jig saw. For the actual face cut-outs, I drilled a few holes so I had a place to insert the jig saw. Because people would be sticking their face in the cut-outs,

The first sheet of plywood cut. If you look carefully you can see where I drilled holes to insert the jig saw for the actual face cut-outs.

I made it a point to sand all the edges on both sides smooth and rounded. I want to ensure that everyone who uses our character cut-out has a positive experience. Once school is in session and the art teachers have access to our talented student painters we will be able to get these painted.


After the signs are painted, I will build the stands to hold them upright as well and get two stools for younger children to stand on who can not reach the face cut-out hole.


I’ll update this post once the character cut-outs get painted and where we decide to locate them. Stay tune for more Operation #SoldOutShow updates.

Update 1

The art club has made some great progress on the character cut-outs. The first place we’ll have them located will be at the Lampeter Fair at the end of September. I’m hoping to have another place at the football field for home games.

Update 2

The Art Club has made great progress with just the lettering for the show remaining.

Update 3

The cut-out is officially completed and on site at the Lampeter Fair. You can have your picture taken with it outside the Exhibition Center.

Update 4

The only thing better than one character cut-out is two character cut-outs!

With both cut-outs completed we can reach twice the number of people.

One comment

  1. […] While vacationing in Rehoboth Beach, DE we walked by Clear Space Theatre Company. I noticed these fun face cutouts. My plan is to make two or three of these. In addition to having two characters painted on, show information such as location, date, and time will be added. These cutouts can then be positioned in high traffic areas near the school district. The locally owned grocery store, Darrenkamps, springs to mind as an example. See can read how I built ours here. […]

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