Cardboard Cutouts Washington, DC & Alexandria, VA & Bethesda, MD

Cardboard cutouts cut to life size dimensions, make Standees and Character Cutouts from your picture!

We may be heading towards a time of augmented reality and the futuristic concepts of holograms, but for now the easiest and by far the most cost effective way to put a life sized representation of something or someone else into a space is a life sized custom cut standee.

Commonly referred to as Cardboard Cutouts, Life Size Cutouts can be made from many materials. Cardboard is an option, however we have much better materials to make your Life Size Cutout the best option for your application and budget.

Material Options

Cardboard Cutouts Washington DC

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Life Size Cutouts

Cardboard Cutouts Washington DC


Cardboard is a well known substrate, it’s the brown corrugated paper that most boxes are made from. It’s definitely the cheapest material so if budget is the main priority then this is probably your best option. Cardboard should only be expected to be used once or twice, but this will rely heavily on the application and treatment while it is standing, being shipped or in storage. It does not withstand the outdoor elements and it being mostly paper it is susceptible to water damage. The best uses for a Life size cutout made from cardboard is for situations where you will be putting it up indoors and leaving it there until it has served its purpose or for a one day outdoor event in great weather.


Foamboard is a little less known than cardboard and a little more expensive considering it’s specialized manufacturing. You may know of it from arts and crafts or school projects. It is a semi rigid substrate made from an expanded foam sandwiched between two sheets of poster paper. The poster paper makes a great surface to print an image on and has a smooth texture so you won’t see any of the ridges that might show through from cardboard corrugation. Foam board also comes in a matte finish making it a superior option for life size cutouts that will be used in flash photography to minimize glare. Foam Board has a slightly higher level of durability but it has a paper face which makes it susceptible to water damage.

Foamboard Washington DC
Ultraboard Washington DC


Ultraboard is very similar to foamboard with one key advantage. The two sheets of poster paper that are used to create foamboard are replaced with two sheets of polystyrene plastic making it water resistance and improving the finish and durability of the life size cutout.

Coroplast Outdoor Plastic

Coroplast is a special type of plastic sign material mostly used in outdoor applications like real estate and political yard signage. It is made from corrugated plastic so the face will have noticeable ridges making it less ideal for indoor uses where photography or close up scrutiny may occur. However, the construction of this material allows it to withstand the elements for long term outdoor applications.

Coroplast Outdoor Plastic Washington DC
PVC Indoor Plastic Washington DC

PVC Indoor Plastic

PVC is a smooth plastic material that when cut to your custom shape will leave a smooth solid edge making it ideal for close up interaction and long term multi-use applications. This material is waterproof and very durable and can withstand the outdoor elements for some time, however it does not perform as well in long term outdoor environments compared to coroplast.

Substrates Cardboard Foamboard Ultraboard Coroplast PVC
Face Corrugated Smooth Smooth Corrugated Smooth
Edges Brown/Flutes White/Foam White/Foam White/Flutes White/Smooth
Durability Indoor Medium Medium Long Long Long
Durability Outdoor Short Short Short Long Medium
Cost $ $$ $$$ $$ $$$

Design Considerations

A few things to consider when creating a design for a life size cutout.

  • The image will be printed to the face of the material you choose and depending on your application you might want to consider the texture of the face of the material. For example both cardboard and coroplast do not have smooth faces and will show slight ridges in the image of your cutout.

  • The edges of the cutout will be determined by the material used to create the standee, so be mindful of the color and composition of the material when choosing which substrate you will use.

  • We offer design services and you may not need to worry about this, but if you are designing your own graphic it will help to design the graphic with a bleed of between ⅛” and ¼” to make sure there aren’t any white edges left over after the cnc cuts it out.

  • The bottom portion of your cutout will serve as a part of the structure of your cutout, we can engineer most cutouts to accommodate any design but there are limitations to how much of the bottom portion of the cutout we can remove before it no longer supports itself. This however will depend on the substrate chosen, the thicker and more rigid substrates can support the stand with less material.

  • If you are using a photo for your cutout, we suggest a minimum of resolution of 7,200px tall for a six foot cut out. This is not a requirement but it will determine the final quality of the image on your Cutout.

How do they stand up?

All Cutouts come with a custom stand attached to the back of them ready to go. We have even developed a process that allows you to fold most stands in half to help with transport and shipping.

Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays has invested in the latest and greatest technology and the best staff so that we can serve our community with the best visual solutions. If you have a life sized cutout in mind and don’t know where to start with design or material selection we have expereinced designers and engineers to make this a very easy and enjoyable process. Give us a call to get started, or send us a quote request here and we’ll get started on your new Life Sized Cutout right away.

This shows the custom stand, the face of the Life Size Cutout and the same Cutout folded for shipping.

Cardboard Cutouts Washington DC

All cut outs are securely packaged and typically shipped within 2-3 days of proof approval. Overnight shipping is available upon request.

Cardboard Standees and Life Size Cut Outs made at our Veteran Owned & Operated Sign Company in Charlotte NC

Customer Review via Google My Business Listing

We came to Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays just weeks before our big event, Dine-N-Dash, with an impossible dream: to turn the National Union Building (an event venue in DC) into a pop-up exhibit showcasing our relief work in Puerto Rico. We had a wish list of custom builds and vinyls that other companies said they were unable to do in the time window, at all or without charging an astronomical price. Fortunately, I connected with Kyle who works with Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays and he was confident that his team would be able to get everything done. I worked with Jeff, who oversaw the project from our initial discussion to completion. Jeff was committed to making our event happen within the time-frame and budget, suggesting creative alternatives and coming up with solutions where other companies saw only problems. He provided incredibly timely updates on when we would receive proofs, and always (always!) came through on the timeline and deliverables. The design team took our concepts from basic ideas to professional looking pieces, sometimes within a matter of hours. For example, they created life-size food truck cutouts that matched the food trucks exactly, from just a picture! I was floored by how much they were able to do with so little. As a nonprofit with a small team, it felt like Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays was the 4th member of our team - committed to making things happen, and not just treating us like another customer. Steve was our lead installer, and was timely, professional, and kind. There was a logistical hurdle in getting one of our vinyls installed the day before, but instead of stressing me out with it not being able to happen, Steve was able to pull together additional resources to make it happen without a hitch. All this and Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays still came in with the best pricing by a long shot. I honestly can say that I have never been more impressed with a company's ability to deliver exactly on their promises, with above and beyond customer service and a sincere commitment to offer the best experience possible to their customers. Because of Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays, our event wowed over 4,000 guests and provided them with an experience they'll never forget. I wish all companies had the level of commitment that Heritage Printing, Signs & Displays did and rest assured they are my go-to people when I need any kind of printing or design elements in the future.

Jeanette Morelan
Fredericksburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Fairfax, VA
Bethesda, MD
Woodbridge, VA
Falls Church, VA
Tysons Corner, VA
Reston, VA
College Park, MD
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