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Cardboard cutouts can be a fun thing for an event, doesn't matter if it's for kids or for adults. You can put your face inside a hole and become an animal, a character from your favorite franchise, or just use it as an opportunity for a silly photo op. Unfortunately, not all cutouts come out anatomically correct.

Or maybe, for our laughing sake, fortunately? This selection of weird and laughable face cutouts from our listmakers is proof that this is an art, too, and that designers should approach it with artistry and care. So scroll down the list, dear panda, and upvote your favorite entries.

Sticking your face in a cutout and taking a picture is a staple at carnivals, birthdays or other events. The classics are the muscle man or a woman in a bathing suit, but nowadays you can find almost any type of cutout.

What's interesting is that these pieces of cardboard or wood have a much more sophisticated name. "Comic foregrounds" is the official term, bestowed upon the pieces by their original creator Cassius "Cash" Coolidge.

#4

I Have Always Wanted To Be A Horse's Back

I Have Always Wanted To Be A Horse's Back

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Sea Squirrel
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It says it's financed by 'Heineken for Communities' in Romania. I guess they also financed drinks for the person who made this?

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#5

Face Cutout Board For Terese's Bridal Shower

Face Cutout Board For Terese's Bridal Shower

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#6

Face In A Hole At Mr. Toilet House In Suwon, Korea

Face In A Hole At Mr. Toilet House In Suwon, Korea

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If you've ever seen the famous Dogs Playing Poker paintings, you've probably heard of Coolidge. He was a self-taught artist who also painted cartoons and taught penmanship. His paintings depicting dogs in human situations are best-known today, and he is most likely the inventor of that motif.

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But let's come back to the comic foregrounds. He received a patent for "Processes of Taking Photographic Pictures" on April 14, 1974. The patent reads: "The nature of my invention consists in a process of taking a photograph or other picture of a person's head large on a miniature body."

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Joel Lewis describes Coolidge's invention as "carnival cutouts." "The device was a painted wooden facade featuring a colorful character in an outlandish situation with a hole where the head should be." A person could stick their head into the hole and a photographer would capture the image for posterity.

#10

The Position Of These Cutouts

The Position Of These Cutouts

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MontanaMariner
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"My only friend is the goat, 666 between it's horns... Go to Hell!" -Megadeth

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#11

Alright Kids, Who Wants To Be A Severed Head With Elsa And Olaf?

Alright Kids, Who Wants To Be A Severed Head With Elsa And Olaf?

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The most popular iterations of the genre were "a weightlifting hunk," a "bathing beauty," a "swimmer perilously clenched in the mouth of a shark" or a "fat man in a bathing suit." Yet Coolidge penned over 200 drawings of possible characters for beachgoers to get photographed as. 

#14

"Yeah, Whatever, Kids Are Stupid Anyway"

"Yeah, Whatever, Kids Are Stupid Anyway"

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#15

Surfing Santa

Surfing Santa

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MontanaMariner
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I could fit my face in there and I'd still look the same. Say hi to that puppy for me.

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In many of the drawings, Coolidge used images of animals. There's a human head with the body of a monkey among his sketches. Human heads disassociated from the human body seemed to interest Coolidge in general. There are many sketches depicting severed heads; in one of them, a head is even served on a platter.

#16

Anyone Wanna Take A Picture With Their Face As A Bird’s Chest?

Anyone Wanna Take A Picture With Their Face As A Bird’s Chest?

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In many of Coolidge's other sketches, the characters are simply vignettes of simple everyday life. Jordan Beer and Albert Narah suggest that it wasn't the imaginative setting that attracted customers. "It was the possibility of memorializing the act of being represented itself – of recording one’s own re-creation as an image," they write.

#19

This Is One Of Those Cardboard Character Cutouts With A Hole In Them, So That Kids Can Stick Their Heads In It And Be The Character. In This Case, You Can Be The Bird's Eye

This Is One Of Those Cardboard Character Cutouts With A Hole In Them, So That Kids Can Stick Their Heads In It And Be The Character. In This Case, You Can Be The Bird's Eye

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#20

Redcar, One Place We Will Never Go Again. What Are The Other Two Holes For, By The Way?

Redcar, One Place We Will Never Go Again. What Are The Other Two Holes For, By The Way?

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Dani Pret
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought they'd make good arm holes for the big ice cream

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#21

Face In A Hole In Front Of Manatee Tour Office In Florida, US. At The Entrance Of Manatee Tour Center

Face In A Hole In Front Of Manatee Tour Office In Florida, US. At The Entrance Of Manatee Tour Center

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The photo stand-in we know nowadays actually predates Coolidge's design. Yet he is still credited as the inventor of the comic foregrounds. Coolidge acknowledges this in his patent, but his successful marketing is probably the reason why today we know him as the father of photo stand-ins.

#22

Not All Characters Work As Cardboard Cutouts

Not All Characters Work As Cardboard Cutouts

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#23

Photo Cutout Board At My Local Fair. Just, What?

Photo Cutout Board At My Local Fair. Just, What?

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Sara
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Maybe it’s actually for some kind of game. Bean bag toss, perhaps?

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#24

This “Put Your Face Here And Take A Picture” Cardboard

This “Put Your Face Here And Take A Picture” Cardboard

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Tourist attractions in 19th-century Egypt are somewhat similar to what we today understand as photo stand-ins. They weren't particularly created or painted for that purpose, but rather were existing historical artifacts. A hole would be in the place of a face in a sarcophagus and tourists could stick their faces in it for a picture. One example is the Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand posing as a mummy in Cairo in 1984.

#25

Hmm, Interesting One

Hmm, Interesting One

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MontanaMariner
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All I see is a cute, paw patrol shirt wearing, murder monster polar bear.

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Another example of early photo stand-ins is seen in the pictures taken by photographers Pascal Sebah and Émile Béchard in Cairo in the 1870s. It also features a man and a woman putting their faces in a sarcophagus, replicating the look of a mummy.

#28

Face In A Hole At Kimchi-Kan In Seoul, Korea

Face In A Hole At Kimchi-Kan In Seoul, Korea

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#29

This Cutout My Local Japanese Government Gave Me To Illustrate And Warn About What Can Fit In A Baby's Mouth

This Cutout My Local Japanese Government Gave Me To Illustrate And Warn About What Can Fit In A Baby's Mouth

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EmiTheEpic
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one’s helpful, as it helps identify choking hazards. In the uk, we were told to use a toilet roll inside, and if something fit through the tube, a toddler could choke on it.

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#30

What's Wrong With A Child Wearing It On His Face?

What's Wrong With A Child Wearing It On His Face?

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Mark
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's Thai, living in Thailand for almost a decade and I'm not surprised, this is almost good

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I wonder how many people were disappointed by the poor penmanship of the failed attempts at artistry from this list. In a way, a photo stand-in gone wrong is an unforgettable souvenir in itself. A cardboard cutout might be enticing because of its absurdity as well. So let us know which cutout fails you liked the best, pandas. Upvote your favorites!

#31

Face In A Hole At Gelarto Rosa In Front Of The Saint Stephen Basilica In Budapest, Hungary

 Face In A Hole At Gelarto Rosa In Front Of The Saint Stephen Basilica In Budapest, Hungary

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#33

The Position Of This Hole For Your Head Was Put In

The Position Of This Hole For Your Head Was Put In

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#34

Cutout Photo Standee Gone Wrong

Cutout Photo Standee Gone Wrong

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#35

Our Local Wildlife Shelter Has A Weird Idea About How Photo Cutouts Are Built

Our Local Wildlife Shelter Has A Weird Idea About How Photo Cutouts Are Built

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#36

That Isn’t How A Face Works

That Isn’t How A Face Works

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kazuha
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

someone forgot to listen during elementary school anatomy class

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#37

Is This How Faces Work, Really?

Is This How Faces Work, Really?

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me McG
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

open wide! ..... WEEEEEEEEEE!!! ....... slaughter slide!

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#38

I Went Into A Place Where Only Children Were Taking Pictures And Snapped. Even If You Wake Up Without Makeup, If There's A Face Hole, I'll Take A Photo

I Went Into A Place Where Only Children Were Taking Pictures And Snapped. Even If You Wake Up Without Makeup, If There's A Face Hole, I'll Take A Photo

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#39

This Cardboard Cutout Makes Me Want To Commit A Hate Crime

This Cardboard Cutout Makes Me Want To Commit A Hate Crime

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#40

I Surely Do Look Like A Fish

I Surely Do Look Like A Fish

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me McG
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I get that the hole in the fish is on porpoise ... but just what's going on in the boat above?

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#41

Um, What Exactly Am I Supposed To Fit In Those Cutouts? (Hand For Scale)

Um, What Exactly Am I Supposed To Fit In Those Cutouts? (Hand For Scale)

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#42

Holes For Faces Not Where The Faces Are

Holes For Faces Not Where The Faces Are

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#43

Eaten By A Crazy Bear, I Suppose?

Eaten By A Crazy Bear, I Suppose?

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#44

These Horrible "Your Face Here" Cutouts

These Horrible "Your Face Here" Cutouts

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Laura Williams
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The amount of thought put in this makes these not worth the effort.

#45

Face Cutouts Done Wrong

Face Cutouts Done Wrong

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Laura Williams
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They should have made insect in frogs mouths and your the insect.

#46

Yes That Is How Faces Work

Yes That Is How Faces Work

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#47

Why Does This Reindeer Have 2 Smiles?

Why Does This Reindeer Have 2 Smiles?

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#48

What Does This Even Mean?

What Does This Even Mean?

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#49

This Wheelchair-Accessible "Put Your Face In The Hole" Photo-Stand

This Wheelchair-Accessible "Put Your Face In The Hole" Photo-Stand

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