How To: Make a Big Head for March Madness
Learn how to make your own Big Head in just five easy steps!

Design Master

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With March Madness coming up soon, it’s time to get pumped for all the crazy fandom, amazing plays and great competition.

As all college basketball fanatics know, making Big Heads is a part of the March Madness tradition to distract the opposing team, but how do you make them?

In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to make your own personalized Big Head in just five easy steps.


The first thing you need to do is to gather materials for creating your Big Head.

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You will need the following items:

  • A photo editing program (Photoshop, GIMP, or similar)
  • Inkjet printer (and ink!)
  • Inkjet paper sized 11” x 17” (minimum)
  • Thick cardboard paper sized 11” x 17” (minimum)
  • Glue and/or tape
  • Scissors or a precision knife
  • A wooden stick(s)

You can typically find these items in your favorite craft and office supplies store.


The first thing you will need is a photo. A portrait photo is the ideal choice. You can detach the face from the rest of the image (i.e., background, rest of the body) using the lasso or the pen tool.

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When you have your head selection ready, copy it and paste into a new document with the same size as your paper. Place the head image in the center of the blank document, and use the transform tools to resize it.


To print the photo correctly, enter or select the right paper size and make sure the whole image fits into the document in the printing preview. If it doesn’t, you can scale it down to make sure it fits.

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Choose the right color profile for your paper (check the instructions by the paper’s manufacturer for your printer).


Cut out the original printout following the contours of your photo with scissors or precision knife. Spread glue on the back of the photo and paste it on the cardboard paper.  Apply pressure, and wait for the glue to dry. Then cut the cardboard into the same shape as your photo.

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You can now attach sticks to your cutout so you will be able to hold it comfortably in your hands. Because your Big Head isn’t heavy, the stick you use can be any length you want.

Use the glue (or the tape, if you prefer) on the cutout’s back, and then place the stick on it and press firmly to ensure total adherence. Let the glue dry thoroughly.


If you have any problem printing the photo at home in the right size, you can use an online printing service. You also can check out sites like buildahead.com and fathead.com that specialize in making this product.

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Upload your picture and chose your desired options, and then place the order and wait for home delivery.

Note: this solution may be way more expensive than making it at home.


Now your very own Big Head is ready to distract the opposing team (and hopefully make an appearance on ESPN if you’re lucky!) As always, have fun with it. The more random your Big Head is, the better!

Edited in Photoshop CC. Sample photo by beermug.

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:

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