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Easy DIY Silhouette Tutorial

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A simple and timeless way to decorate a home or business is to create silhouette artwork. These portraits can add impact and personalization to any display or décor. From birthday parties, to fireplace mantels, to bedrooms or nurseries, these artful arrangements bring beautiful, everlasting style to every place they are displayed. It’s surprising how simple and easy these silhouette portraits are to make.

  • Decide on a space. Where is the silhouette going? Its destination decides the size and style of the silhouette and the frame which encompasses it. Look around to see areas which are in need of personalization or updating.
  • Decide on a subject. Children, adults, and even pets make fantastic silhouette portraits.
  • Choose a frame. The classic way to display a silhouette portrait is with a black oval picture frame. Try to pick one with vintage details, like domed glass or with a bubble glass frame.
  • Take a picture. Though the traditional method involved the subject of the silhouette portrait sitting still for minutes as someone traced their profile onto wax paper, it is so much easier nowadays to have the subject be still for a moment so their profile can be captured near instantaneously with a camera.
  • Print the picture. Print the picture onto a letter-sized piece of paper. If the portrait is intended to be smaller or larger, print accordingly. Making the picture black and white adds ease to the following steps.
  • Tape the picture. Tape the picture around a piece of cardstock paper. The traditional silhouette portrait is black, but other colors can be used. Just make sure there is a very noticeable contrast between each piece of cardstock in the silhouette.
  • Cut it out. Take time to cut the final piece out carefully. Subtle details like the tilt of a chin, the swoop in a nose or the wave in one’s hair makes the silhouette portrait identifiable and special.
  • Glue. Paste the portrait onto the corresponding card stock cut to fit the intended frame. The corresponding card stock can be a muted pastel, printed with polka dots, or even a wild animal print. Choose something to complement both the space and the portrait.
  • Frame. Pop the piece of cardstock into the black oval picture frame and evaluate. Does the silhouette portrait have the intended effect desired? It usually does!
  • Display. Once the silhouette portrait is cut, glued, and framed, it is ready to be displayed. Silhouette portraits look beautiful over a mantel, in a nursery or as part of a family gallery wall.
  • Other Uses for a Silhouette Portrait. Silhouette portraits make meaningful Christmas and birthday gifts to loved ones. They can also be used as miniature gifts tags or used to display ownership in shared spaces. One mom placed each of her children’s silhouette portraits over her children’s hanging bathroom towels and over each child’s headboard in their bedroom. Once one silhouette portrait is made, there are usually many more to follow! Enjoy.