Do It Yourself! Make Your Own Silhouettes

Have you noticed that silhouettes are all the rage these days? I see them in magazines, on blogs, books, and the TV. I’ve priced them out a few times, only to be disappointed by how costly they can be.

In kindergarten, I vaguely remember my teacher shining a light at us while we stood by a wall with a big piece of white paper taped on it. It was so hard trying not to wiggle as she traced our shadow which we turned into a silhouette. Thank goodness things have gotten a little more sophisticated so that as we can replicate this process without the need for a large light, and trying to make a 4 year old sit still for a whole 3 minutes. Technology rocks.

Now, there is no need to spend $$$ to buy silhouettes. You can make your own!


First, grab your subjects and have them stand in front of a contrasting wall. In my case, I used a white wall, but a dark color would work just as well. Get right down on their level, as not to distort their facial features.

Take a few photos, sometimes it’s nice to have more than one to choose from.

Using your own photo editing software, size the photo to fit your chosen frame. I used two 8X10’s.

Load white cardstock into your printer, and then print away!

Next, with a steady hand, cut out your subject’s profile, being careful around facial features.

Then, my favorite part begins! Turn your silhouette photo side down onto a paper towel. Using a foam brush, apply an even layer of black tempera paint. (Any color would look great, but black is classic.)

Transfer onto a clean paper towel and allow to dry.

When it’s completely dry, cover the back of the painted silhouette with acid free adhesive. Affix onto another piece of cardstock. Allow to dry.

Then, frame ‘er up!

Can you imagine a whole wall of these?! I think I’ll need a bit more paint for that.

Wasn’t that easy? It only takes about an hour (with drying time) and costs less than a few sheets of paper and a little paint. How’s that for a good deal?!

About Emily Louise

Emily is a apron-wearing, camera-wielding, mother and pilots wife who has found her niche in discovering a reason to celebrate every day and enjoying the simple things life has to offer.
DIY Jewelry: Fabric Button Earrings
Celebrate May Day with May Baskets



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  2. Janet says

    I love this idea and it was almost what I’m looking for.
    Any hints on how I can transfer this to felt instead of card stock???
    I would appreciate any help I can get!
    Thank you so much!!!

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  6. says

    Make Your Own Silhouettes | Art Projects | Homemade Mother's Day Gift Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  7. Yvonne says

    Thank you so much for this. I have always loved these. I grew up seeing them in my Grandparents home. Now having children of my own I always wanted to know how to do them with out spending alot of money. Thank you

  8. says

    Lovely! I added a link to my Free Silhouette Clip Art article at Squidoo. Thank you for the great instructions.

  9. Astrid says

    Just an input, other way to make it is, after you print the picture, paste it with a black paper then you cut it. You will automatically have a sillhoutte on a black paper. So you dont need to paint the picture. Yuo might also try with other color paper to make a liitle different thatn a usual black sillhoutte.


  1. […] Make Your Own Silhouettes | Art Projects | Homemade Mother's Day Gift – StumbleUpon Cheap. Easy. Now, there is no need to spend $$$ to buy silhouettes. […]

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