Tutorial: DIY Silhouettes

When I was in third grade, I sat for a paper cutting artist who made my silhouette.  My mom still has it.  Sadly, paper cutting artists are no longer widely available around here, but the idea of a silhouette of my children prompted me to find a way to recreate the look.  This tutorial will show you one way to achieve the classic art without the paper cutting skills.

What you need:
A digital camera

Heavy card stock and printer
X-acto knife and healing mat or something to protect your cutting surface
Black acrylic craft paint (I used Americana)
Spray adhesive or glue stick (not liquid glue)
Background paper in color or pattern of choice and a frame
What to do:
If you have a bit of patience, the reward is worth it.  This project can be done in an afternoon (other than the overnight paint drying) with minimal supplies needed.  I bought everything at my local hobby supply store.
Take profile photos of your children in a well lit area with a light or white background.  Crop as needed to get as close to an 8 x 10″ printing as you can.  Print using the “heavy card stock” paper selection on your printer.  Using your X-acto knife, cut around the silhouette.  As you can see with Ro’s profile already cut out on the right (below), I tried to accent his cute spikes on the front of his hair.
Slowly and lightly paint your silhouettes with the acrylic paint.  If you do not want classic black, have fun picking a color that matches your own decorations.  Let paint dry overnight.  (Note:  If you accidentally used too much paint and your silhouettes curl, you can press under books with wax paper when dry.)
Mount silhouettes using spray adhesive or a glue stick. I tried both and preferred the ease of the glue stick. Liquid glue is a bit too messy for this task and can cause ripples in the finished product.  
Once your silhouettes are dry, place in frames and you’re ready to hang.  I dated the silhouettes on the backs of the frames so I would remember Em and Ro’s ages of when these were made.
Other options:  I’ve seen people make smaller silhouettes and mount them in a double frame as a gift to grandparents.  You can also do them in multiple colors and layer them together for a new twist.

If you make your own silhouettes, I’d love to see them!  Please feel free to link back to your blog in the comments below.

Happy Memory Making!  -Hettie

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