03 September 2012

DIY Hand-painted Silhouettes

Silhouettes are a great way to capture stages of a family, especially as small children grow.  I have long been wanting to have family silhouette portraits but with kids, it can be a bit of a trick to get them to sit still to trace their profile.  Fortunately, there's a pretty easy solution.  This craft requires only a small canvas board and frame for each portrait, a camera and printer, paint and paint brushes, scissors, a pencil and an Xacto knife.  The possibilities are endless too as the colors, background colors, fonts, frames, etc are changed.  Here's how to make some of your own in less than ten steps!
1.  Take a photo of the subject's profile.  If they're squirmy or too young to understand instructions, dangle something enticing in front of them (candy anybody?).  You might need help from a second person.
2.  Using a photo editing program, edit the photo to a basic black and white picture.  The interior detail is unimportant--only the shape of the profile is needed.  Cut along the outside of the profile but don't be too concerned with small details since they will be more difficult to trace and paint and may make your silhouette look too "messy."
Just a tip: If you are doing adult and children's silhouettes, when printing the photos, print the adults on a full 8x10 paper and the children on a smaller size, such as 4x6.  It will make the children's silhouettes smaller in contrast to the larger adult's silhouettes.

3.  Trace the printed silhouette in pencil onto the center of the canvas board.

4.  Fill in the traced silhouette with your choice of acrylic (or other craft) paint color.  It may take more than one coat, depending on the thickness of the paint.
5.  If you'd like to put names under each silhouette, print off each name in the desired font and size and cut out with an Xacto knife.  Names may also be free-handed.
6.  Trace the name in pencil onto the canvas board.
7.  Cover the pencil using a similar or contrasting colored paint.
8.  Allow the painted silhouette and name to dry before framing.
9.  Hang and enjoy!


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