I've always loved the look of silhouettes, so classic and timeless. a few years ago, the children I nanny and I made some of themselves as a Christmas gift to their parents. I loved how they turned out and I've wanted to make my own ever since. about two years later, I finally got around to it. for the first time in the history of the tiny white house blog, I documented step-by-step instructions of the process.
here's what you'll need:
- printed photos of your subject's profile
- black acrylic paint [I prefer matte, but gloss can be used as well]
- paint brush
- tape, paper, + frame(s) [if you plan on framing]
first, take some photos of the profile in which you plan on doing a silhouette. this step is fairly simple, but here are a few tips to attain the desired look.
- take the photos outside. [this is also my number one tip for taking any photo. this is why I'm always hauling furniture outside to photograph it.] I've found that the natural light will help create crisp, clean lines, which will make for an easy cut.
- for girls, the hair needs to be fixed in a way that will, for lack of a better term, look good in a profile shot. if your hair is shorter [above your shoulders], wearing it down is an option. if it's longer, it works best to have it up. I did some with my hair half up, half down, and it worked, but not as well as having it up. so I played around with it and tried a few different things... high bun, low bun, pony.
- if you want a larger silhouette, you should take the photo in portrait format. if you want smaller, try landscape. for the silhouettes I made of the children, I chose to do a larger version. I took a close up photo in portrait format and ordered an 8x10 print. this time, I did it in landscape format. I ordered a few prints of the same shot in two different sizes [4x6, 5x7] and just played around with it. eventually I'd like to do a larger version of our silhouettes.
as far as ordering prints goes, I order gloss prints [though I prefer matte otherwise] from CVS or Walgreens. keep in mind, the prints don't have to be anything fancy. you'll be painting over these.
now that that's taken care of, it's time to get to work! carefully cut around the subject's profile in the picture. this step can be a little tedious, as you have to be precise and cut just so, so that a nose isn't too sharp and the hair is just right.
next up: painting. two to three coats of black paint will do the trick. just remember to leave time to dry between each coat.
now it's time to frame them! or do whatever you want to with them. I had two gold oval frames that I'd found at Goodwill, that I thought would be just perfect for silhouettes. after thoroughly cleaning and completely shattering the glass in one of the frames, I used double sided tape to attach the silhouettes to paper and frame them.
what do you think? would you ever make these?