I added a graphic pop of color to the dining room with silhouette art.  I have wanted to make a set of family silhouettes forever.  The dining room was the perfect place to add this whimsical, personalized touch.  I wanted the family represented, but without literal images.  The silhouettes also gave me the opportunity to add a splash of lime (or chartreuse) to the teal wall above the board and batten wall treatment.  I created the series on three 18 x 18″ canvases and one 18 x 24″ canvas.  The silhouettes are slightly larger than life-size for big impact.

Family Silhouette Art

I want to show you how easy it is to create silhouettes.

Silhouette Art Supplies Supplies: Decorative paper, canvas, cutting mat, scissors, xacto knife, pen or pencil, and glue stick.

For my version, I used green wrapping paper from The Container Store.  It has a mat finish and is colored on both sides.  It is about the thickness of scrapbook paper.  I chose it because it was the perfect shade of green.  You could also use scrapbook paper, handmade papers, or high-quality wrapping papers.  You can mount your silhouette to canvas or a wooden board.  There are so many options for glue, but I chose to keep it simple and use an elmer’s glue stick from my kids school supplies.  It works perfect and is easy to clean up.  If you want to preserve you silhouette’s forever, consider coating them with mod podge or another sealer.

Silhouette Cut Out Print your image in black & white.  Cut around the silhouette carefully with sharp scissors.  Capture all the details.

Choosing the right profile is important.  You may not even need to take profile pictures for this project.  For all but my youngest, I was able to find perfect profile images in my digital pictures.  The one of me and my husband is from our wedding.  Our dog Sofia was from a snapshot in the backyard.  The picture of my oldest was from a birthday party and he had frosting smeared all over his face.  The trick is to look beyond the actual photo to see that perfect profile.  He had his lips closed softly.  The image was a perfect side profile.  His hair was tousled showing his natural wild curls.  Those types of details give interest to the silhouette.  For my youngest, I had to snap a shot for this project.  I set him in his highchair in front of a bright window.  Daddy got him looking straight ahead, so I could get the perfect side profile.  I love how his silhouette shows his calm, straight hair to contrast with his older brother’s.

Silhouette Art Tape down your decorative paper.  Place your profile image on the paper and trace.

Determine which way you want your subject to face in your final piece.  As you look at your cutout with the subject facing the correct way, that is the right side of your silhouette.  Place the right side down on your decorative paper to trace.

Silhouette Paper Cut Art Silhouette Cut Out Use the xacto knife to carefully cut out the final silhouette image.

Cut carefully, as this will be your final silhouette.  Make sure your cuts are smooth and do not over cut.  Don’t be afraid to turn around your cutting mat to get the best angle.

Silhouette Art On the wrong side of your final silhouette, apply glue around the edges and fully cover the back.  Turn over and stick to the canvas.  

I used a credit card to help smooth the cut out onto the canvas.  Use the card to smooth the image down and then run it over all the edges to make sure they adhere well.  I rubbed my silhouettes pretty well with the card to almost burnish them to the canvas.

Silhouette Paper Cut Art

I am showing the final set grouped above and the brothers together here, but I am not certain that is how they will be displayed.  I also have them resting on the board and batten ledge, but I know that is not where they will stay.  I am just not the ledge-resting type.  The art will be hung above the ledge.  I just have one more thing to figure out for this wall.  I need to add something curvy to break up all the squares from the art and the board and batten.

Silhouette Family Art

In the meantime, I could not resist this romantic shot of the silhouettes as seen through the crystal chandelier.  I had no idea when I started how romantic this dining room would turn out to be.  However, since one of my top priorities was to personalize the space and we happen to be a loving, romantic family, I am not too surprised with the result.  It is just the right dose of sweet, not sappy.

Silhouette Family Art

I also have a quick tutorial for decorative canvas edges.  The gold edges here against the teal walls is gorgeous (and I am not a gold person).  You won’t believe how easy it was to get this gilded look.

Sharing this tutorial here:
HouseofHepworthsThe Idea RoomThe Shabby Nest

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6 Responses to Family Silhouette Art {Tutorial}

  1. Kate says:

    This is awesome! & such a great tutorial! Saw this on the Home Stories A to Z link-up!

  2. this is such a great project!! I especially love the yellow!! I am leaving here inspired!!

  3. This is great. Just pinned it. Definitely want to give it a try!
    Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking…

  4. These are great! Congrats on the reader redesign at YHL. I just made silhouettes of my own using a slightly different technique. I love the look. Thanks for sharing yours!!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  5. Pam Zirbel says:

    FANTASTIC!!! Love how your husband is now ‘looking onto his family’ that he faces you all!!! Very cool look! Well done, as usual!!!

  6. I LOVE these! I have wanted to make some forever too… thanks so much for the great simple tutorial:)
    Krista @thehappyhousie

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