silhouette art from katydid & kid

by @according2kelly on July 27, 2010

welcome to our holiday-inspired “bake, craft & sew along.” we will be baking, sewing & crafting up a storm, preparing handmade gifts for this holiday season. dust off your sewing machine, & head on over to skip to my lou for some fabulous sewing projects. a southern fairytale is spotlighting lots of edible yummies & holiday-inspired recipes you definitely don’t want to miss. & to check out ALL of our crafty & creative projects go HERE.

today, our featured blogger fabulous, always-crafty kathleen of katydid & kid. kathleen writes…

I’m drawn to old-fashioned things, like vintage photos and fabrics, so naturally I love the look of silhouettes. Once a way for families to inexpensively render images of loved ones on their walls, silhouettes became passe with the invention of the camera. But they’re still charming, especially when updated with contemporary papers.

And the best part? They’re cheap and easy to make. This project cost me under $5, and I was able to make 6 of them.


  • Wooden boards or plaques ($1 at most craft stores)
  • Decorative paper of your choice for the background
  • Black paper (get the best quality you can find)
  • X-Acto knife or Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Decoupage medium/sealer, varnish or Mod Podge
  • Brush
  • Digital Camera and printer
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Stapler

Step 1
Paint your wooden plaque whatever color you want. I chose black to go with the silhouette, and I painted 3 coats around the edges of the plaque. There’s no need to paint the center, since it will be covered with paper, but be sure to paint a little onto the top since the paper will not go exactly to the edge.
Step 2
Photograph your subject in profile. A good trick for kids is to set them in front of the TV with something new to watch. Make sure the background is lighter than their face (like near a window) so the profile is easy to trace and cut out.
You’ll need to resize your photo in a photo editing program (like Photoshop or Elements, or even Paint). My wood plaque was 5″ wide, so I needed to change the width of the photo to about 4.75″.
Step 3
Carefully cut out the profile of the photo with an X-acto knife or sharp scissors and lay it on a piece of black paper.
I used the white side up so that it was a little easier to trace.
Trace with a freshly-sharpened white pencil (regular pencil will work fine too).Then cut it out very carefully with an X-acto knife or scissors. Just take your time around the facial features, since one little slip and suddenly the subject doesn’t look like themselves. Flip over the cut out silhouette and use that side for the artwork, since it won’t have any stray pencil marks on it.
Step 4
Flip the (dry) wood board face down on the back side of your scrapbook paper and trace around the raised oval (the one on the front of the plaque) with a pencil. You’ll need to shimmy your pencil under the edge so it’s flush with the central oval.
Then cut out the oval.
Step 5
Get out your decoupage medium or Mod Podge and paint the surface of the wood plaque with it. Carefully lay your oval piece of paper on the wood (you will still have time to shimmy it into place while it’s still wet), then paint a layer of the medium over the paper.
Step 6
Next, lay your silhouette down on the still-wet plaque. You have some time to move it around if you get it off-center. Then paint another layer of medium over the silhouette. Smooth out any large bubbles.
Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, or follow the instructions on the decoupage medium bottle.
Step 7
Attach a hanger on the back. You could use a traditional picture hanger, but I decided to be cute and thrifty by stapling a coordinating ribbon to the back. Just fold it into a loop
and staple into the wood.If you wanted to finish off the back in a really professional way, you could cut out a piece of felt to cover the oval on the back. Not only would it look nice, but it would be softer against the walls.

Hang and enjoy!
I made some just to put in frames too, which are even easier to do. This one will grace my husband’s office.
The others were given as gifts to the grandparents, and of course I kept one for our home. I’m intending to make ones of myself, my husband and maybe Oscar our cat to hang with my son’s. I’m so pleased with how they turned out, and like the touch of old-fashioned comfort that they give to our home.

for more great ideas be sure to visit kathleen at katydid & kid. her site is FULL of ideas. check out her version of the book wreath, her natural play dough recipe, & her soap and bath soap tutorial.

about kathleen: Prior to motherhood, I worked as an art teacher, museum educator, and fiber artist and could be found lurking in bookstores and sleeping in late. I still enjoy incorporating creativity into my life in any way I can, whether it’s improvising a cloth diaper, knitting hats for my family, or cooking a scrumptious vegetarian meal. I spend most of the best (and worst) hours of my life with my son.

baking, crafting & sewing along at home? don’t forget to play show & tell… upload your photos to our flickr group HERE. follow along with all of our featured bakers, crafters & sewers on twitter HERE, & tweet about the holiday-ispired “bake, craft & sew along” using the hashtag #handmadeholiday.

Quinn Heade
Quinn Heade

Just wanted to say your blog is incredibly good. I often like to hear something new about this because I have the similar blog in my Region on this subject so this help´s me a lot. I did a research on the subject matter and found a excellent amount of blogs but nothing like this.Thanks for sharing so much inside your blog.

Katalog Stron
Katalog Stron

Remarkable! This excellent is all I can state just for a write-up like this particular. This important is undoubtedly a tremendously useful page. You really need to know a lot about this


love it! I will be making these.

Mama Zen
Mama Zen

I love these! I'm definitely going to give this a try.


These are great! I would love to do these with my grandchildren. They are coming over tomorrow so I'll get my camera out. Thanks for sharing the how-to.


Since christmas is on the mind this July.. I was thinking these would make fabulous grandparent gifts!


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