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Make your own silhouettes

How to Make Your Own Custom DIY Silhouette Art

Want a unique way to turn cute photos into fun art?  Try this simple project to put a new spin on something old:  Silhouettes.

Shake up this old art form with bold colors, and any photo you please.  Here’s how:

1.  Gather Supplies

  • Craft paints (Think beyond basic black and white.  You can use any color combo you like!)
  • Small paint brushes
  • Art canvas (You can buy one in most craft stores.)
  • Photo to transfer, printed on plain paper

Get creative with your photo choice.  It can be your child playing, the family pet, or something from nautrre.  The best photos are profiles without too many small details.

If you just want to make some fun art, you can find free photos on the web.  I got this one from Pixabay.

DIY Silhouette Supplies
Gather supplies to paint a silhouette of any photo.

2.  Paint the Background

Choose a fun background color, and paint the entire surface of the canvas, including the edges.  Let dry, and then retouch if needed.

Paint a silhouette
Choose any color you like to paint the background for your silhouette.

3.  Prep Your Photo

Print any picture you want to use on a piece of plain printer paper.  This project is easier if your subject has nice big shapes.

Use a pencil to color the back of your printed picture.  Cover the entire area of the part you want to transfer to the canvas.

DIY silhouette
Use a graphite pencil to color the back of the image you want to transfer to the canvas.

4.  Make the Transfer

Position the photo where you want it on the canvas.  Trace around the edges of your subject.  Press fairly hard, so the graphite from the back of the paper will transfer to the canvas.

When you lift the paper away, you may need to go back over some of the lines to make them easier to see.  Also, now is your chance to “Photoshop” any details that don’t look quite right.

Adjust your outline until you’re happy with it.  You can erase light pencil marks later, or paint over them with your background color again, if needed.

5.  Fill in the Shape

I used classic black in this design, but you don’t have to stick with tradition.  Don’t be afraid to think like Andy Warhol with your color choices.

I found that a small, stiff brush worked well for making smooth edges.  For the smallest details, like legs and beak, a little dab of paint on the end of the brush handle, lightly touched to the canvas, kept the paint where I wanted it.

Again, you can fix any mistakes by retouching the background color later.

I hope you enjoy this quick, easy, and fun way to turn plain photos into fun art.  Please share a picture of your project on our Facebook page!

Make your own silhouette

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