How To Make Silhouettes

There is something nostalgic and classic about cameo silhouettes—especially of children, with their sweet and youthful profile features.

I’ve long had inspiration for this project, but motivation came when my friend Shelley (also my 9-5 boss!) made silhouettes of her three children.

Adorable, right?

I went nuts for them, so she made me a silhouette of my own little guy. (Thank you Shelley!)

Deciding these would make great gifts for the grandparents, I had to try it myself.

Here’s the very easy tutorial for making your own.

1. Take a profile headshot of the child….or adult….or pet…or whatever.

(So cute, my little nieces!)

2. Insert the photo into a plain old Word document and size it based on your frame. I used a 9×13 frame matted to an 8×10 opening in which I wanted a 5×7 silhouette. So I sized these photos to no more than 5.5″ wide by  7″ inches tall.

3. Print the photo and cut out the profile. I printed mine in black and white because it was easier to follow the line and cut more cleanly.

4. Trace the cutout onto the thicker paper that you will want to use in your final piece. I used a thick white linen textured paper that I purchased by the sheet at A.C. Moore for 64 cents. (Cardstock would be too thick for cutting with scissors but I suppose you could use an Exacto knife and it would work fine.)

5. Choose your background paper and tape it to fit the opening of your frame or mat. I was making a set of three grandkid silhouettes for my parents, so I chose three coordinating papers that would work with my parents’ color scheme.

What, you didn’t know I worked next to a Play-Doh factory?

(Hey, any volunteers to come organize that disastrous pantry back there?)

6. Affix your silhouette to the background paper with raised foam adhesive circles. This gives some dimension to the piece and adds a little bit of shadow once the glass front is inserted in the frame.


Here’s the final set of three. You can tell that my niece on the far right is the youngest because her profile is proportionally smaller than the other two. (The two on the left are 3 years old and the one on the right is 2 years old.)

The nice thing is that once you have your pattern, you can pop out a bunch of these really quickly. I made several more as gifts for other family members and then couldn’t resist making this one for myself.

It was the finishing touch to my Boys Room Makeover.

Try it…and then send me pictures of how it turns out. I promise you it took longer for me to write this How-To post than it did to make the silhouettes!


11 Responses to “How To Make Silhouettes”

  1. Marjorie January 1, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Love it!!!

  2. carol January 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    My Mom gave me the ones she had done of me when I was about 8 years old. I would love to do the twins now. They’re growing up too fast! Thanks for the great DIY project.

  3. Sarah January 4, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Absolutely adorable! I need to do these for my boys. Love your kiddos room btw. We have the same dinosaur sheets. Too cute!

    • The Soulful House January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Hey, you can’t beat those Target sheets right? Thanks Sarah!

  4. Wendy Woodall January 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Laura! Cameron was telling me about your fabulous blog the other day and I’m so glad I found it!! Love love it and can’t wait to ready the fun posts!

    • The Soulful House January 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Wendy, I am loving your blog as well! Looking forward to spending more time there.

  5. Lauren April 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    I’m doing these for mother’s day. Thanks for a no-frills, low-tech tutorial.

    • The Soulful House April 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      Lauren, that’s a great idea! I hope they turn out well for you.

      • Straightgirl July 24, 2012 at 2:46 am #

        Good work. Very simple and clsasy. Very timeless- love them.Hmmm. Brad + I have been married 6 years.. going on seven. Perhaps we should ponder the kid topic- ha! I might be a better customer to your shop, friend.

  6. HollyC October 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I love how the frame looks in your little boy’s room. May I ask how you framed it that way. Is it navy on top of the glass and the rest under the glass or double matted?

    • The Soulful House October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Holly, this is actually two frames. The large white frame is hanging empty, but so large that is appears to be framing the smaller frame that I hung inside it.