DIY Silhouettes // $10

>> Thursday, October 1, 2015

I’ve been slowly transforming our house through cleaning and decor to make it a calmer place to spend time. After all, this is my home and my office, so I spend a ridiculous number of hours under this roof. We’ve always been clean (wiped down counters, scrubbed toilets, steamed floors) . . . but definitely messy (mountains of clean laundry on the floor, toys everywhere, piles of mail).

With all the stuff we’ve been going through, I’ve found cleaning and decluttering to be this weird therapy of sorts. Like, I’d rather spend a couple hours cleaning than reading or watching TV. I even skipped working out on Thursday last week and cleaned for a couple hours instead. And the other night I took a good half hours to wipe down the washer + dryer that were honestly not left in the best condition from our previous owners over a year ago.

Do you think I’m crazy? Maybe I am.


Our decor is making a shift, too. I want cohesiveness. I want simplicity. Neutrals. Country and rustic to remind me of my hometown. Corner by corner, we’ve been doing little projects to make our home a place that feels really cozy and lovely. But as the fall and holidays seasons are approaching, we’ve stopped any heavy lifting (I so badly want to add beams to our living room!) to focus on the light stuff, like art and textiles.

Here’s a fun DIY art project you can make in a weekend for less than $10. There are lots of tutorials you can find online, but it’s a pretty intuitive process. In fact, my second grade teacher made silhouettes of all my classmates way back in the day by shining light on our heads and tracing the outline with pencil. This is that project, just kicked up a notch + improved with some technology.

Here’s my inspiration:


STEP 1: Take Your Photo


Take a selfie or have someone else take a photo of your profile on a plain background. You can use a wall or even fabric backdrop. Some tutorials I came across even suggested using a window, but I found the light made it tricky to get all the right detail.


STEP 2: Edit + Order


Convert your image to black and white and up the contrast using a photo editing site like Pic Monkey. There’s no right or wrong. You just want to make sure you’re clearly able to outline your features. Oh, I took our photos in square cropping, so I had to overlay them onto a 4x6 backdrop with black so they would print out well. Does that make sense?

Then order prints at a place like Walmart. I got a couple in 4x6 and 5x7 because I wasn’t sure which size I wanted. (And they were super cheap per print, so it wasn’t a big deal to have a couple extras.) For our silhouettes, I ended up using the 5x7 of my photo and Stephen’s. We used the 4x6 of Ada so she’d be a bit smaller.


STEP 3: Cut it Out


You can use sharp scissors or an X-Acto knife, but go slowly! Get the divot where your bangs hit your forehead. Keep that stray piece of hair. Don’t chop off where your glasses hit your nose. Basically, cut as closely to the photo as humanly possible because the more little details you get -- the more it will actually look like you.


STEP 4: Spray It Black 


Again, a lot of tutorials had different instructions for making your silhouettes black (or whatever color you want!). I decided to use some matte spray paint we had hanging around in the basement -- and it was SO EASY this way.

Just a few spritzes, dry time, and they were done with an extremely smooth, flat finish.


STEP 5: Mount on Paper


So, you’ll need frames for this next part. Cut out a piece of paper (I used plain white and some paper bag paper) to the size of your frame. Use a bit of glue and stick the photo onto the paper. You can write your name, the date, or anything else, or just leave it plain.

STEP 6: Frame


Stick your artwork in your frame and admire your project! I love the look of oval frames for silhouettes, but I couldn’t find any for instant gratification. So, I ended up picking up a mixed lot of frames because I want to add to our collection in the future, but I don’t want to be limited by the type of frame so they would all match.

The frames I got were around $7 a piece, the paint was free because we already had it, and the prints were like less than a quarter. So, you can easily do this project for $10 or less, depending on what frames you use.


This isn’t how I plan to have them displayed in the long run (see my inspiration, above!). I want them on the wall, but I want to add a bunch more first. So, I’ve put them on the ledge for the time being. I need to mix in some more dark frames, too. But I’d love to do the cats and maybe some full-length silhouettes. We shall see.

Have you tried this project before? 

Please let me know if you do!

Psst: For more cheap DIY decor, check out the 5-Minute Fall Wreath.

More fall essentials:


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