Jul 16, 2010
Silhouette portraits are timeless and treasured additions to any home. You can find an abundance of options for custom silhouettes on Etsy. I have been wanting to make silhouettes of my daughters for awhile now and finally got motivated yesterday to tackle the project. Making the silhouettes was so easy, I made one for each family member, including the family cat! Here's how I did it:
Some of the materials and tools needed for the silhouette project.
First, I gathered the materials I needed.
computer with photo editing application
fabric in natural (9" square for each portrait) and black (4" square for each portrait)
embroidery hoops (7" diameter)
sharp fabric scissors
fine tip felt pen
fabric adhesive (or a sticker machine)
hot glue gun
Using a digital camera, I took pictures of each family member's profile. (I recommend that long hair is in a ponytail.) We have a large bright window with a translucent shade that was perfect for a white backdrop. A white wall can work, too. Import the images into a photo editing program and increase the contrast of the photo.
Before tracing an image, make sure it is about 3.5" - 4" in diameter. Placing a sheet of tracing paper over the computer screen, carefully trace the outline of each profile with a felt tip pen. (You can print the images in lieu of tracing.)
(My ten-year-old stepped in as photographer as I worked on the project.)
Iron your fabric, and then pin the traced image to a piece of the black fabric. Cut out the image with sharp fabric scissors. Next, adhere the centered silhouette onto a 9" fabric background using iron-on adhesive. (I used my handy sticker machine that was a recent craigslist find.)
Loosen an embroidery hoop and center the image in the hoop. Pull gently along the edge to create some tautness. Tighten the hoop to secure the fabric, and then trim the extra fabric to 1/2" (or at least shorter than the width of the hoop).
Glue the fabric edge to the frame using a hot glue gun. If you want to create a more finished look, you can glue a ribbon over the fabric edge.
In about an hour, I was able to create five custom silhouettes. And since I had most of the materials for the project, it cost me very little. I thought about embroidering names below each silhouette but decided to keep it simple.