do you remember these from elementary school?  my mom still has mine from second grade, frizzy bangs and all (ah, the early 90s).  i have always thought these are pretty neat looking, but docile as my toddlers may be, there is no way they could sit still in one position for a full 2 minutes to trace their profile.  several months ago, i read this post about making silhouettes out of photos, brilliant!

as i’ve mentioned, we recently moved.  that move was from a (too small) apartment into a (rather large) house, which as a result is somewhat empty with many bare walls.  these silhouettes are the latest in that effort, but would also make a great gift (even shrunk down to ornament size) with the holidays coming up.

for this project, you need:

  • oval wood cutouts, i got mine at michaels (~$5 each)
  • black acrylic paint and sponge paintbrush (~$2)
  • cardstock of your choice
  • mod podge
  • sawtooth hangers
  • profile shots of your subject, printed in the appropriate size in black and white (to save on color ink)

first, paint your wooden ovals with the black paint.  you don’t need to paint the whole front if you plan to cover it with cardstock.  this is to simulate an oval picture frame, so if you can find those, you’re ahead of the game.  next, trace the surface of your “frame” onto cardstock.  you can go plain white here, or choose one of the 8 million options at a craft store to brighten it up or match your decor.  if you’d like a thicker black frame, cut your oval a little smaller than the surface.  when the paint is dry, apply a thin coat of mod podge the face of your oval, and carefully align the card stock, and flatten.  i like to press it under a book for a few minutes here to make sure it dries totally flat.

while you wait for it to dry, tape your profile picture to black card stock and cut out carefully.  i used cuticle scissors for the facial features (and bean’s crazy hair) to be more precise.  now, attach the silhouette to your oval with a thin coat of mod podge or glue stick and press under a heavy book for another few minutes.  now, cover the whole surface of the oval with another thin layer of mod podge.  this is not just an adhesive glue, but also a sealant (it dries clear, i promise), and you can buy either matte or glossy finishes (i used matte).  a sponge brush works well here to evenly distribute the paint–get it as thin and unstreaked as possible so it won’t be noticeable when it dries.

if you’d like to hang these on a wall, you can purchase a box of those nifty sawtooth hangers from a craft or hardware store and nail them right into the back since it’s solid wood.

hang them up, and take a very blurry picture with poor lighting to record this feat of economical home decorating!  yeah!

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