DIYP#21- Making Old Fashioned Silhouettes

Hi! Welcome to my little doitmyselfbecauseI’mcheap corner of the world!
I am so excited to show you this project. It is by far my favorite! I think the results are amazing, if I do say so myself!

I love old things. And maybe that’s why I’m drawn to silhouettes. But since I’m not really artistic, I’ve never thought about making them.
Until I read the NieNie Dialogues. This amazing mother of 4 is a silhouette-maker, among other things amazing things. I stumbled upon her blog months ago when she and her husband were critically burned in an airplane crash. Their amazing love story is rare and beautiful and it will continue.
I felt inspired to create silhouettes of my children, much like NieNie. There are many ways to make silhouettes, but I needed something quick and easy. And I read about painting the back of pictures to create the look here.
Step 1: Take profile shots. This was easy with my oldest two. My toddler was a challenge because she doesn’t stay still for long.
Step 2: Enlarge photo. I had 8×10’s made. But you can also do 5×7’s.

Step 3: Cut out the profile. Many people use a sharp exacto knife to do this. I am afraid of them, so I used scissors. This is the hardest part. I had to shut out distractions and concentrate. Ya know, so my kids would have all their parts. I found that it looks more realistic if you can cut in curls and eyelashes. I even left my toddlers pudgy neck.
Step 4: Flip the picture over and paint it black with acrylic craft paint. Once it dries, the paint will scratch off easily, but it’s easy to fix with a dab of the brush.

Step 5 &6: While these were drying, I grabbed three old frames I’ve used for other projects. They were mismatched and scratched, so I spray painted them all black. Since my pictures were life size and my frames were large, I needed 10×13 white mats. These are expensive, so I bought a package of 10×13 white cardboard cake boards in the baking section of WalMart for a fraction of the cost of the mats. I just glued them down and they fit perfectly.
Step 7: Hang and enjoy!

Step 8: Feel proud of yourself every time you walk upstairs and don’t forget to whisper a prayer for NieNie. Wouldn’t these make a great gift for your family or grandparents? Cheap, but grand!


  1. 5


    wow. those turned out great. i just took a ton of pics of my kids today trying to get a profile that i can use to make a silhouette. i am planning to give it a go with photoshop but if i have something i think i may try your way too. oh and very clever using the cake boards as mats!

  2. 7


    LOVE this! I wonder if I can adapt it for 9-year-olds to do as a make-and-take for my daughter’s bday party…. Maybe not. But it’d sure be cool.

    I think I know what Grandma’s getting for Christmas this year!

  3. 23


    What a neat idea! We had these growing up and I always loved them. Lost them in a fire though.

    Wow, I can totally redo this idea for my little pics and my kiddos.

    Christmas just got a little easier!

  4. 29


    Silhouettes are THE thing right now, and you make it look sooo easy! I’m totally stealing this for my grandparent gifts this year! Thank you!

  5. 31


    This is a wonderful idea! Finally something cool that I can do myself easily! I will do this for my hall/stairs area where I haven’t known what to do!
    You can save up 40% off coupons for Michaels and get cool mats there too! :)

  6. 43


    Oh, WOW! I can’t wait to do this. Kudos to you for sharing it with us and also for mentioning NieNie’s cause. She is extraordinary. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

  7. 44

    Krystal says

    OK so I am very late on finding this post and your blog, but what an awesome idea! I CANNOT wait to get started on this one! Thank you so much for sharing!


  8. 47

    Anonymous says

    I am going to use this technique and make a quilt with my granddaughters silouhette surrounded by some fabric small silouhette's that I purchased. I think it will turn out awesome. I will display it in my house for a wall hanging size.

  9. 48

    Stefanie says

    Thank you so much for posting these directions! Just what I was looking for. This will make a perfect homemade Christmas gift for grandma cuz I’m sooo broke!

  10. 49


    I’ve had this post saved for awhile and finally got around to making one! My son is 4.5 mo old and the neck was a little tricky- being that he barely has one!! But, I think it turned out really well! Thanks for the fun, easy DIY project!

  11. 50

    Christi M. says

    I”ve been wanting to do a silhouette project for my mom-in-law, of all her grandkids. Finally getting it done for her 50th birthday. THanks for you tips! So glad I stumbled upon your website. I will return!

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