How To Make A Silhouette Portrait {Old School Style}

Well this is kind of old school, but also kind of new school because of the equipment used, but stay with me here. As you all know, we have been working feverishly in my daughter’s bedroom trying to give her a makeover. We needed some art and I wanted something different, so that brilliant DecorMan of mine said we should do one of those old school silhouettes. Sold!

How to Make Silhouette Portrait |

I always thought they were a pain to do for some reason. I don’t like messing with fancy software on the computer and I thought that’s what had to be done. But no, my husband said we will just trace it, after we project the image on the wall on black paper. Ummm, sounds good to me.

Since he is the most technological person on this planet, he already had a cool little projector that he got at Brookstone.

We first took a side profile picture of Emma on his iphone, then he hooked it up to the projector and put it up on the wall. (sorry, lots of grainy ipad pics coming up)

How To Make Silhouette |

It’s so cool how that works though. I tried tracing one and that is not my thing. So then he did this one and just traced with chalk and it came out perfectly, of course.

I love that little picture though because she has a cute little smile. :)


Silhouette Traced with Projected Image |


Then he carefully cut it out with good scissors and an x-acto knife.


Then I taped it to a big white piece of poster board and put it in a big frame I got from the antique store.

Silhouette Portrait |

I have to apologize for the angles of these photos too because there is glass in this frame. It causes a terrible reflection so I had to be down on the ground pointing up to get this. Oh the things we do…

How to Make Silhouette Portrait |

And that is that! I understand not all of you will have a projector like this, but maybe you could use an old one from a school? Or just have your kid stand very still against the wall and trace it live? That would be difficult, but doable. Or even cast a shadow on the wall somehow with a lamp and trace their shadow. But if you have a projector, you can make it many different sizes and it’s much easier. :)

Have you made any of these before? How did you do it?

p.s-Don’t forget about the essential oil free gifts offer and the essential oil giveaway happening now



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  1. Super cute Emily. I love silhouettes. If you don’t have a projector you can always print the picture on a normal printer, cut out the image, and trace it onto black card stock and cut out (or if you need the image larger than standard size paper you can always have it enlarged at a copy store as well).

  2. I used to do these every year for my kindergarten students. Not hard at all to trace if they will sit still for just a minute. I still love them and think they are a great way to share a memory. Since they are usually life size, they really capture the child at that moment.

  3. That is so cool, I remember having that done as a kid :-)

  4. That turned out beautifully! I just cut out 30+ silhouettes for my son’s preschool teacher of all the kids in her classes. Previously she projected light at the kids and traced, but it was awful to so since it’s a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds and so time intensive. So I took a profile picture of each child, traced their image in photoshop elements and made the child part black and the background white. Then opened it in my Silhouette software and used the trace function and then cut it out with the Silhouette. It is so easy that way if you have the right software and tools! It does get a little harder with curly hair and you have a little less control over the simplicity of your lines, but it was definitely a great method for doing so many.

  5. This turned out great! Love it. I saw Sabrina Soto do a collection of these for a Dining Room (I think) and she just used a photo editor to take out all of the color. This is great for the photo editor challenged. I did buy an old projector from the school for $5 and it is collecting dust in the basement. Maybe I’ll give it a try.


  1. […] little side of the room where her silhouette that we made is, also has a little place for her to hang up pictures and her bags and whatnot. And have a tea […]