How To Make Faux Silhouette Paintings

With Chanukah arriving earlier this year (December 8th to be exact), I planned out all of my gifts by Thanksgiving!

This portrait DIY that I made for my nephews was one of the most fun I’ve ever gifted and I think it will be something they will enjoy for the rest of their lives—not to mention, their parents too.

I saw these custom gifts being sold in a magazine for a “discounted” price of $125 and thought, what a brilliant idea…and I can do it for much less.

Holiday Silhouette Portrait Gift DIY

Materials: camera (camera on phone is OK), computer, printer, mat, frame

optional: pencil/ink/paint/brushes/high quality paper

my cost: $12/mat and frame 

STEP 1: Take a picture in profile against a white wall with no flash. Make sure you get the entire head in, unlike what I did here. 

STEP 2: For an accurate and advanced technique, upload into Photoshop and trace the outline of the profile by creating a path and using the pen tool. Then fill in the outline with the paint tool.

You can skip the rest of the steps and print this on high quality paper or you can do it the hand-made way like I did in the next step…

STEP 3: Flop the image in the computer for an accurate profile and print out the portrait (whether just the photo or the one you may have created in Photoshop). Then trace the outline with a thick line in pencil. 

STEP 4: Turn over the print out and place on top of a good quality drawing paper or canvas. Then trace the contrasting outline on the back, resulting in a transfer of the first pencil outline you created. 

STEP 5: Trace the pencil outline with ink and carefully fill in with either a wash of ink, gauche, marker, or as I used, a light wash of acrylic paint.

STEP 6: Make sure to label the name and date of the image, so they can look back on what they looked like in years from now. 

STEP 7: Mat and frame the paintings or printouts (these mats and frames were only $12/each at Michaels). Then gift and watch them guess who each portrait is of!


About Dear Andi

Dear Andi is the "Dear Abby" of Fashion + Beauty With Advice From NYC Fashion Stylist, Liz Teich

One Thought on “How To Make Faux Silhouette Paintings

  1. This is fantastic!!!

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