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Fun Silhouette Craft: A Step-By-Step Visual How-To Guide

Updated on August 3, 2010

Silhouettes are beautiful, elegant creations, and with the advent of digital cameras and printers, they are easier to make than ever. Below is a guide to making your own silhouettes using some alternative materials, such as a printer instead of a lamp and tracing paper, and origami paper as an alternative to the traditional white background.


  • Digital camera
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Black paper (thicker paper or card stock is best)
  • Other paper for backgrounds (I use origami paper; you may prefer white card stock)
  • Double-sided tape or glue sticks
  • Scissors or X-Acto knives

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with a photoPrint your photosCut them outTrace on to black card stock, cut out, and mount on a nifty background!
Start with a photo
Start with a photo
Print your photos
Print your photos
Cut them out
Cut them out
Trace on to black card stock, cut out, and mount on a nifty background!
Trace on to black card stock, cut out, and mount on a nifty background!


  • Photograph subjects in profile- get creative with facial configurations, postures, and gestures- silhouettes need not be limited to stately postures of repose
  • Transfer the resulting photographs to your computer
  • Select your favourite photos for printing
  • Print the photographs from your computer in appropriate sizes (for silhouettes that fit on origami paper, six, or maybe four portraits per one 8.5 by 11 inch page are best.  Printing the photos on card stock is best if you have it; this will produce stronger originals from which you can work
  • Cut out the portraits you have printed
  • Trace the outline of these cutouts on black paper (or whatever paper you may wish to use for the foreground figure
  • With a glue stick or double-stick tape (or even looped, one-sided tape) affix your cutouts to a background; white is a classic choice, but I found that origami paper makes for something more bold and original
  • What results is a custom, lovely silhouette!


If you would like to have a painted silhouette instead of a paper one, simply trace your cutout onto water-colour or paint friendly paper and paint within the lines.  When your piece is dry, carefully erase the pencil outline.

It is great fun to make these silhouettes in a group.  I made mine with a bunch of friends- we added tea, scones, a movie, and made a lovely Saturday night of it.

Be creative with the final destinations of your resulting work- you have many choices when it comes to displaying or using your silhouettes- you can turn them into handmade greeting cards, frame them, or even use them as place holders at a dinner party- if you play your cards right, I am sure that you will have just as much fun making these silhouettes as you will finding a use for them


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks equealla! Yeah, this definitely is a good cold-weather activity. And it's ridiculously easy- that's a bonus, since I'm not so good with scissors!!

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Great idea. This is something to do on a cold winter day when outside activities is a torture. Imagine the fun the family could share doing this together.