Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade gift for the beginner crafter...

How many silhouettes does it take to make a birthday gift?


Well I decided three, but really you could just do one or even a collage of many smaller ones. But here's the deal, silhouette art is popular now, right? Cool. So give the gift of a re-imagined photo to your loved one by making a framed silhouette out of one of their pictures! Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, lifting a photo of the gift-ee is easy and thanks to a quick trip to Michael's and an Exact-o knife, so is making this gift...

  • Scissors
  • Exacto Knife
  • Glue Sticks
  • Craft Paper
  • Frame with matting
  • Tape Measure (optional, really)
  • Printed Pictures
  • Printed Text
  • Pencil
  • Scotch tape


When you're printing out your pictures, use a basic publishing program (like Word or Publisher) to estimate the size you want. I wanted 5x7's so I used the ruler tools in Publisher to make a 5x7 box and then scaled the picture to that.
When printing your text, format the words so that they fill the page as solidly as possible. This gives you a nice, uniform pattern for your silhouette.

On the picture side of the photo, using a pencil, trace the outer edges of the silhouette you want. Press down hard so that you leave lots of graphite on the picture. In the example below, I was tracing the outer edges of a cat's face.

Then, flip the picture over, and line up the  picture side (face down) onto the back side of your text paper. So essentially, both sheets of paper are facing down. You will be able to see the indentation of where you traced your shape. Now retrace that outline with the pencil. Press hard so that the graphite you put on the picture side of the top sheet of paper transfers onto the back side of the text paper.

Now you have the outline you need on the text paper to cut out your silhouette! Transferring this way makes sure that the end result silhouette is not a mirror image of your original picture.

Using the X-acto knife, CAREFULLY (the thing is sharp!!!) follow along the line to cut out your silhouette. Where your silhouette comes to the edge of the photo should have extra, for framing, so go a bit outside the lines. And ladies, don't pull a blonde moment, check what surface you're cutting on and make it appropriate. The men don't need any ammunition... or at least mine doesn't.

Ta-Da! Silhouette. If you're doing multiples, repeat these last few steps until you've got all your pieces. Then plan out your colors by trying different combinations until you're happy with the set-up.

Once you have your colors and layout chosen, cut the colored backgrounds to the size you need (5x7, in my case) leaving at least a 1/4 inch extra around the edges. Line up your silhouette to the edge, using  the part where you left extra, and glue down with a glue stick. I definitely suggest letting your silhouettes sit under a book over night so the glue really sticks flat...

After your silhouettes have dried, attach to the matting of your chosen frame using tape so they don't slide around.

Now you have a frame-able object! Slap it in the frame, wrap it up, and tie with a bow! You're done!

Total cost for me for this project was about $25 (frame, paper, X-Acto knife) and a couple hours of time spread over two mornings before work. Not too bad, if I do say so myself! Post pictures of your creations if you decide to make one!

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