Silhouettes are outlines of a person in profile, filled in with black color and placed on a white background. The technique was developed by Etienne de Silhouette and before photography was invented, it was a less expensive way of having a portrait made.  I happened to come across two silhouettes that we had made of our girls when we all visited Disney World a long time ago.  Maybe you have seen the silhouette booths that are set up along Main Street USA.  Here is the one of daughter #1, Beth.

These silhouettes were formed by an artist who used a small pair of scissors and black paper. He or she (can’t remember now) just looked at our daughters and did the cutting.  They looked remarkably like them. Here is the silhouette for daughter #2, Katie.

After our wonderful grand daughter was born, her mother had a friend create this silhouette and it came as a gift.  The aritst in this case is Jackie, a co-worker and friend of Beth’s.  She has a wonderful company on Etsy.  To see her work or to order, go to:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/PrettyFaces.  Jackie works from photographs that you provide.  You can choose the background and what you may or may not want to be in the hair.  There is an unwanted glare on the glass, but beneath it is printed, “five months”.  Here is the wonderful silhouette of Tabitha.

When Katie was planning her wedding which had a French theme, she wanted silhouettes to be on the program.  She asked Jackie from Pretty Faces to do silhouettes of her and her handsome husband-to-be, Patrick.  Their monogram was put at the bottom of the two pictures.  Here the finished product.

When we moved to this home, I discovered that I had a grand total of four silhouette pictures.  They needed a place of honor on the wall!

It is always best to keep a collection together in a grouping. My silhouettes would not have as much impact if I put two in one room, one in another, etc.  I think that the impact is even better because the room is done in black and white toille and of course the images are black and white.  If you are doing a room in toille, it is best to use as much of it as possible.  The comforter, curtains, chair covers are all the same print.  Here is what the collection looks like in the bedroom.

There is just a wonderful site called, “Dear Lillie.” See:  www.dearlillie.com

The author has a slhouette machine…yes, that is right, a machine! I looked it up on a craft web site and it is a machine that will reproduce silhouettes for you…. many applications and looks like lots of fun.  She had a “Jane Austen Birthday Party”‘ and she put Jane Austen’s silhouette on book pages and then strung them on a cord.  I thought that this would have been great if I had done it with our daughter’s image for a wedding shower!  Alas!  I am out of unmarried daughters, so maybe I will do this for a grand daughter’s birthday party.  How about an anniversary party?

  There are a couple of ways to make your own silhouettes.  The first is to have your subject sit in a chair.  Position your light source so it casts a shadow of your subject on a wall.  Tape a large sheet of white paper on the wall where the shadow appears. Position it so there is some room at the top and bottom and the shadow on the paper includes a portion of the subject’s neck.  You might include the top of the shoulders.  Using a pencil, trace the outline of the shadow onto the paper.  Fill in the tracing with black color or cut out the silhouette and trace it onto black paper.  Cut it out and glue it to white paper.

The second method you can use to make a silhouette is to take a photograph of your subject in profile.  Print the photo and then carefully cut out the profile using scissors.  Trace the profile onto black paper. You might want to enlarge or reduce it on your copy machine before tracing onto the black paper.  Use your frame as a guide for the finished size.  You will be able to see a white or yellow pencil on the paper after completing the tracing.  Cut the traced silhouette from the black paper and position it on a sheet of white paper that’s been trimmed to fit into a picture frame or put it on a background first…maybe even use the page torn from an old book like in the Dear Lillie posting.

These would be fun projects to do with children, and great gift ideas for the holidays. Create and be happy!

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