12 Days Handmade Christmas Tutorials|Day 9 Silhouettes

by Edie Wadsworth on November 9, 2010


If you’re new to the ’12 Days’, you may visit the previous days by clicking on the day you like:

Day 1 Crayon Roll

Day 2 Zippered Pouches

Day 3 Appliqued Placemats

Day 4 Quilted Potholders

Day 5 Camera Strap

Day 6 Embellished Dish Towels

Day 7  Bean Bags

Day 8 Alphabet Crayons

I love silhouettes and I’ve tried at least two different methods for making them.  I think you’re gonna love Angel’s easy to follow tutorial —-I plan on making some very soon myself.  Make sure you visit Angel’s blog and her etsy shop for some wonderful handmade goodies!  It’s been a privilege to meet Angel and I’m thankful she’s agreed to teach us today!

Hi there, I’m Angel of TaDa! Creations. I am thrilled to be able to share with you two of my favorite tutorials right here on Edie’s beautiful blog.
Thank you Edie!

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I live in gorgeous Minnesota where I married my crush from 7th grade. I feel so blessed to get to do life with him. Together we have 5 year old twin girls and a two year old baby boy. Though my passion is sewing custom boutique clothing for little girls with lots of hand embroidery, I also love to decorate my home. And now that my kids are getting older I can finally start putting decorative things back within their reach. So exciting, I know!

Now, about those tutorials…let’s get started!

I’ve always loved the classic look of silhouettes. Especially when they are of children, and even better yet, a baby. I knew I wanted these over our bed with the new black and yellow color scheme of our bedroom. So I finally got busy yesterday and cut them out.

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I found oval 10″x12″ frames at JoAnn a while back. You can usually find them on sale for 50% off or buy one get one free. Or at the very least use a 40% off coupon (they accept competitors coupons too). I bought a new Exacto knife and 7 sheets of black scrapbook paper. I figured I’d make some mistakes and be thankful for the extra paper. I actually could have gotten away with just 2 sheets. For both the black and the white I bought paper with a mock linen texture to it.

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I took pictures of the kiddos earlier, trying to get them all about the same distance away in the photo. Then I copied them into Word and printed them onto regular paper to use for my templates. I later had to print Emily’s a tad bigger to be in scale of Allison and Sam.

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I determined that I wanted the final faces to all be looking to the left to I traced the back of the pint outs. I knew that later they would be traced to the back of the black paper so any ridges from cutting would end up on the backside. Drawing the outline on the backside also helped to be better able to see just the lines I wanted to cut on. Tape it to a window so you can see through from the front.

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My initial first drawing. Lots to clean up and more details to add including eyelashes. You don’t really see eyelashes protruding from a sideview, but they add a lot to a silhouette.

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Here is where I noticed that the scale of Emily’s face was a little smaller than Allison’s, so I went back to my Word doc and dragged it a little bigger until it seemed right.

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Now to tweak the details. Allison originally had side buns, but I made it look more like one bun in the back and added the little flyaways under it. I also gave a better shape to their bows and to Emily’s ponytail. Sam got a bit more definition to his hair so he didn’t look so bald. And they all got retro looking collars, perhaps my favorite part of all.

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Then I was ready to start tracing the lines with my knife (on top of my cutting mat of course). I didn’t tape anything down, I just held the template very tightly with my left hand. I did all of them while kneeling on the floor, which wasn’t fun, but it gave me good leverage.

On the right is the photo I cut out and the left is where the silhouette came out of. It was tough to get it to cut through the whole way around even though I pressed so hard my fingers ached (especially after cutting out all three). Just go back over those spots and when it’s all detached you’ll have a few rough spots to spruce up.

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Next I double checked to make sure I liked the overall scale.

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Here is all three cut out. It looks like I need to makes Sam’s nose a little more round, it’s pretty pointy here. And Emily’s upper lip got cut a little smaller than it should have. I need to redo hers for sure, but my fingers still ache so that will wait until tomorrow. I would suggest starting with the face so that if you make a mistake you haven’t wasted all your time and energy with the rest of the details. I learned that the hard way.

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Close up of her mis-cut lip. Sorry Sweetie!

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Next I used the glass from the frames to cut the white background paper out. I just swiped the Exacto knife all the way around the glass. That worked pretty slick. Of course you’ll have to wash the glass and get all the upc label residue off. Why do they always put stickers where they don’t belong?

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I used archival double sided tape on the backs to secure them.

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Then I laid them all in the frames to see what they would look like. I measured to make sure they were centered correctly. I thought I could eyeball them, but I did have to move one down and another over slightly, so I’m glad I measured.

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Perfect, now they are ready for hanging!

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I am so in love with these on my yellow walls.

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You could really have fun with these and use a patterned paper for the background.
Or how fun to cut the images from a different color?

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But I really love the classic look for this spot. They are just what this wall needed.

Do you think I hung them too high? I didn’t have the luxury of someone else to hold them up so I could see them from far away.

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See the rest of our room re-do here
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elise November 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Brilliant!! Thanks for the tutorial!!
Elise

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2 Celesta November 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I went to your site and was drawn to your girls’ room. I saw the owl pillows at Target yesterday. Love at first site. I didn’t see the appliques, but will go back because those are so,so cute. It’s not hard to go back to Target. I believe God’s anointing is on Target. I feel His presence each time I enter…Ha!

Great site and ideas!

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3 Perfecting Pru November 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

AND I still can’t wait to make these! I’m thinking they would look really good if they were shrunk down and put on gift tags for Christmas.

Pru

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4 Dana November 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I love it! I have wanted to do this for so long!!! This year will be the year!

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5 Audra Lynn November 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Great post! I did silhouettes of my kids for grandparent gifts last year. I’ll have to wait another year or two to do it again. :)

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6 jessica November 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I am loving these posts Edie! My son and I just finished making Meg’s crayons and I am thinking that these silhouettes will be a great gift for grandparents. Thanks so much for all of your fabulous ideas!!!

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7 Krister November 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thank you so much for the tutorial, I am anxious to do this with my son. You have explained the step perfectly!

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8 Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage November 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

These are gorgeous!!! :)

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9 Flower Patch Farmgirl November 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

This is a book-marker, fo shiz.

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10 The Fairy's Apprentice November 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm

This is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I love your idea and I think I will do it with my 3 kids, too! Brilliant!

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11 sara's art house November 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm

These are great!

Loving the 12 days!!!!!

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12 sara's art house November 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm

These are great!

Loving the 12 days!!!!!

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13 Jennifer November 10, 2010 at 3:44 am

I am SOOOO excited that you posted this. This is on my list of things that I have always wanted to do. Now I have no excuses since I now have instructions. :)

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14 Angel/TaDa!Creations November 12, 2010 at 3:50 am

Thanks Edie for including my tutorial! I hope you all get to making them. They are so much fun!

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15 Morgan November 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm

These are A-MAZING! I will definitely be making them for my own Christmas present! :) Or, maybe I’ll make them for my husband, but they’ll secretly be for me! :)

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16 Amy November 18, 2010 at 5:06 am

WOW! I almost paid $18 for one of these on Etsy yesterday. I think I’ll try to do it myself first. Thank you!

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17 beth December 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Didn’t do it, but …..I wanted to do this at Thanksgiving time….take photos of all my family members. You inspired me to do this for next year. However – I plan on keeping the silhouettes small, putting them in tiny frames, and hanging them on my Christmas tree. How cool is that! :)

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18 Lusine January 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

such professional work,they look perfect,wish I could succeed in doing it!

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19 Christine February 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I love these so much!! My only question is, when you centered them in the frames, what did you use as a baseline to center them? Their noses? The tops of their heads? Just want to make sure that when I make mine I do it right! Thank you for posting this, brilliant!

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20 Patty November 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

I did silhouettes for my daughters wedding. To show people where to go we put their silhouettes on wooden oval boards and then on stakes and put them outside the venue. People just loved them. They will always have them to remember that day. Loved the pictures of your children.

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