In my design school days I often used silhouette art as inspiration for my projects. I was drawn to its graphic detailed quality that held it’s nostalgic charm. Silhouette art was introduced sometime between the 17th and 18th century in the Victorian Era. I have found through some research that it began in Europe and eventually became exceedingly popular in the 18th century in America, where artist were employed as a way to capture dignified portraits of American aristocrats, politicians, and common folk alike.
As a mother I thought I would love to have one of these for my self. However, as a designer I thought how can I make it work for my home? I needed to update this Victorian Granny into the Hip Modern Mother that I am. Plus, I also don’t have a lot of time as working mom and wanted something I could do in a day or so. By the way, once I got all my materials in order this project took me about an hour!
First I want to show you some examples of this traditional artistry. While it may be an oldie it is still very much a goodie!
Then: Antiques found on-line:
Now: The Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica
Designer: Kelly Wearstler
The Hip Modern Way of making Silhouette Art
First, with your point and shoot camera take a profile picture of your subject. It’s best to do this up against a blank wall. If you wanted to take this into to Photoshop and could do a really cool digital version. I’m just more of a traditionalist and like to work with my hands. Plus, let’s face it I’m not all that great with Photoshop.
Once you have selected your frame measure it in order to get an idea of the size enlargement you will need. I found this oval frame at a nearby hobby store and knew it would be perfect! I asked the copy center to make a 16 x 20 size photo enlargement on in black and white on regular bond paper. Ask for regular bond so they don’t over charge you.
My next stop was back to the hobby store where I need to select the two colors of artist paper for the silhouette. This is where you can get creative and choose whatever color combination you would like to use. I selected one that would work well on the wall I knew I was going to place it on. Remember you don’t have to stick to the standard black and white. Think color, or even a patterned background would work! That is what make’s this more up to date I think. * Please note the paper used for this was colored on both sides!
Now, take some double-sided tape and place your photo copy on tope of the artist paper you choose for the silhouette. You should have two layers of paper at this point. The photo on top and the artist paper for the silhouette on the bottom.
Begin cutting along the outline of your subject and be sure to get as detailed as you want.
Remove the copy
Place it, attach it with more tape or you may glue it.