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How To Make A Silhouette Keepsake

Have you been crafting or tackling projects during the cold weather? I tried an easy sentimental project that would fit in a gallery wall or would be perfect to gift! Read on to see.

Sydney from Sydney and Co blog set up a fun challenge to create a tutorial for something near and dear to our hearts. I started to think about ideas for Mother’s Day. It’s a few months away, but that’s where my mind immediately went. Then I started thinking about nostalgic memories. Somehow my brain led me to remember the souvenir silhouettes at Disneyland. Have you seen them? Your silhouette is captured in the same manner as the very popular Victorian mementos, you are able to choose the frame, and of course it says “Disneyland” along the bottom. I grew up going to Disneyland and the silhouettes always made an impression on me. I never had one done, but I loved to look at them.

After my trip down memory lane, I arrived at the idea of making my own silhouette. Well, not of me, but of my son! By the way, bravo for baring through my thought process ha ha. In my quest to make one, I turned to Google for some inspiration. Lo and behold I saw that Emily Henderson has an article about making silhouettes of her kids. I love how she asks readers to show if you tried the project and tag her and use her #showemyourdiy on Instagram. She is one of my favorite designers. I fell for her and her style when she had her show Secrets From A Stylist. Did you ever watch it? It was on HGTV in 2010 after she won Design Star and she did a really fun style diagnostic with each participant. I digress, let’s see how I did!

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Step 1 – Photograph your subject.

Hands holding mobile phone taking a photo of a boy.

You don’t need a fancy camera to do this. I just used my cell phone and a white wall as the backdrop.

Step 2 – Open the photo on a computer.

Woman holding pencil looking at computer screen.

I emailed the photo to myself. I am on a PC and not sure if there is a better way to do this lol. If you have a Mac, I guess you would airdrop the picture.

Step 3 – Trace the outline of your subject.

Woman holding paper on computer screen tracing.

For this step, I used a piece of printer paper. I have a touch screen, so this step took me a bit longer than if I had a non-touch screen. After a few attempts to trace and having the image move, I taped the paper to the computer and made my screen lay flat. The other thing that helped was to keep my son’s picture as close to the black border of my screen as possible. If you have a normal screen, this step will be even easier.

Step 4 – Cut out the silhouette.

Hands holding scissors cutting a silhouette pencil tracing.

My scissors are not the sharpest, so it was tricky to get the small sections. If you have small hair strands or things like eyelashes to capture, sharper scissors would be ideal. I linked some below n the Materials section.

Step 5 – Look over your cuts and fine tune as needed.

hand holding a white paper silhouette cut out.

I compared the silhouette to the photo on the screen and made little snips to cleanup the outline.

Step 6 – Trace the silhouette onto black paper or other color of your choice.

Hand holding a pencil tracing around a white silhouette cut out onto black paper.

My son and I went to Target and I picked up some Crayola construction paper. When I opened the package, I saw the black was very faded looking. Luckily I had one black sheet left in my stash. I linked the exact brand down in Materials. I also had scraps of cardstock in different colors and experimented with those. Maybe because my scissors were not sharp enough, bits of white fibers showed along the outline. I’ll have to experiment a bit more and add photos here later. The colors were a fun update to this centuries old technique.

Step 7 – Cut out the construction paper silhouette.

Cut out of black silhouette on marble.

Step 8 – Frame your silhouette.

Silhouette in gold oval frame on marble table.

I happened to have this oval frame which feels like the silhouette frames you may see in an antique shop. Below in the Materials section I linked some frames that would fit different styles if vintage is not the vibe you are going for.

I must say I really love how this turned out. I am sort of sad that I didn’t do one when my son was younger. Might need to look through old photos just so I can capture his chubby baby profile.

Silhouette in gold oval frame on black table in front of mural wallpaper.


Gold oval frame, scissors, tape, pencil and papers.
  1. Computer printer paper
  2. Construction paper
  3. Scissors
  4. Pencil
  5. Tape
  6. Frame
  7. Paper to attach finished silhouette to

Scroll through to see the perfect frames I found as well as the supplies.

Scissors next to gold oval frame and silhouette cut outs.

Pin To Save And Read Later!

Silhouette in gold oval frame .

Thank You!

Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate the time you spend here in my casa. Let me know in comments if you have have a vintage silhouette collection, have a made one, or just say hello!

44 thoughts on “How To Make A Silhouette Keepsake”

  1. Denise/My Home of All Seasons

    I absolutely love this project! It will be an amazing gift for a friend of mine and her adorable granddaughter. Thanks so much for sharing this. Pinned!

  2. I was just going to say that it reminds me of Disneyland!!! We made these in grade school, but mine did not turn out as well as yours did! LOL! It’s such a cute project, and what a great keepsake of your kids!

  3. Such a sweet project! I definitely want to do this with my kiddos too! I love the photos you took for this post. Thanks for sharing step by step. It turned out beautifully!

  4. This is such a sweet project! In the old days, this was done with an opaque projector. (I doubt that you’ve even heard of that.) My kindergarten teacher did this for everyone in my glass and my mom still has mine.

    1. Thank you Paula! I just looked up opaque projector & they are still manufactured! My classes had overhead projectors, but we never did this. Aw I love that your mom still has yours ❤

  5. Such a clever idea this is and keeping a personal quality to this makes it so much prettier

  6. We had ours done at Disney awhile back. This is awesome because now I can do another one and have them as a comparison of my grandkids growing up! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love this sweet project. I’ve always wanted to do something like this with my kids, but now that they’re older I’m not sure it’ll be as effective. A mom can still try, right? They’ll always be my babies!

    1. Aw thank you so much! You can find an old profile photo of your kids & try this out! Today I called my son “baby” in passing. And he told me he isn’t a baby anymore 😭💔 Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

  8. Oh my gosh! I’ve wanted to make one of these for my daughter, but didn’t know how. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. I’m definitely going to do this before she gets much older!

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