How to Make a Silhouette Portrait

There was a time before the invention of cameras when people used to immortalise themselves through silhouette portraits. This painting is easy to do and kids are always fascinated by them. Naturally, children love dressing up to play the pretend game.

And, silhouette portraits are not that difficult in all honesty. Plus, you don’t really have to take a lot of things in order to portray someone’s silhouette. If you are able to make a good portrait of such kind, you can easily do that with many objects.


  • 1

    In order to have a good background, tape a large piece of scrap paper to a wall. However, make sure that the scrap paper has no wrinkles on it.

  • 2

    Then, ask a person to sit on a stool. Make sure that the person is in close proximity to the papered wall.

  • 3

    The room has to be dark. In order to make sure that you get to have a clear shadow, place an unshaded lamp.

  • 4

    The size of the silhouette can be altered by moving the light. If you want the portrait to be large, take the lamp closer and if you want a small silhouette, take the camera further away from the wall.

  • 5

    However, you should bear in mind that the light is strong enough in order to keep the outline of the shadow sharp and clear enough so that you can trace it precisely.

  • 6

    Now that you have done all the preliminary settings, start tracing around the shadow outlined onto the paper taped to the wall.

  • 7

    However, you should try tracing as quickly as possible as the longer you trace, the more tired will the subject get and start moving.

  • 8

    Best practice is to start with the forehead, nose mouth and then chin.

  • 9

    When you are done with the aforementioned parts, cut out the pattern on the paper and tape it to the black construction paper or a cardboard. Make sure that you cut the pattern carefully.

  • 10

    Once you are done with it, turn over the paper and glue the silhouette to the white paper.

  • 11

    You can use fabric as well to glue the silhouette on. It is better that you use the Iron Heat N’ Bond fusible adhesive fabric as it will hold well with the paper.

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