DIY: Silhouette Painting

For this month’s DIY project, I am going to show you how I made a friend’s wedding present. So, if you just received a wedding gift from me, but have yet to open it, I would hold off on reading this post.

For the couple, I created a piece using the profile silhouettes of their favorite Disney couples. Hers is Belle and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, his is Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled.

For this project, you will need:

  • Photoshop (Or some other photo editing software)
  • The Internet
  • A Printer
  • Card Stock Paper
  • Scissors
  • A blank canvas
  • A Pencil
  • Black Acrylic Paint (I highly recommend Acrylic for this project because of the weight. It is also the best paint for layering color without bleeding)
  • Paint Brushes (I recommend something with a straight stiff bristle, at least for the outlining)
  • Other Acrylic Paints

1. To begin, find the images you want to use. I suggest finding a few images of the person you want to create the image of so you can layer them to get the best look. Since I was using Disney characters, I found a few screen shots on the internet that would work.

2. Import those images into photoshop. You can use another photo editing software to do this, but Photoshop is what I have, it is what I like to use, and it is what the tutorial will be based around.

3. Once you have the image imported, use the magnetic lasso tool along the left hand side of the screen. Seen here in the red circle. Draw the outline of the character you want. The magnet will attach itself to the outline. If it is having trouble sticking where you want it to, click on the line you want to attach to an keep going.

Magnetic-Lasso4. After you have the part of the image you want to keep, cut the selection. The keystroke for this is Command+X. Then you are going to want to open a New Blank File. The size of the file should automatically fit the image you just cut, which is being held on your clipboard. Paste the part of the picture into the new blank file. The keystroke for this is Command+V.

New File


5. Repeat this for the other images you have selected and paste them all into the same file. To line these images up, you may need to flip or rotate them. You can do that by clicking Image>Rotate and then selecting whichever option you need.
Rotate6. Once everyone is looking the same direction, you will want to turn them from full color to a solid black. It does not have to be solid black, but the contrast makes it much easier to see during the rest of the editing process. To start, you need to remove all of the saturation from the image, which will make it greyscale. Do this by pulling the Saturation slider all the way to the left.

Saturation7. Next, you want to tone down the Mid-Tone Contrast and Darken Highlights. You do this by pulling those two sliders all the way to the left.

8. Pour the Paint Bucket on the image. The colors in the image should be muted enough that the bucket will cover most of the face. You may have to fill in a few areas with the paint brush, but taking away the color and contrast helps with a lot of that.

9. Line up the images. You can scale the images up or down using the arrow in the upper left hand side. Size the images as closely to each other as possible. Then use the eraser tool to remove the parts of the image you do not want. In this image, I wanted one of the Rapunzel’s noses, but not the other, so I erased the one I did not like. This is where the layers come in handy. When erasing, select the layer you want to erase and it will leave the one you want to keep. You can also us the paint brush to fill in areas that seem off as well.


11. Save the image as a jpeg which will flatten the image and make it easier to print. Then print the image on card stock paper and cut it out to create the stencil.  Be sure you look at a print preview to ensure the image is the size you want it to be.

Save12. Trace the image onto the canvas.

Trace13. Fill in the images with the black acrylic paint. I recommend starting with the outer edges and filling the image in from there.

Paint14. Let the black paint dry. I waited until the following evening. Then paint over top in the other paint colors.


15. If you are recreating this as a gift, be sure to let everything dry completely before wrapping. I suggest waiting for at least 24 hours.









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