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DIY-ify: Create your own digital silhouette

Have you ever wondered how to create your own digital silhouette? I absolutely love this Better Homes and Gardens version of a family tree, and I want to share how you can create a silhouette family of your own, using photoshop!

There are many ways to make a silhouette (tracing a shadow on paper or using tracing paper to trace around a photo shape being the most popular). BUT, I prefer to make mine using photoshop. With the right adjustments and lighting in your photo, you can create a silhouette with any photo edit program (free edit programs can be found online).

1. First things first: you need to actually take a side view photo of each person and animal you’d like in your family tree. For my family: that’s my two cats, chihuahua, and daughter. My children.

How to take a silhouette photo: take your photo in front of a window or a white background (flash turned off). Unlike a normal photo, for a silhouette you light the background of your subject, rather than the front.

P.S. When photographing a 2-year-old, a little candy bribery may help.

2. Using a photo editing software, turn the image black and white.

3. Use the levels layer (or brightness and contrast) in your photo editing program to adjust your image. I needed my subjects to be a little darker and the background lighter. You can sharpen up the edges of your silhouette using a pen tool set to a black color.

4. Optional: Use the liquify tool to smooth out your silhouette. I had a hard time getting a photo of my 2-year-old. And, the image I chose cut out her pigtails. So, using the liquify tool you can add to and adjust your silhouette. I added a little hair curl flip back in.

5. Using the select tool, select and delete the background behind the silhouette.

6. Set a new layer behind the silhouette, and pick whatever background color you’d like. I went with a lovely teal.

7. Optional: if you’d like a white silhouette instead of black, set a clipping mask layer just above your original silhouette. Set that layer color to white.

8. Save and print your image out. I prefer to use acid free heavy card stock paper. I printed my images at home, but you can also head to any print shop to get your images printed for a low price.

9. Put your images into frames, and arrange on your wall.

10. Enjoy!

A little penny saver tip: instead of putting all your money into the frames, save a bit of cash by finding your frames at a thrift shop. You can keep them the way you find them, or spray paint them all the same color for a cohesive look. I spent $11 on 5 frames, plus $10 for spray primer and paint. My total cost: $21. Pretty darn awesome.

See, easy and fun. A unique piece of artwork to celebrate your family. I hope you create your own! I love mine. Let us know if you try this out for yourself, in the comments below.

- Chelsey, The Paper Mama

7 Responses to “ DIY-ify: Create your own digital silhouette ”

  1. I love the first cat! :) It looks fantastic!

  2. Thanks Jen B! Me too. :)

  3. I have so many silhouettes I have made of my dogs. I love the idea of a family tree – so cute!

  4. This is great! I now know what my weekend project is going to be : )

  5. What a fantastic idea! Quick and easy, too!

  6. I absolutely love the silhouettes! I’m stealing the savvy trick of thift store frames. By the way, what kind of photo editing program did you use?

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