Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIY Silhouette Portrait Keepsake

Today I am sharing how do a project for you and that special person in your life! It's a silhouette portrait keepsake, inspired by old Victorian silhouette portraits. My version uses maps and has the theme "Home is where the heart is." This is perfect for couples, like me and my husband, who come from different states, towns, or even countries, but have made a life together. I'll show you how to make the heart map background and the silhouettes, leaving you to mat and frame as fits your decor!

What you will need is:
  • An old road atlas/map book (I used a 1990s Rand McNally Road Atlas found at the thrift store)
  • Brown packaging paper
  • A digital camera, computer and printer to make the silhouette templates
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Exacto Knife
  • Permanent Marker or Pen to personalize

 To make the heart background, pull out 1-2 double page spreads from the center of the atlas. 1 page will make a smaller heart, 2 will make a larger heart. I used 2 double page spreads and taped the edges together on the back. Fold your map in half, and with the fold in the center, draw one side of your heart. Once you get the shape that you like, cut. When you unfold you should have a standard heart shape.

Next, take some brown packaging paper, folded in half and trace your map heart, also folded in half, with the folded edges lined up. Now cut out the brown paper heart, but cut an inch inward, so that the map heart can peek out and create a border. Now your background should be ready!

Now you'll make the silhouettes. The easiest way to make a silhouette is to have a someone take a good photo of you with a digital camera. The picture needs to be a side shot, from the top of the head to the chest only, and if you can find an all white or light colored background that is best. A white background will be easiest to tell the difference between your profile and the background. With your profile picture taken,  go the computer and print out the picture on standard printer paper. Now take the exacto knife and carefully cut following your profile. Stop at the top of the shoulders in the back and make a smooth curve to the chest in the front to create the bottom edge of the silhouette. If you have done it right, you should be have a piece of paper with a silhouette of yourself in the middle as a template for tracing! Repeat this for the silhouette of your loved one. Next take your templates and place them over map pages and trace. We chose to center each of our silhouettes over our birth cities and then trace using the templates. After tracing, carefully cut your now transferred silhouettes out of the maps.

At this point you should have your heart background and two silhouettes cut out and ready to glue! Now you can glue all three layers together and personalize with marker or pen. We each printed our names and I added the phrase "Home is where the heart is" and the year. I also doodled a border around the edge and cut an anatomical heart, but you can personalize as you see fit. After that your keepsake is done and ready to display, with the exception of matting and framing. I hope you have fun making your own family silhouettes!

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