Sunday, June 3, 2012

Silhouettes Aren't Just for People

I have wanted to make a silhouette portrait for AGES, but I kept putting it off. I was afraid it would be hard. And complicated. Or worst of all, I might waste a bunch of time only to have it end up not looking good. Also, I didn't have an overhead projector, and that's how we did it in elementary school, so I had it stuck in my head that that's how it should be done. 

Well, I hate to admit this, but often my biggest motivator is having something else I should be doing. So while I was procrastinating on another project (probably a writing deadline or laundry), I decided I would try to make a silhouette of my Puglet, Conner (in case you're wondering, a Puglet is a Pug-piglet combo, i.e. a food-obsessed, piggish little Pug). 

I was curious to see if I could find an easy way to do this, and still wind up with something that I wasn't embarrassed to show others. To start, I pasted just a regular old digital image of Conner into a Microsoft Word doc. I stretched one corner and made it as big as I could fit on the page. Then I printed it out on some grey cardstock I had leftover from my church's women's retreat. (It wasn't even a good printout because I was running out of black ink and the grey paper made the whole thing look a little muddy. Fortunately, that didn't matter.)

Here's the picture I used:

He's adorable, right? Conner was a rescue, and it's true what they say about rescues being so grateful to finally have a good home. He's so cuddly and sweet -- even if does like to pee in the laundry room because he's too lazy to go outside.

Now back to our regularly scheduled project ... While I sat and watched TV, I used a small pair of embroidery scissors to cut out Conner (you can also use manicure scissors or any craft scissors that can handle fine details). I did one of his whole body and one of just his front half, cutting a fancy, silhouette-y swoop at his neckline. When I was done, I flipped them over and was pleasantly surprised to see that they actually looked like Conner! 

Just one problem: They were on that icky grey cardstock. Before you get carried away and think you can just print on black paper, think that through. It's important to use a light colored paper so you can see the image you're cutting out, but that's not the best finished look. I knew I wanted my finished project on a dark background, so I grabbed my trusty matte black spray paint, headed outside and applied a few squirts. I wasn't sure what it would do to the cardstock, but it worked great ... until the wind came up in my front yard and blew my masterpieces behind the trash can. Ugh. They survived, though. Whew!

Next up was mounting and framing. I found this great oval frame at a local estate sale for a few bucks, but I can't leave anything alone, so I covered it in glossy red spray paint. Much better, right? Then I cut some patterned craft paper in an oval and attached my cutout of Conner's head. 

Here's the finished product:

Isn't he handsome? Yeah, I know.