How simple is this? Long before cameras, only the rich could afford to have their portrait painted. A silhouette profile cut from black paper was the most affordable way to record a person’s appearance. Nowadays, with hundreds of pics at our fingertips, why not choose a few favorites to create your own family heirloom or keepsake gift? Capture family memories with this fresh spin on a classic art form. It’s so easy to do…just trace, cut and paste!


Tools and Materials

Frame (I used mini-frames)

Black Cardstock Paper

Scrapbook Specialty Sheets

Tracing Paper

Double-Sided Tape or Glue Stick

Decorative Stickers/Lettering (optional)

White Pencil

Black fine-tip Sharpie


  1. Choose a favorite old photo or shoot a new one. For a profile, position your subject against a bright background. Edit the photo to black & white and increase the contrast.


  1. Create a template. There are two ways to do this: a) If you have a printer, simply print the photo and cut it out to use as your template; or b) Place tracing paper over the photo on your iPad or device and outline your subject. Cut it out to use as your template. Tip: Make your template as detailed or as simple as you like. Larger silhouettes look best with more detail.


  1. Lay the template on black cardstock paper and trace around it with a white pencil. Cut out the entire shape; then trim the edges to achieve the shape/details you’d like.


  1. Create the background. Trim a scrapbook sheet to fit the size of your frame backing; fix it to the backing with double-sided tape or a glue stick.


  1. Add your silhouette and any decorative details you’d like. Fix it in place with double-sided tape or glue. Finish it with a frame and enjoy!