Create a Family Heirloom with Easy DIY Silhouettes

Image Source: Lily Glass | Babble
Image Source: Lily Glass | Babble

My grandmother had four children with wonderful curls and little round noses. When we would visit her Florida home, I always loved studying the group of profile portraits she had drawn of each child when they were 5 to 10 years old. It was so fun to see the similarities in my mom and her siblings from those drawings.

Now that she’s gone, each child has their portrait displayed in their own home, and upon seeing them again with my now mama-eyes during a recent family reunion, I was inspired to preserve our tiny family in a similar way.

This DIY Silhouette tutorial couldn’t be easier! I took the portraits in the morning and had the images displayed before my daughter got home from school, and she squealed with delight when she saw them! (This would be such a great gift for a 1st birthday party!) It’s a beautiful way to hang onto those tiny curls and chubby little cheeks forever, and it’s a sweet keepsake for generations to come.

DIY Silhouettes


  • Camera (smart phone works well!)
  • Scissors or x-acto knife
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue stick
  • Cream card stock
  • Frame for each silhouette


  1. To take the portrait, have your subject stand against a blank wall and snap a picture of their profile from the shoulders up. Stand or squat at eye level with your subject (don’t shoot from up above or down below).

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  2. Repeat with every family member, reminding them to stand up straight and raise their chins a bit. It might feel a bit funny not smiling for the photo, but a stoic face translates into the silhouette the best.
  3. Upload the photos to your computer (or take to a print station) and edit the image size to correspond with your frame. I wanted to continue with the vintage feel, so I purchased three older frames at a thrift store.
  4. Crop the image to just above the head and just below the collarbone.
  5. Print the portrait a bit smaller than the frame. For example, I would print a 3 x 5″ photo for a 5 x 7″ frame.
  6. Carefully cut out the profile image, taking care to include a few strands of hair and lip detail for the best results.

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  7. Place the portraits on a scrap piece of paper, decide which way you want each profile to be facing, and hold in place with one finger while you paint directly onto the picture.

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  8. Once dry, I placed them in a large heavy book for a few minutes to keep the sides from curling up.
  9. Cut your cream card stock to fit inside your frame, and adhere the silhouette with the glue stick.

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  10. Frame, hang, and accept the ooo’s and aww’s from guests from here on forward. Don’t forget to date the back so your great grandchildren can appreciate them even more!
    Image Source: Lily Glass


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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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