Father’s Day Father & Son Silhouette Project DIY

June 12th, 2013

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I asked my very crafty friend (and landlady) Katie to create an awesome father’s day project for my blog. She came up with this great idea to do a father/son silhouette. I suppose if you have a daughter you can do a father/daughter silhoutte, or a father/pet one etc. I’m not sure how you’d do multiple children, maybe a really long frame. I’m sure there’s lots of ways you can play around with this idea.

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I just love how the silhouette turned out. The script paper in the back makes for a super elegant art piece for your mantle or gallery wall.

The first step is to get a photo of your guys. Good luck keeping them still for that one second it takes to hit the shutter button.

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Then you’ll need to import the pictures onto your computer. Katie used Adobe Illustrator to build her silhouettes in. If you have a wacom tablet, you could also use photoshop or some similar program. The benefit of using Illustrator is that your silhouette can become a cuttable file for your Cricut or Cameo pretty easily. If you’re just not computer savvy, you can create a silhouette the old fashioned way by projecting light past your subject and onto a surface – ┬áhand-drawing while they sit there, or you can take photos and print out the photo the correct size, and trace/cut your silhouette from the photo.

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In Illustrator you’re basically making a line with points that define change in direction. You want to have as few points as possible in order for your shapes to be as smooth as they can be. Create a new layer, and use your pen or pencil tool to follow the outline of the faces. You can see here that the lines are white so that they show up against the photos.

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Once the silhouettes are complete, you can switch the white line to a white fill to make sure that they look correct.

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When you’re happy with the shapes, you can delete the photo layer, and turn the white fill into a black fill.
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Then you can figure out how you want the project to be composed.

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Katie tried the faces nested, but it created some visual confusion. So she settled on them overlapping.

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To keep the necks from having odd starting and stoping spots, Katie created an oval and used the pathfinder tool to make the shapes fit perfectly together.
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She sent me her illustrator files since I have a Cameo (which I LOVE and highly recommend). I saved each silhouette in it’s own file, and exported as a .DXF (make sure there are no groups). Then I imported into the Silhouette Studio (Cameo’s free software), and cut each of the silhouettes out with my Cameo. Katie cut the background circle by hand, and then we glued the silhouettes onto the background and mounted them in the frame.

silhoutte_table1This turned out to be a pretty quick project, and the results are stunning. Thanks Katie!