Ever since I found a silhouette kit while thrifting, I’ve been wanting to make some Valentine silhouettes. I made some silhouettes of my two oldest children, when they were 6 and 3 years old. They were crudely made of black and white construction paper, but were good likenesses none the less. I’m saving them for a grandchild nursery-for when my older children get married and have kids of their own.
I couldn’t make new silhouettes of my kids for Valentine’s Day, because 2 of them are away from home right now. Also, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about seeing mine or my husband’s silhouette, although it would have been a cute Valentine’s Day idea. However, the book inside the silhouette kit had some fun ideas for pet silhouettes. So, I decided to make some Funny Valentine Pet Silhouettes.
- scrap plywood- I had two 11 X 16 pieces
- red and white paint- I used Apple Barrel 20408E White, and 2605E Crimson
- paint brushes-5″ roller brush and 1’sponge brush
- glue gun and glue sticks
- silhouette paper and die-cut paper frames- these (along with an instruction book) were included in my Silhouettes-the Art & Craft of Papercutting kit
- screen mesh-enough to cover your plywood
- clear glass gems
- profile photos of your pet/pets
- craft glue stick (not pictured)
The silhouette kit was amazing! It included an instruction booklet, black silhoutte paper, 16 silhouette mats, 4 die-cut frames, and 10 classic white mats. The book also included sections on the history of silhouette art, current trends, and etc. Before reading the book, I didn’t know that silhouette paper is black on one side, and white on the other. The white paper on the back prevents eye strain, because this is the side used for cutting. If you don’t have a kit-no worries-you can order the paper and die- cuts separately.
First, prepare your surface. Squirt Crimson and White onto your palette, but don’t mix the colors together. Next, use the roller brush to paint the plywood. This technique creates a nice, marbled look. Use a 1″ sponge brush to paint the edges. Let everything dry, or use a hair dryer to hurry things along. I didn’t worry about opaque coverage, because I wanted the “plaque” to look rustic.
Cut the screen mesh a little smaller than your wood plaque. I just eye-balled mine, and used the lines on the screen to keep everything fairly straight. I was going for a little less polished look with this project, and wasn’t concerned with exact measurements. Place the screen on the plaque, and hot glue the clear glass gems in the corners. The hot glue on the corners will hold everything nicely in place. Set the wood plaques aside for now.
Time for the fun part-making the Funny Valentine Pet Silhouettes! There were tons of instructions regarding age and facial ratio, but you don’t have to worry about those when dealing with animal silhouettes. Fold the silhouette paper in half, with the white side showing. You will get two silhouettes by folding the paper in half. Cut upwards from the animals’ necks, while looking at their profile photo. With silhouettes, you cut upward. With portraits, you draw or paint downward (quoted from the book). When you’re finished, make snips with the scissors for pieces of hair that stick out. My cat has short hair, so her silhouette didn’t need to be snipped.
If you feel leery regarding freehand cutting, you can print and photocopy the profile picture, and resize it if needed. Then, cut the pet’s profile from the photo and trace it onto the silhouette paper. After that, cut around the traced outline with scissors. Also, you can shine a light toward your subject, in front of a blank wall. The light will create a shadow, and can be moved closer or further away from the wall for sizing. Then, trace the shadow onto silhouette paper. I used this method to make my children’s silhouetes a few decades ago. This method might not be the best choice for this project, because pets don’t normally remain still while you trace their profiles.
I had to make a neck separately for the dog, because I forgot to start with the neck, as instructed. I made two silhouettes for my cat. I couldn’t decide if I liked the one or two-eared silhouette for her. I made a silhouette set for each pose. I used a craft glue stick (not pictured) to glue the silhouettes to the die-cut frames, then hot-glued the die-cut frames onto the screen. Don’t they look like best friends? Sometimes they are, but sometimes the cat attacks the dog when he gets too close for comfort.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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