This is another one of those projects I've had in my head that I've been wanting to do for MONTHS! I told Ethan this week that I was just needing to craft. I definitely think that when you are a creative person, it's almost like eating, sleeping, drinking... you just NEED it, you know? I know you guys understand! Luckily I have such a fantastic and supportive husband that was like, "take a day for yourself and craft. Do what you need to do!"
I haven't had alot of time to create for the past couple weeks. Working more hours. And when I'm home with the boys or the whole family on weekends, I just feel guilty spending time crafting when I could be spending time with them. :-) I try to not craft while the kids are around, I still get on the computer I must admit, but I don't like crafting just because it gets too chaotic and I can't really concentrate with them underfoot. ;-) I'm a VERY focused crafter! LOL! I wish I could be one of those moms that is really laid back and just embraces the chaos. I really want to start crafting more with my kids.. I really don't do much of it at all. I feel really bad about that. My goal is to start embracing the messyness, you know? That is what being a kid is about. :-) I guess when I craft, I can keep things SEMI-neat and organized. But with kids, you just gotta be messy. Organized chaos is what I'm trying to learn. :-)
I am always amazed when people say they love to craft with other people. I just can't get anything done when people are around.. lol! Mostly because I'm so focused on what I'm doing that I probably wouldn't even talk to anyone! ;-)
I guess it depends on the craft really. Embroidery is pretty mindless, so that's easy to do with other people. With crochet I'm still really having to FOCUS on the patterns, so if I'm crocheting, I am 100% focused on it. Ask Ethan. Don't even try to talk to me if I'm crocheting as the blood vessels in my eyeballs are bulging from the shear concentration. Lol. Those patterns are like a foreign language to me right now! But I'm getting there.
So anyway, I digress. I think it's because I'm still inhaling varnish fumes from this project. ;-)
So, cameos or silhouettes are very popular right now EVERYWHERE! In fashion and decor. I've been wanting to make one of Cooper for years now and now that Cam is here, I really wanted to make one of both and display them together. I had thought about creating them on the computer, but then had the idea of actually cutting them out and adhering them to these wooden plaques you can get at craft stores. I wanted to use patterned fabric for a background. Of course I had to make it difficult and use fabric instead of patterned paper, but that is me. ::::SIGH:::::
I just wanted a more tactile, textured, layered feel to it, rather than a flat graphic look I could do on the computer. (Although I do plan on doing some more silhouettes soon strictly with this method, on the computer and then maybe using a digital patterned background, and then just printing the entire thing and framing. No cutting required!)
I wasn't sure what process I was going to use to get from the photo profile to the cut-out from black paper.. i hadn't really thought about it too much, but yesterday the DAY before I was going to work on this, the stars aligned and someone posted a method on how to do it on one of the design blogs I read (stalk). ;-) So I was like, YES! This is an easy, straightforward method i can use! It worked pretty well!
So I thought I'd put together a Tutorial on how I did my project to post here. I LOVE online tutorials. I love it when people post them on their blogs. So I thought I'd do one too. Sorry for the not so pretty photos, but they are just instructional.. no bells and whistles!
I tried to put together a supplies photo. I didn't use everything in this photo, and some things I used aren't even in the photo. Lol.. but this is the general idea.
- Plain printer paper / Printer
- Stapler or Tape
- Mod-Podge (or whatever glue you like)
- Xacto knife
- A handful of blades
- Tracing Paper
- Fabric (or you can use patterned paper which is easier!)
- Acrylic paint
- Varnish (the liquid kind, not the spray.. I know. I tried. Lol! NOT a good look AT ALL.)
- Paint brushes
- Foam brushes
- Black acid free paper
- Fusible Interfacing
- (optional) antiquing solution (i was going to use it but ended up not, depends on what look you're going for)
Step One: First you need a photo of the person you're making the silhouette of. I used my flash so it would really make my boys stand out from the background so I could really see the lines of the silhouette. I would say use a dark background if the person is light-skinned with light hair, and a light background if the person is darker-skinned with dark hair. I used a dark background on both kids, and Cooper's hair got a little lost b/c it was dark. So you'll just have to figure out the best way to get a good photo. Thinking about it now, maybe a medium hue background would be best. (As you can tell, this is still trial and error for me! :-) Make sure that your subject is at a 90 degree angle to get the best profile you can get. If you have a baby that can't sit up, just lie your baby down, stand directly over their face with them lying to the side.
Step Two: Bring your photo into Photoshop (or whatever program you use) and enlarge it or reduce it to the actual size you want your final profile to be. For these plaques I made them around 5 inches tall from top of the head to base of the neck. Then print your photo out. Just print on plain cheap paper.
Step Three: Tape your printout to your self-healing mat, then tape a piece of tracing paper to the top of that. With a pencil, trace around the profile. Make sure you get all of the little bumps or curls in the hair. This gives it more detail and interest. Be very careful when you're tracing and make sure you use a good sharpened pencil. Every little nook and cranny of a nose or mouth will really make a difference in the end result really LOOKING like the person.
Step Four: Pull off the tracing paper and remove the photo and set it aside. Then tape your black paper to the self-healing mat and then the tracing paper on top of that. Then you will cut out your profile. I used an Xacto, but you can also use scissors. I have to admit that this is the really tough part and takes alot of patience. Make sure you have a new sharp blade. I had to do Cam's twice and Cooper's 3 times before I got them "perfect". Just the littlest miss of your blade can totally change the look of your profile, it's amazing really. Just shaving of a little of a chin or a little of a nose can make it not even LOOK like the person. So have patience. lol. ;-)
Step Five: Once you've finished cutting, pull off your tracing paper. Then pull your profile from the black paper. You might have little areas that weren't cut all the way through, so go back and fine tune it so you can pull it away from the paper. Be very careful and slow so that you don't tear anything. If you have to use a new blade, use one. Once you're happy with your profile, set it aside.
Step Six: Now you will need to iron your fusible interfacing to your fabric. Follow the directions that come with the interfacing. I had never used this stuff before, but it was fairly easy. Watch Top Chef while you iron (like I did last night.. LOVE.THAT.SHOW! :-)
Step Seven: Now it's time to add your fabric to your plaque. Take tracing paper and lay it on top of the plaque, then outline the top shape with a pencil. This is the shape that your fabric (or patterned paper) will take. Put your plaque aside, and then tape your traced paper to your fabric. Then cut around the shape with some good scissors.
Step Eight: Now you will need to adhere the cut-out fabric shape to your plaque. Apply your glue with a wide foam brush to the top of the plaque (not the beveled sides) and then apply glue to the back of your fabric shape as well. Now place it on top of the plaque and smooth with your fingers.
Step Nine: Now apply glue to the back of your silhouette and adhere it to the center of your plaque.
Step Ten: Now it's time to paint the sides of your plaque!
Step Eleven: Now if you're really anal-retentive like me, you can seal the edges of your fabric shape with no-fray stuff. I would probably recommend it even though your plaque isn't going to get much wear and tear on the wall.
Step Twelve: Now the following step is what gave me the most trouble (well, next to cutting out my silhouettes five times, but that's ok. ;-) So I was your guinea pig on this one. I had planned on varnishing the entire thing, which I did with spray varnish. NOT such a good idea. The first coat went on fine, but then the second coat started making bubbles on the Cooper silhouette. (So I had to REDO his silhouette. Just made it slightly larger and glued on top of the old silhouette.)
SOO, I ran to Michael's on an emergency LIQUID varnish trip. ;-) That worked better. *BUT!!*, after varnishing everything, I can tell you that it would probably be best to just NOT varnish the fabric at all. The varnish doesn't cover it well and it just sort of seaps into the fabric in some areas, and then doesn't on others. Looks uneven. Nothing horrible, but if/when I do this again, I won't varnish the fabric part. In fact, you could skip the varnishing all together if you want. But I wanted the painted areas to have a glossy finish, and a coat of varnish on the actual paper silhouette looks nice and rich. Gives the black paper a deeper hue.
You can add antiqueing solution before you varnish if you want an aged look to your piece. Also, another TIP, one thing I'm noticing on mine is that when i brushed the varnish over the entire top, some of the black from the black paper silhouette bled a little onto the fabric. It's very subtle, but in hindsight (again, Mrs. Guinea Pig here), it would probably be better to just varnish the silhouette before you glue it to the plaque, that way it won't bleed. (If you don't plan on varnishing the fabric like I suggested.)
If you WANTED the entire thing to be varnished though, i guess you could use that REALLY thick stuff and just pour it over it.. know what I'm talking about? I saw it at Michael's today. It's really thick. They use it on like dining tables at restaurants if there are decoupaged images? Almost like resin maybe? anihooo....
So that's it! When I do the digitally created silhouettes I'll share that method too. (i'm sure there are already tutorials out there in fact! :-)
I think these would also be fun to do one every year of your child and then after maybe 6 years or so, you could put them all together one after another as sort of a storyboard to show how them (and their profiles!) have changed. I hope to do that with Campbell since I'll have the forethought to take profile pics every year.. maybe i can look back thru Cooper's pics and find some accidental profile pics. ;-)
Another project that sort of happened last minute today was this crochet flower/granny square display frame that I hung with the plaques. I knew I wanted the plaques to go in our guest bathroom. This horizontal picture frame was already in there but I didn't like the photos in it anymore and wanted something new. So I found these crocheted flowers that Lu made me a long time ago (LU YOU SO ROCK! still using these babies!) and my two crochet squares that I recently made, and some felted balls and just stuck them in between the glass and backing. Didn't even have to glue them. I used fabric as my background. I love how this turned out. What a fun easy project!
And just a photo of my new anniversary present from Ethan. This cabinet from Pier One Imports. I fell in love with this thing when I saw it on a design blog one day! That exposed brick is going to be painted white hopefully soon (along with our very 70's fireplace in the same room. Been wanting to paint this brick white since we moved in TEN years ago. I'm hoping it will actually happen now!)
Please link me to your projects if you end up making a silhouette plaque! :-) Would love to see!