Silhouette. Baguette. Je ne sais paw. There’s something about French words that make me feel so fancy! But for realsies, I do actually have something fun for you guys today, and it does in fact involve a silhouette.
I’m sure you’re well aware of the silhouette trend these days. Those black portraits look all cute in their vintage frames; proud parents showing off their little kiddos’ button noses in profile. Well, I’m going to blow your mind in 3… 2… 1… It’s time for your lovable pooch to take center stage and get in on this silhouette action!
Follow along to make a purrfect, errrr, I mean the most barkcellent DIY for a quick rainy-day craft. (Any dog plus cat owners out there? This would also work great with your favorite feline!)
Find your dog. There’s a good chance she’s sleeping.
Yup. Always sleeping.
Wake her up. This is fairly tedious so far, I’m well aware.
Try to get her motivated. Perhaps a squeaky toy?
Ugh. Motherpupper. If all else fails you can pretty much always rely on a treat to do the trick.
Ahh. There we go. Now that you have her undivided attention, start snapping pics — rapid fire! Get as many as you need – you can always delete them later!
The one I picked is a little crooked, but we can fix that later on – don’t worry about getting it perfect. All that matters at this stage is that you have a not-too-crazy background so you can easily see her silhouette.
Step 6 (All in Photoshop)
The next few steps involve downloading Photoshop (if you don’t already have it). You can create an account and download a trial version here.
First, you’re going to use the crop tool to trim your image down to the size you need. I cropped my photo to 7″ x 5″ (200 px for the resolution is plenty) because that’s the size frame I had.
You can see that I rotated my crop to try and straighten out my photo. Play around with it until you get it just right!
Next, go to Image > Mode > Grayscale to turn your photo black and white.
If your dog has floppy ears like mine you’ll want to trace the edges with a small brush, so they don’t get lost in the silhouette. (The brush is in the toolbox on the left, and if you right click on your picture once the brush is selected you’ll get the brush options.) Make sure to do those brush strokes on a new layer (Layer > New > Layer).
After you’ve trace the edge of the ear with a brush, use the Polygonal Lasso tool (also in the lefthand toolbox) to trace around the shape of your dogs head. You can use the regular Lasso tool if you have a steady hand, but I like the polygonal one because it gives me more control. Just use lots of clicks close together to get a more accurate trace. It’s all personal preference. Use whatever you feel comfortable with!
After your pooch’s head is all traced you’ll create a new layer, below the layer you created with the brush stroke of the ear shape (you can drag and drop the layers in the layer palette to move them around). Fill that puppy in with black (Edit > Fill > Use: Black).
Ok, whew. The hard part is done. Now, just throw away the photograph layer (which should give you that gray and white checkered background – that just means it’s transparent) and merge the ear layer with the one you just created with the black fill (Select both – Shift + Click – and go to Layer > Merge Layers).
You’re almost done with this part!
You should only have one layer left – and it should look like the image above. With that selected, go to Images > Adjustments > Invert, which will make your dog’s head white, so it doesn’t lap up all your ink from your printer. You’re welcome.
Ok! The last step is to create a light stroke around your pooch so you know where to trim once it’s printed. With your layer selected, go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke.
Now, print that sucker out. You’re done with the computer portion of this super high-tech DIY.
Now it’s time for good ole trimmin’ and tracin’. Is that a thing? It is now.
By all means, you can stop here! You’ve already created what is known in most parts of the world as a pupsterpiece. You could layer it over a brightly colored background, or even trace it onto a fun, patterned paper. The options are seriously endless with this.
I had a paint-swatch art thingy leftover from an old DIY that needed some love, so I decided to take this project one step further.
Step 8 (optional)
I traced my pup’s mug onto my fancy paint-swatches with a pencil, and then trimmed her out.
I made that sound easier than it was. I had to keep re-glueing my little triangles because as I cut they started falling off. I just stuck with it (HAR HAR) and it was definitely worth it.
If you go this route, use a nice, white eraser to gently remove any leftover tracing marks.
Step 9 (mandatory)
Admire your beautiful project and start thinking about what it’s going to be like when you’re a billionaire. People are probably going to start knocking down your door to get original artwork like this. You’re probably going to have to start wearing black, mock-turtlenecks and berets. There I go with the French-talk, again.
This project makes me feel better about my half-finished office.
You can buy the art print above as a greeting card, here (shameless plug).
Sorry for the glare – but you get the idea.
My Olive-inspired silhouette definitely deserves to be hanging high with my daughter’s ultrasounds and photo, her hand print, and a pic of my husband and me on our wedding day. This is a very important family gallery wall! I’m so happy that my first baby is part of the mix.
I hope I’ve inspired you all to bribe your dog with treats, fill your kitchen table with paper scraps, and curse incessantly at your computer when Photoshop quits on you and you forgot to save. Oh yeah. Don’t forget to save as you go! That’s my #1 advice for life. Always. SAVE. AS. YOU. GO. Didn’t I make this project sound so fun?
Happy Silhouetteing, Puppy People!