Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Silhouette How-To

For Auntie Leila (I say "An-tee", you say "On-tee"):
Safety notice: This is not a craft for kids unless you let your kids use mat knives!

When I couldn't find a statue of the Holy Family's journey to Bethlehem that really spoke to my heart, I remembered the striking simplicity and beauty of our St. John Vianney cake inspired by the talented Aussie Annie. The silhouette idea came to mind and here is how it came about.

1. I printed off a silhouette I found doing a Google image search. If you are not very well practiced with a mat knife or Exacto knife, do yourself a favor and choose a fairly simple one. This one, although absolutely gorgeous, would be a pain to cut, unless you are Sister Mary Jean Dorcy (or unless you cut out the tree).
2. If your printer starts acting screwy like mine, then you might want to trace the outline with a black marker. Then glue, image side up, onto black cardstock.
3. Start cutting. Go slow and be careful! Have lots of light around and avoid shadows. It helps to see the outline clearly and cut precisely.
4. Clear away any straggling pieces you might find hanging off.
5. Use popsicle sticks for support. I made a simple stand out of more black cardstock glued onto the back to help it stand up. It's not pretty, until you turn it around.
Your image will be reversed from the original. The only way to avoid that is to print out the image in reverse to begin with or cut the image out first, then glue image side down on to the black cardstock and cut around it again which is what I did the first time and my hand regretted later. Hope that helps!


  1. Wow, thanks! You are so fast! I am going to try to make time to do this, because I love the way the light looks behind it on your mantle...

  2. Thanks Jennifer!

    Auntie Leila,
    I was planning on making a second one to send a friend anyway so I just took pictures along the way. I am pretty comfortable using a mat knife so it only took me about an hour from start to finish. You might be able to make it go faster by using sharp scissors for the longer lines. I still think a mat knife is the way to go for making smaller cuts. Can't wait to see yours!

  3. Thanks so much Charlotte, and yes you are fast! Your mantle is beautiful! This looks like a good job for Josiah. And though we live very far away from each other, I've always said 'An-tee' as well. :-)

  4. Oh so beautiful and inspiring. I'm adding this craft to my folder of things I may attempt in a future year when my arms aren't quite so full of baby.... Trying very hard to be realistic in what I put on my plate.

  5. Charlotte...that is lovely! So simple, so elegant. Thanks for sharing the process!

  6. The work of your hands is so beautiful.

  7. that is so pretty.
    and i love the shadow it casts.

  8. I am sooo excited about this project! I have found beautiful statues of this, but they're more than I can afford. I am so making one of these this year, and I totally featured this tutorial over at Catholic Icing today. Thanks for the amazing inspiration! :-)

  9. I just did this, Charlotte! I will be posting about it soon. Thank you so much for all you do and may God bless you for your creative generosity!


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