DIY Digital Silhouette (Facial Profiling)

I wanted a simple address label and decided to try to make our own silhouettes to use as motifs. Here’s how they turned out:


I am a photography & graphic arts dummy, and of course my cheap@$$ wanted to DIY this within my usual budget of zero dollars. The following are my ghetto instructions on creating the digi-silhouettes:

1. Set up the ‘studio’ by a bright window on a sunny day:

  • Tape a big piece of white tissue paper to the windown to cover it (this becomes the backdrop)
  • Minimize the rest of the light coming in the room (see how I closed the curtains except for the opening I needed)
  • Set a chair in front of the window and adjust seat height (I used pillows) so subject’s profile fits within the framed area


2. Get your camera ready:

  • A fancy camera is not necessary; I just used my 5-year-old point and shoot here
  • A tripod is helpful, but also not necessary if someone can take the picture
  • Turn OFF the flash
  • Zoom in to fit only what you need


3. Sit your subject down and snap away (here’s the original pic of da hubs):

4. Then, we edit – I chose Picnik to show you since it’s available freely to everyone, but most photo editing software can do these steps. First, crop and resize the photo as desired under the ‘Edit’ tab (make sure you crop out all areas not covered by the tissue paper):


5. Convert the image using the black and white effect under the ‘Create’ tab:



6. Return to the ‘Edit’ tab and adjust the exposure. Turn down the exposure and up the contrast until you get a clearly defined silhouette and the background becomes white with indistinguishable edges:


7. Save the photo and you’ve got your very own digi-silhouette!


Additional tips:

  • SMILE! We looked like the fighting GTs living on Grumpy Ln. on the first trial
  • Minimize flyaways by wetting/gelling your hair
  • The window should provide bright light that can be diffused by the tissue paper (you don’t want the sun to be IN the picture and create a concentrated glow)
  • Minimize light shining on the side of the subject that faces the camera
  • You can further touch up the bright spots (like the back of his collar) in simple programs like Paint. Simply paint grey spots black.
  • To make the address label, I just plopped the images into PowerPoint, then added text and autoshapes to use as frames

Mrs. Green Tea

Wedding Date:
August 2008
Bridal Bouquets
Cold Hands, Warm Hearts
Add a comment


  1. bruschetta Member
    bruschetta 5565 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:09 pm

    I love Picnik! And those look great! :-) Thanks for the idea and how-to steps.

  2. crabcake Member
    crabcake 834 posts, Busy bee @ 12:11 pm

    Those are so cute! What a great idea!

  3. Member
    Gilneas 1393 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:16 pm

    Smart! The labels look great, too!

  4. joey Member
    joey 1078 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:18 pm

    Those are great!

  5. Member
    MarryingtheNavy 233 posts, Helper bee @ 12:19 pm

    Those labels look amazing!

  6. Member
    chickasjf 161 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:23 pm

    What a great way to do it. I wanted to use silhouettes on our church doors ever since I saw the Martha Stewart feature on it. You can also do it in photoshop. We took our pictures against a blank wall and used the magic wand tool to turn it black. Also think about how you want your hair to look, sometimes a pony tail is better.

  7. perfume Member
    perfume 82 posts, Worker bee @ 12:26 pm

    VERY creative and resourceful, Miss GT!

  8. Member
    tea 2414 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:35 pm

    great job gt! you’re a girl after my own thrifty heart

  9. Member
    Josalyn 358 posts, Helper bee @ 12:38 pm

    Another way to do it, which is what I plan on using is by polaroid. You take a picture of your siloutte, take black marker like a sharpie and color it in defining any edges you want or making that retro cowlick look on your Mr. Then take white paint pen and color in the background- scan, enlarge, and re photocopy.

  10. Member
    lreighard1 642 posts, Busy bee @ 12:39 pm

    ugh that was so FANCY. The chances of my Fi sitting still long enough for that project – 0 % :)

  11. Member
    JaymeLyn 95 posts, Worker bee @ 12:39 pm

    So cute!

  12. Member
    Valerie 134 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:53 pm

    What a great tutorial!!!

  13. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 12:57 pm

    i should add a note that there are a lot of ways to do silhouettes. in fact, if you do a quick search online you’d find varying instructions. so if you’re looking to do silhouettes, definitely check out other methods to do them and find one that’s easiest for you. i just wanted to share a version that require the least skill, tools, $, and waste :)

    @chickasjf: @Josalyn: i love the suggestions you guys have!

    @lreighard1: lol i sure hope that was sarcastic! you actually only need your subject to sit down and have the photo taken (5 seconds?) since you can do all the setting up without him/her!

  14. lovebird Member
    lovebird 261 posts, Helper bee @ 12:58 pm

    This is so cool GT!

  15. frenchbulldog Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:17 pm

    Great tutorial Mrs GT :) Thank you!

  16. peeptoe Member
    peeptoe 1804 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:20 pm

    So totally impressed with this!!

  17. dorsay Member
    dorsay 2281 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:24 pm

    Love it – Thank you so much!!!

  18. Member
    cbgg 3503 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:24 pm

    You are so creative and soooo funny!

  19. cherrypie Member
    cherrypie 1059 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:28 pm

    Weird, I can’t see the pics! Blogger must be down..

  20. Member
    ggsb 1245 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:37 pm

    I’m having the same problem as Mrs. CP…but I can click on the images and see them in a new window?

  21. Member
    Yin 347 posts, Helper bee @ 1:37 pm

    Wow! What a great and simple tutorial. I love it! I’ll have to try it out just for fun. Thanks!

  22. Member
    Serendipity 10356 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 2:11 pm

    Girl you rock, I’m so gonna try this out! And you made is simple enough that even my unskilled self could actually do this, thanks!

  23. Member
    Cole B 1367 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:12 pm

    I love those labels! So cute & easy to do! Thank you Mrs. GT!

  24. penguin Member
    penguin 3490 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:12 pm

    A word jumble:



    What this project is

  25. bearcub Member
    bearcub 1561 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:18 pm

    suh-weet! I’m gonna jump on this design-wagon!

  26. Member
    jc4evaluv 125 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the tips!! Definitely going to attempt to give it a whirl.

  27. Member
    LzzNYC 882 posts, Busy bee @ 4:39 pm

    So creative!!!!

  28. Member
    doublemint921 499 posts, Helper bee @ 5:07 pm

    So cute!!! And such a great idea too! Thanks for sharing

  29. Member
    driftslikesmoke 1224 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:01 pm

    I can’t see the images, but just from the description, I’m so excited to try something like this!!

  30. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 8:06 pm

    @ ALL: i’m not sure why the images seem to be coming and going as they please, but try refreshing or clicking on the individual photos, they should show up.

  31. Guest Icon Guest
    PinkCherrySpa, Guest @ 2:23 am

    LOVE IT! I would put false eyelash on you to make your eyes stand out!!!!!! hehee

  32. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 7:29 am

    yaay! love the zero budget idea 😉

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