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About Silhouettes

Silhouettes or "shades" were originally painted, and quite often highly embellished with gold details! Today we are perhaps better aquatinted with the cut silhouette.

Cut Silhouette portraits were popular entertainment for rich 18th century society, a silhouette artist would be a draw to an elegant ball, cutting the likeness of the assembled ladies, gentlemen and their fine fashions. Later in their hey day, in the 19th they took off amongst the every day people, at fairs and vacation spots. An adoring tribute to a loved one and a grand day out!

So, are you ready to make your own silhouette portrait?! Doing a self portrait in the old style is rather difficult you would  have to sit still and trace your shadow at the same time. Fortunately modern technology offers us an effective short cut! Here’s how...

Step 1: Put your hair up in the most extravagant up do you can think of (long hair worn down hides the contours of the neck, but short hair is perfect on it’s own!)

 Step 2: Using the self timer or a friend snap a photo of yourself in profile.

 Step 3: Print your photo out to the size you need and glue onto some pretty card stock

 Step 5: With a sharp pair of scissors or knife, carefully cut around the outline of your photograph.

 Step 6: Now simply glue your silhouette onto a sweet contrasting paper and place in your favorite frame!

 Most antique silhouettes were kept in a fairly simple oval frame, but you can get creative and chose any shape or size that fits your style best! Add a little detail like a cute bow or rhinestone earring to bring your portrait up to date!

Perhaps you can use this method as practice, and as you get more confident be able to create cut silhouettes on the spot to entertain guests just like the elegant party silhouettes of the 18th century!

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