How to Make Gorgeous DIY Silhouette Gifts

Everyone loves a classic silhouette portrait. In fact, they’ve been popular since the mid-18th century, when they were cut out of black paper. A person’s silhouette set against a light background has been used in everything from portraiture to professional photography. The good news is you can do the same. We’re going to show you how to create a traditional black-and-white silhouette, then how to creatively use your silhouette in six easy steps.

1. Take a picture of yourself or a friend with a white background. The white background is an important component of making a silhouette portrait. If you don’t have a white wall to use for a photo background, try using a stretched sheet so there are no wrinkles. Open your picture in the Editor.

2. Find Draw in the Effects tab, use a large brush to completely cover your portrait. Set your black all the way to pure (hex value #00000) and the hardness at 100 percent.

You’ve created a traditional black-and-white silhouette! Save it to Hub or your computer as a high-resolution JPEG and move on to the next step.

3. Hover over Design on the PicMonkey homepage and open a canvas size of your choice. We used an 8 x 10 canvas for this project, because we want to print and frame it at that size. To add a background photo, choose Your Own in the Textures tab.

4. Head to the Graphics tab and click Add your own. Add your silhouette and size it to fill the canvas. We set our blend mode to Add, but you can also use Screen. Now your photo is filling your silhouette. Now the real fun!

Blend modes may sound familiar if you’ve created a double exposure, which has a similar look. However, double exposures show details and contours in your subject’s face, whereas a traditional silhouette does not.

5. We thought the blue and white of this photo was very ethereal, so we added some Sparkle Stars from the Graphics tab. We used two different ones and set their blend mode to Screen to make them sparkle! If you right-click on your canvas or click the icon that looks like two pieces of paper on the bottom toolbar, you can bring up the Layers palette and easily reorder or select your design elements.

6. There are lots of different Bokehs to choose from. We chose some large circles and set our blend mode to Hardlight to create some contrast. We also added a texture from the Clouds group.

There are so many wonderful graphics and textures to choose from. It was hard to decide which worked best for our design, and the experimentation was the best part. Flex your creativity and make your portrait something truly unique.

We had to use the clouds texture because of the beautiful mountains in our background photo.

We added a texture from Burst and set the blend mode to Multiply because it created a subtle difference that deepened the image’s shadows and blue hues. It was the perfect final touch.

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Vanessa Boucher is a graphic/web designer, crafting enthusiast, and consultant at EverPresent, the nation’s leading digital photo organizing and photo scanning services company. She has personally helped over 500 families share memories and history through unique photo projects. You can find more of her expert tips on EverPresent’s blog.