Wall Art Idea: How To Make A Silhouette Of Your Baby’s Profile

There’s been an impostor in our house. This placeholder silhouette of a little girl has been staring back us from Clara’s frame wall since even before she was born. And it’s finally time for this fake head to go so Clara’s real head can take its rightful place. Well, not her real head. A rendering of her real head. You know what I mean.

After snapping Clara’s weekly photo on Friday (see how we do that here), we decided to grab a shot of her in profile while we were at it. We’d be adjusting it later in Photoshop so all that was important was getting a clean shot (which meant taking off her onesie since it was bunching up around her neck and shoulders). Photographing her against the curtain in the sunroom helped get the silhouette effect started and making funny faces at her got her looking in the right direction (most of the time) so Sherry could snap away from the side.

After about 15 shots we ended up with this one that seemed perfect for silhouette-ification (weird back of the neck lump and all):

Now we considered this low-tech approach (which anyone who doesn’t have Photoshop can do in about ten minutes):

  1. Print your profile photo out to the size that you want your silhouette to be (even if it gets blurry from enlargement it doesn’t matter)
  2. Cut out the baby head so you’re left with just a profile and no background (yes, it will feel weird to cut off your baby’s head)
  3. Trace your head cut-out onto black construction paper with a pencil and then cut the shape out one last time.

Instead I took the Photoshop approach (partially because we didn’t have any black construction paper around and I’m lazy). I just cropped the pic, desaturated it to black & white, and then played with the “Brightness & Contrast” (under “Image”, “Adjustments”) to get a mostly silhouetted look:

Then I used the paintbrush tool to fill in those lighter areas with black, which left me with a crisp black silhouette on a white background. Oh and I added some eyelashes and wisps of hair like we’ve seen in professional silhouette cut-outs. And I extended the shoulders a bit so we had a little more to work with. We didn’t worry about 100% clean lines on the added shoulder part since we knew the scissor cuts would straighten things out.

Once we had it done and printed to the size that we wanted (around 3.5″ x 5″ for our 5 x 7″ frame) Sherry “Steady Hands” Petersik took to cutting it out with small hair-cutting scissors. Yes, the same pair that she got at CVS and uses to give me a trim every few months.

Then came the official head swap in the frame (where we had previously used a colorful piece of craft paper from Michael’s for 60 cents as the background). Looking at our placeholder silhouette really shows how off-base our expectations were in the hair department. Oh well. She’s got time.

Oh but notice how we cut the bottom of the shoulders for a more “traditional silhouette” look (I added more than enough black on the bottom in that area before we printed for Sherry to create that little freehand shape as she was cutting).

And with that, Clara’s round little head is officially represented on her frame wall. Of course I’d be lying if I said we weren’t looking forward to updating her silhouette periodically as she grows… especially when that hair finally does decide to come in. Have you guys done any silhouette DIY projects? Or cut out photos of someone’s head for any other reason? It feels weird, right?

Psst- Check out our weekly BabyCenter post here for even more DIY silhouette ideas.


  1. Mary says

    I’ve done a series of white silhouettes of my all white kitty. Used Illustrator to make them and then plugged in different bkrnds. Would like to make them w/ my two pups also! :)

  2. says

    aww, super cute!

    for those of us with older kids, it might be something we can do in hindsight (scouting through old pics, creating a gallery of silhouettes throughout the years)…

  3. Leigh Anne says

    This is such an adorable DIY project! On another note, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the “Clara Kenley” canvas before – where did it come from?

  4. Mandy says

    LOVE the original pic you used to make the silhouette!! And what an easy way to create one for virtually no money. I’ll have to try this with the hubs one day :)

  5. says

    Great job, guys!

    Quick question — any reason why you didn’t just do a background in Photoshop? You could have made a new layer just for the background and then updated the image periodically with whatever pattern your hearts desire. It would also be easier to add in future head shots and play around with new background patterns. No cutting, but you would have to print in color. Just a thought. But I do like the one you did. Nice work. :)

    • says

      Hey Kristi,

      We totally could have done that but we already had the construction paper background from when we picked up a bunch of decorative papers at Michael’s for 60 cents a pop – and you know we love to work with what we have!


  6. Natalie says

    That little Clara is such a cutie pie!

    Thanks again for your framing “how-to” video, by the way. I just used it to create an assymetrical framing arrangement like this one in our hallway (Complete with a really cool painted wire “C” from Etsy, for our last name. It’s my favorite part!). It turned out so great, and my husband has complimented me on it so many times! :) You guys are the best!

  7. says

    Cute. Do I sense a “silhouette coffee book” coming? What about the silhouette of the dog on her wall? Isn’t Burger feeling a little miffed that some other pooch’s profile is up there?

  8. says

    Genius! Who really has the patience to do it with construction paper–and this turned out beautifully!

    It’s “baby week” on my blog, and I will be sure to share this on my Friday Favorites with my expecting parents. Thanks! abby

  9. Emily says

    oh man your little crafty projects are spreading baby fever over here!

    p.s. can’t wait to hear if you’ve had any bites on the house! good luck!

    • says

      Hey Emily,

      No bites yet but we have another showing this afternoon. Running around like crazy getting ready! We’ll let everyone know as soon as we get an offer- promise!


  10. Sara says

    Great idea!

    I love silhouettes. I have built-ins around my fireplace and I have my kids, my brother and me as kids, and my grandmother and great-grandmother as young women. I think it makes a classic display.

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