During one of our art classes my daughter noticed a young artist sitting at the back of the room making a profile portrait of a school owner’s daughter from a phone pic. With practiced movements she drew free hand steady beautiful lines and curves directly with acrylic paint on canvas. The lines were black and background was light and it looked more like a silhouette on one of ancient medallions than a portrait. My daughter decided that she wanted to make it too.
I try to encourage any kind of artistic pursuits, so I started to brainstorm ways to set her up for success. I knew that a five-year old couldn’t draw a silhouette free-hand. Should we trace her silhouette on a piece of paper (like we did in our Science of Shadow unit) and paint it? Or paint canvas first, then add her cut out silhouette in a different color? We set to work and besides a little help from me cutting out a paper silhouette the rest of the project was done entirely by my 5-year old. Try it with your kids and your guests will be seriously impressed by your artwork!
Acrylic Silhouette even small children can do
What you need
Silhouette (either make one with paper, pencil and flashlight OR print a photograph)
We started by painting the canvas with the background color. My daughter picked red.
Making flashlight silhouettes with kids was a very enjoyable activity when we did it just for fun. Kids laughed. I laughed. It was fun all round. Turned out that when you try to do it with a serious intent of getting accurate lines, it’s a total impossibility. Five seconds was the longest my daughter could stay still without shifting in some way and bursting out in a fit of laughter.
After half an hour of experimentation, I gave up and we all went to sleep. In the morning I just snapped a photo of her with my phone against the same kitchen cabinets and printed it on my printer.
It took me about 15 minutes to cut it out. The eyelashes and ponytail took took the most effort. But it doesn’t have to be as detailed. I’m just a perfectionist.
I covered dining room table with white paper and asked my daughter to paint the cut out silhouette.
She picked black color.
At this point you have a choice. You can either place the painted side down in the middle of the canvas to make an imprint (right side of the face will be up). This is great, if an adult is doing the job because you need to be pretty accurate in how you place it. You only get one shot at this!
Or (and this is what we did) just smear a bit of paint in the middle of the canvas to act like glue and set down the painted silhouette over it (left side will be up).
You can add a bit of more of the background color under the nose or ponytail to make it lay flat.
Let it dry.
I am absolutely in love with this project. The silhouette really captures my daughter’s perky, happy personality and my daughter enjoyed making it. I wish I could keep it on my desk forever, but my daughter is only letting me have it till Fall and then she is moving it to her room.
It’s the first day of fall tomorrow!
Have you done silhouette projects with your kids? Share in the comments below!
Are you looking for more painting ideas for kids? Look no more! Lots of inspiration right here!!!