Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Cindy Crushes Programming: Making Silhouettes with Faith Healy, by Cindy Shutts

Today I am here to share with you a fantastic program idea with my coworker, Faith Healy. Faith made beautiful fandom silhouette crafts and she is here to walk us through what that process looks like.

A silhouette is basically an outline or shape of an object or person filled in with a solid color, which is often black but does not have to be. Silhouettes work best for a recognizable shape, object or person.

A Completed Silhouette Craft

One great way to do an easy and appealing craft kit is to do Fandom Silhouettes. This is a simple craft to do for any teen.

Supplies

  • 4×4 Canvas ($9 for set of 24 I got 2)
  • Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow Paint ($1.99 per bottle) – I used washable paint for parents sake since it is easy to wash off if it gets on clothes or anything. One drawback is that the paint went on much lighter to the canvas but you can layer it for a darker color and just have to wait between coats for it to dry than add more paint. I made 48 kits and only used half of each bottle.
  • Container for Paint ($9 for a set of 100)
  • Vinyl Sheets ($1 per 12×12 sheet, I used 12 sheets)
  • Precut silhouettes made with a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut – this is a preparation step you do before the initial program

Putting the Kits Together

For the fandom kits I gave teens six options to do, five different ones for each color. We did keep one fandom silhouette consistent across the board and that is the Among Us Silhouette.

I tried to keep from the same fandoms for each kit. I made sure each kit had a Disney silhouette, Star Wars Silhouettes, Pokemon, Video Games, and Sponge Bob while picking different characters that correspond to the different paint colors. Those are pretty popular fandoms for my teens, but you can always switch it up.

I made and cut out each of the stickers on vinyl. I made them about 1.5 in x 1.5 in which fits perfectly for a 4×4 canvas. I used the Silhouette Studio and the Silhouette Cameo Cutter to make them. I simply search for a silhouette of the image I want then in the Silhouette Studio I trace that image to make the cut design.

This can be done on any cutting software. I just happen to work in a library with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter and am familiar with using it. It did take me about four hours to finish all the cutting so it is a bit time consuming, but the results speak for themselves. This kit only lasted two days at my branch before they were all gone.

I had made 16 for each of the three branches in my library district. 4 of each color. I created instructions and color coded them as well as included the silhouette options. This was helpful in picking out which color they wanted. I found cute white gift bags at my local craft store that were perfect for making the colors pop.

The kit can be done one of two ways. You can paint the canvas, let it dry than place the vinyl sticker on it. This is the most simple way and might appeal to teens who want it done faster.

The second way is placing the sticker and painting around it. I did have some issues with this method in that if you glop the paint on too thick it bleeds under the vinyl sticker (You can see this in the example photo of Cinderella Silhouette.)

You can also have fun with this craft in how you apply the paint. The paint I used tended to leave paint strokes so I had fun in changing my direction, dabbing, using different methods that created different results. Using something like a sponge would leave an awesome texture on the canvas. 

Red: Charmander, Kylo Ren, Mario, Mr. Krabs, Mulan, Among Us

Blue: Squirtle, Stitch, R2D2, Squidward, Cinderella  Among Us

Green: Bulbasaur ,Baby Yoda, Peter Pan, Tiana, Yoshi Among Us

Yellow: Pikachu, Hamilton, Spongebob, C3P0, Belle, Among Us

Here are some other silhouette ideas and walk throughs for you:

Here’s a tutorial that walks you through turning your own photo into a silhouette using the open source (which means free!) online GIMP program

These various items were made using the GIMP silhouette tutorial above

Here’s a tutorial that walks you through using the Silhouette App on a smart device to create your silhouette. There are several photo apps that you can use to create silhouettes.

These silhouettes were made using the Silhouette app. The one on the right is then blended with a space background using the Fused app. Because this graphic is from a different post it was made blue, but black silhouettes often make the most striking contrast.

Here’s a tutorial that walks you through creating a silhouette using the Silhouette Cameo machine

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

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