How to Make FABRIC Silhouette Wall Art From (Mostly) Recycled Materials

created on: 04/15/08

Silhouettes can transcend paper, you know?  I've been experimenting with all sorts of fabrics for silhouettes during the past year and a half.  The best materials are felt, hide, suede, faux leathers and, if you don't mind a little raveling, cotton velvet. 

Believe it or not, the yellow floral fabric was a hideous sundress I found at GW.  I needed that color of  yellow so this is it.  The best thing was that the dress was lined so I used the lining as an underlayer on the round base.  Double recycle!  The circular base is the oh so wonderful, free wooden spool end and the felt is leftover yardage I had from some onesies I was designing.  The great thing about felt is there is no fraying.  It can be used on all sorts of home projects, not so good after washing.  100% wool is the best and has the most luscious feel to it.  Suedes work well because they're so fine.  Check out my next How-to make silhouettes from suede. 

Ready to create?

supplies you need:

digital camera



recycled clothes or fabric

recycled base-you can attach fabric to all sorts of frames you may find


scissors/itty bitty sharp scissors

temporary spray adhesive


Heat n Bond-lite

dry iron


The Process:

Have your subject stand at a 45 degree angle to you, preferably with the light behind them.  It works well to photgraph a child with the mom looking straight at them and you are straight on sideways taking a number of photographs.  The uniqueness of noses, lips, chins and hair are really important.

Dowlnoad your photos, adjust contrast to get a good outline.  Print your picture.  If you want an oversized piece, take your copy to to Kinkos and they can print it on a blueprint copier in a huge format.

1.  Collect your supplies.

created on: 04/15/08

2.  With dry iron, press on Heat n Bond on a your piece of felt, placing iron on the paper side of the Heat n Bond works faster and adheres better.

created on: 04/15/08

created on: 04/15/08

3.  Place photo on top of paper side of Heat n Bond and trace outline of child's face with a pencil.

created on: 04/15/08

4.  This leaves a traced outline on the Heat n Bond paper.  Trace over this outline with a pencil and cut out the silhouette.

created on: 04/15/08

created on: 04/15/08

5.  Peel off paper backing from Heat n Bond.  It will be very shiny.

created on: 04/15/08

6.  Place your recycled garment on top of the wooden base.  Eyeballing and measuring, determine where you want the silhouette to be fused.  Lifting one half of the silhouette at a time, spray with the temporary adhesive and press down, then do the other half.  Carry fabric and silhouette to the ironing board.  With fabric side up, press silhouette with hot iron, moving back and forth to fuse the felt to the fabric.

created on: 04/15/08

created on: 04/15/08

created on: 04/15/08

7.  Place fused silhouette and fabric on top of wooden base.  Center and flip it over and begin stapling fabric down all the way around the back, checking to make sure everything remains  centered.  Snip off excess fabric and attach a backing if desired.

created on: 04/15/08

created on: 04/15/08

Use all sorts of different shapes and fabrics to customize your silhouettes.  Great for gifts.

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elisabetta pendola on Dec 12, 2011:

so cool!!!!! cheers from an italian crafter and veggie :)

ModHomeEcTeacher on Apr 18, 2008:

She is the daughter of a friend of mine.  She has a twin brother.  I've done a bunch of silhouettes of her in different mediums.

bruno on Apr 17, 2008:

Very cool, I love the picture you chose for your subject ... where'd you find it?

ModHomeEcTeacher on Apr 16, 2008:

Thanks.  It was sooo fast and easy to make.  I have spent days painting silhouettes on canvas, waiting for them to dry and on and on. 

ruajennie on Apr 16, 2008:

Nicely illustrated tutorial! I'll definitely have to try this. I love your choice of materials.

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