DIY: Vintage Map Silhouette.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

With so much traveling and moving this summer, there's been very little time (or unpacked supplies) for DIY projects and I've missed them so. There's a piece of me that just comes alive when I can create, and it's been too long. Today during Liam's nap time, I decided to tackle one from my ever growing list.

I started out wanting a silhouette of Liam with a vintage "paint by number" like one of these in the background. When I actually tried it out, though, it didn't feel quite right. So I switched it up to feature a vintage Nashville map - an ode to Liam's birthplace.

This project involves using Photoshop, but because I know not everyone has access to it, I'll explain how to make one without Photoshop as well.
1. Take and print a profile photo of your subject in black and white on 8.5" x 11" paper (or whatever size you're going for). It doesn't have to be completely clear - I used a slightly blurry phone photo, but one that showed his profile well.
 2. Using a Sharpie, trace the subject's profile.
3a. If using Photoshop, scan the outlined profile into your computer.
3b. If not using Photoshop, cut out the outline of your subject. Find a vintage map on Google images, print it out, and trace the silhouette onto it. Carefully cut out the vintage map in the shape of the silhouette, paste on white paper (double sided tape would work well), and frame.

4. If using Photoshop, I found this tutorial for the next few steps so helpful. Following the steps of the tutorial, you'll go from a scanned photo to a silhouette, as shown below. I found that outlining the subject beforehand helped the magnetic lasso tool grab the correct outline, which is why I started with that.

 5. What you should have after following the steps of the tutorial is this:
 6. If there are any spots you need to fix, use the eraser tool and the paint brush tool to do so. I filled in around his chest area so it wasn't such a ragged line.
 7. Now it's time to fill in the silhouette with an image. Like I said before, I tried a few different things - mostly "paint by number" paintings. While still in Photoshop, open the image you'd like to use as a new layer. Then follow this magical tutorial to make fill in your silhouette with the image.

Here are a few that I tried and wasn't crazy about, mainly because the silhouette image seemed to get a little lost.

I finally settled on this one, a vintage Nashville map: 

8. Print it out in your desired size, frame it, and you're done! Because the background is transparent, it will print as whatever color your paper is (in my case, white). 
Do you recognize that Liam Newby original on the top right? It's from our painting session the other day - his first foray into acrylics. 


  1. i LOVE this idea!!! bookmarking for when i have a little one. :) thanks for sharing!

  2. What a cute idea. Such a great way to preserve their little profile since they grow up way to fast!

  3. This is such a cute idea. Thanks for sharing! - J

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