DIY Silhouettes

I’m pretty obsessed with silhouettes…Carter Kustera, Karl Johnson, they’re all geniuses. While I love the tried and true paper cutting technique, I wanted to try something a little funkier for our wedding. Thanks to Photoshop, its INCREDIBLY easy to make your own silhouettes to use wherever you want! I’m thinking about using these near our cake or at the guest book table, but they can work as thank you cards, on your invites, etc.

  1. First off, take a profile picture of yourself and/or your guy against a neutral background like a white wall…Chad was my guinea pig for this experiment.
  2. Download the photo into Photoshop, or any other photo altering program [however, these directions are for photoshop].
  3. Using the magic wand tool, turn anything in the background pure white….even when you’re using a white wall as a backdrop, there will be shadows or imperfections that will challenge you later on so its best to get rid of them in the beginning.
  4. Once everything in the back is white, again use the magic wand to highlight the background, then inverse the image so that the figure is highlighted. Using the paint bucket tool, make the figure black.
  5. You’re practically there at this point! Now is where you can have some fun…..I scanned in some graphic paper I found at Print Icon and brought it in as a background for Chad’s silhouette. And voila! A very cool silhouette! I also tried making Chad’s silhouette itself a pattern, but as you can see, depending on the pattern, a lot of detail will be lost, so its best to keep it as a background.

Try experimenting with different textures like woodgrain, pebbles, wallpaper, even clouds! The possibilities are endless! [I realize I’m horrible at giving directions with stuff like this, so if you have any problems, just email me and I’ll try to walk you through it.]

[images by Brooklyn Bride]

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  1. meladoriem

    Love it! Thanks for the directions, Vane.

    Have you ever seen artist, Kara Walker’s work? Really great, but more political than wedding friendly!

  2. Vane

    I do know Kara Walker! Back in college, I actually babysat her daughter…she’s a sweetheart!

  3. Lisa from Blush

    Hi Vane,
    love, love, love silhouettes! Thanks for the tutorial. A couple of years ago I came across this invitation someone had made, it was fantastic. She had her bridal party take a full body picture of themselves in a neat/interesting/funny pose and send them to her (they had no idea why) and she silhouetted them all in fun colours. It was fantastic. I probably still have the picture somewhere.

  4. Nicole

    Love this idea! If only I didn’t have this giant honker of a nose… I actually have explicit directions for my photographer: NO side profiles of the bride!!!

  5. Leah in Brooklyn

    I love the silhouette concept, and have actually arranged for a silhouette artist to mingle during our reception and create silhouettes of our guests (a fun diversion and a unique gift for guests to take home). For our close family, he will cut two pieces of paper so we get copies, too. We’re getting married in England, so the artist is based there, but there is likely something similar over here, too. Here is the link to our guy:

  6. Darci

    I love this, thank you so much for the instructions! I am going to try it out this week…

  7. Julia

    Thank you for the directions! How do you turn everything in the background pure white? Needless to say, I am new at photoshop…!

  8. Vane

    julia, once you have the area you want highlighted, just use your paintcan tool and fill it with white.

  9. Karl Johnson

    My husband Karl Johnson is a silhouette artist and he creates custom silhouettes both at weddings or from photos for brides and grooms to use on invitations. He can be found at


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