How to Paint a Silhouette on a Wall

Written by denise howard
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How to Paint a Silhouette on a Wall
Trace a shadow's outline to create a silhouette. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A silhouette is the shape or outline of an object or person, usually coloured in or cut from black paper. Large silhouettes on walls become murals, adding interest to the room and personalising the space. You can purchase silhouette decals in a variety of colours and shapes, or you can customise your room by painting your own choice of silhouette.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photocopier
  • Tape
  • Transparency
  • Projector
  • Lamp
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Damp cloth

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  1. 1

    Find an image of the object you want to put on your wall. Enlarge it on a photocopier, cut it out and lightly tape it to the wall. Alternatively, copy it onto a transparency and project it onto the wall with a projector. If you wish to do a silhouette of a person, have him sit in front of the projector or a lamp instead of using a printed image.

  2. 2

    Adjust the position and size of the silhouette until it fits correctly on the wall. Move the projector or have the person move closer or farther away from the wall to get the right proportion. If you're using a photocopy, adjust it with the copier until it's the size you want. Trace around the edge of the silhouette with a pencil, following the outline of the shape.

  3. 3

    Remove the photocopy from the wall or turn off the projector. Using a fine paintbrush, trace around the pencilled shape with acrylic paint in your chosen colour. Black is the traditional colour for a silhouette, but don't be afraid to try other colour combinations as well. Consider a light silhouette on a dark wall for an unconventional twist, an unusual combination such as a brown silhouette on a pink wall, or even a tone-on-tone look with the silhouette just one or two shades lighter or darker than the wall.

  4. 4

    Fill in the rest of the silhouette with acrylic paint, using a larger paintbrush. Be careful around the edges -- any deviation from the outline will be easily visible with such a strongly contrasting pattern. Clean up any mistakes immediately with a damp cloth before the paint has a chance to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Add whimsy to your silhouette by incorporating three-dimensional objects such as silk leaves on a tree silhouette or a pair of bows on the ends of a child's silhouette braids.

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