Canvas Silhouettes


Last year, I made some canvas silhouette paintings of my kids, with the intention of updating them yearly. I just finished this year's version.

Want to make some of your own? They're super easy, and rather inexpensive to make. 

Here's what you'll need:

1. Canvas (I used 12"x12")

2. Acrylic Paints

3. Foam Brush or Roller

4. Vinyl sheet 

Here's how to do it:

1. Take photos of your subject(s) in profile. Just make sure you get down on the same level as the child, otherwise the proportions will be distorted.

2. Re-size the photo to fit your canvas. Any photo-editing software will work.

3. Print your photo on regular paper.

4. I used a Sharpie to trace the outline of the silhouette and then cut along the line.

5. Use the paper silhouette you just cut out to trace onto the back of the vinyl sheet (this is an extra step I added since last year…but well worth the effort). 

6. Cut the silhouette out of the vinyl.


7. Paint the canvas white (or whatever color you want for the inside of the silhouette).              Do as many coats as you need to achieve desired coverage.

8. Once the paint dries, peel the back off the vinyl silhouette and stick it to the center of the canvas.

9. Paint over the vinyl with the color you want for the outside of the silhouette. You'll probably need a few coats of paint.

10. Once the paint has dried, peel the vinyl up and admire your new work of art. 

Last year, I used a label sheet, but when it got wet with paint, it started slipping around, making the paint line messy and undefined. The vinyl adheres firmly to the canvas, allowing for finer details (like Charlotte's crazy hair), and peels off cleanly when you're done. 


This technique could be used in so many ways. Use letters to spell out names, do a silhouette of your dog, or your house…anything you want. It's a great way to add a unique personal touch to your home. If you need more information or additional photos, you can find my original tutorial and the update on my blog. Or feel free to contact me with questions.

Happy Painting! 

Post by Christina Williams :

  • Rebecca @ beautiful square feet

    These looks great, and I really like the way you’ve used bright colours rather than the usual black.