The process of cutting your way to a masterpiece takes just a few steps. You can create silhouettes of family members, friends and pets.

Silhouettes are cutting-edge art

Silhouettes were all the rage in the early 1800s, and by the looks of pop culture today, they are back and in big business. Apple featured silhouetted hipsters grooving to their iPods. Many trucks feature the iconic "mud flap" girl, and modern card and wrapping-paper designers are featuring everything from silhouetted chandeliers to party-girl accessories.

Silhouette artists have been creating cut masterpieces for more than 200 years, using their scissors to capture the image of a loved one. The process of cutting your way to a masterpiece has just a few steps, and the results are simply stunning. You can create silhouettes of family members, friends and pets.

Cut your image using the traditional matte black paper, or show off your wild side with a small, striped print or a hot-pink glossy paper. Frames and backing papers can be coordinated to your room's palette. For a cozy look, consider attaching your cut pieces to a small canvas covered with linen or velvet.

If you want to create something a little less traditional, like a silhouette of a chandelier, elegant sofa or even an airplane, look in magazines, newspapers and books for inspiration.

Silhouettes don't have to be tiny. Go big and bold by blowing up your image on a photo copier, and use over-sized black paper. Large sheets of solid and embossed papers can be found at art-supply and stationery shops.

You will want to work with a sharp pair of scissors, preferably scissors that are designed for detail work and fit comfortably in your hand.

Materials needed:

Photograph of a face or object (simple photos with minimal detail work best); Scissors; Utility knife; Black paper (the size of the photo); Background paper (the size of the frame); Frame; Glue stick; Pencil

How to:

1. Choose a photo that is simple, preferably with a profile view of a person or object. Using scissors and/or a utility knife, cut around the shape of the subject in the photograph; this shape creates a template.

2. Trace the template onto the black paper. (Tracing on the back of the paper will keep pencil marks from showing.) Use scissors or a utility knife to cut out the traced shape. Apply glue to the back of the image, mount the image on background paper, and place in a frame.

Cathie Filian is a lifestyle expert and craft-book author. Learn more about Cathie by visiting her blog at

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