This Christmas I wanted to do something different with my Christmas tree. It's always dolled up with reds and golds and glitter, and I love it, but this year I thought that an Austen twist would be refreshing and fun. But first, I had to find a quick and cheep way to make an austen-equse ornament. I always love the beautiful silhouette portraits so common from Austen's time and decided I would start there. I made 16 ornaments in this batch, so all the supply list numbers reflect that amount.
For this Project you will need
Silhouettes of chosen family members (or your favorite actors, writers, pets)
4 sheets of White Paper/ Any color construction paper
Scissors: plain and/or decorative
Ribbon (2-3 yards)
Photoshop & some knowledge of the pen tool (the quick and easy way)
For these ornaments, I used photoshop to make the silhouettes. You could of course, make them by hand. I found photoshop a quick and simple answer to hand drawing all those profiles. Click the photos to see the larger versions.
1. Take silhouette photos of your family.
2. Open the photos in photoshop as a copy.
3. Use the pen tool to make a path around the whole silhouette, remember you can touch up the lines on your silhouettes and not fundamentally change the look of your subjects. It doesn’t make for a completely true likeness, but your family will probably thank you later if you photoshop out their double chin.
*Pen tool tip: Hold down the alt button and click the anchor point to remove a leading direction line. This makes doing the silhouette by hand infinitely easier.
4. Fill the path (right click inside completed path) with black, or any other color you prefer. For mine, I’m using plain black and white and embellishing with colored paper later. When the path is filled, right click in your path again and select Delete Path.
4A. If you have spots in your silhouette you do not want filled with black (ie open spaces between ponytail and head): Follow step 3 and Fill Path with white or contrasting color.
In mine, I’ve decreased the opacity of the PATH layer to see the holes. If not, all you see is the black silhouette and not the picture underneath. I do not use a second layer for this white path. I fill path in the same layer.
5. Return the opacity back to normal. Your silhouette is done!
I add a new layer between the photo and the PATH layer and fill it white.
6. Resize for printing. I want my silhouettes to be about 4 inches high and able to cut in an oval shape. So I’m saving them that way in photoshop, but I will also tweak them in InDesign. The below photo breaks down the image resize. To save without using InDesign, save file with Height: 4.0 inches x Width: --- (size adjusted by photoshop).
In InDesign, I lay out a bunch to print at one time, looking like this:
But you absolutely DO NOT need InDesign for this project. Just make sure you save them the right size in photoshop and you’ll be good to go. I however, was making A LOT of them and wanted the oval outline to help me keep my cutting on task.
7. Cut out ovals and 1 plain oval to use as a guide. I’m cutting my silhouettes as cleanly as possible and cutting my plain blue ovals a little larger so there is a blue border around each one.
8. Glue together. I used double-side tape for mine and it worked beautifully. I’m sure the edges will curl slightly, but I’m okay with that. To solidly affix, I would say use a glue stick or roll-on glue tape. Wet glue will bubble and could aid the black ink in bleeding.
9. Now its time to make your ribbon loop. Either:
A. Hole punch at top and string ribbon or
B. Glue Ribbon to back.
I chose B, looping the thin white ribbon and sticking together with a dot of hot glue on top.
10. Decorate tree with your new ornaments! I also tied white rowgrain ribbon bows on the ends of branches to heighten the Austen feel.