Friday, October 22, 2010

Creating Silhouette Paperweights

I thought I could send us off to the weekend with a fun project that could be created with gift-giving in mind.  Silhouette art or "shadow art" seems to be making a comeback of late and I thought the paperweight might just be the perfect place to show off these little treasures.  Here at the Nelley Kelley Studio, I use french crystal paperweights for much of my art work. I thought I would use the same type for my silhouette. One of my favorite companies for paperweights is Photoweights.  

Step 1. Take a profile picture of your subject holding your camera at just about eye level and standing approx. 4-5 feet away.

Step 2. Trim your profile with either a small pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife.  Pay careful attention to the fine details like hairs and eyelashes as they contribute to an interesting silhouette.

Step 3. Trace the cut out silhouette onto dark or patterned paper.  I am using black construction paper and have flipped my subject over for tracing and cutting.

Step 4. Cut out the silhouette that you have traced and flip over.  Your "shadow" will be revealed.

Step 5. Choose a background for your "shadow".  I have a nice collection of vintage ephemera that I use for my collages so I will rummage through them to find the perfect piece.  

Step 6. Remember to make a photocopy of your originals.  I have a lovely piece of vintage French writing that I don't want to part with so I photocopy it and place my silhouette on top.

Step 7. At this point I scan my artwork and resize it in the computer so it will fit into my paperweight.  My paperweight has an opening of 3 inches round so I mount the scanned image onto some decorative paper and then cut out my 3 inch circle shape. 

Step 8. My silhouette with decorative background paper has been cut out.  Fix the artwork to the background sticky paper that comes with your paperweight kit and assemble according to your kit's directions.

Step 9. My finished piece of artwork - ready for gift giving.  I love the dome shaped paperweights.  

Step 10.  I also love the petite paperweights as well - all are perfect for gift giving.  Even if you don't have a paperweight kit ... the silhouette art on it's own is so lovely framed and given as a gift. (although, you might just want to keep it all to yourself!)

Paperweights by Nelley Kelley

Happy Weekend!
See you soon,



  1. As usual you make it look so easy!! I love the idea of a collection of paperweights, each with a special momento in it.

  2. Hi, Ellen. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea. I never knew creating silhouettes could be so easy!

    Save $5.00 on an order of $30.00 or more at Enter coupon code 'NelleyKelley' during checkout. (Excludes wholesale orders.)

  3. Great idea. I'm going to try it today. Thank you.

  4. Hi Susan,
    I am so happy that you enjoyed the tutorial and could share it with your readers. I thought the silhouette art looked fantastic beneath your beautiful paperweights. Thanks for offering a discount on your paperweights, maybe it will get people to try their hand at creating a silhouette.

  5. Thanks for sharing the information…..Most of the companies sharing the promotional products such as corporate gifts, promotional pens, items, gifts, paperweights, poker sets, bags and keyrings, it gives the good results in market….