Silhouettes on Primed Smooth

Ampersand Primed Smooth works great for making silhouette paintings of your family or friends. Its smooth surface means that you’ll have excellent control of both the drawing and the painting steps in this project. Also, because it is a rigid panel, you can frame it without a mat or glass when you’re done for a lasting keepsake!


Here is all you need:

  • Primed Smooth (12x16 or larger recommended)
  • Cardstock or Poster Board (about the same size as your Primed Smooth)
  • Tape
  • Marker or Pen
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or Craft Knife
  • Two Colors of Acrylic Paint (white or black, plus a contrasting color)
  • Paintbrush
  • Adjustable Stool or Chair
  • Bright Light (Flashlight, small desk lamp, etc.)


Step 1:

Tape a piece of cardstock or poster board to the wall. Sit your subject sideways on a stool in front of the paper. Position the light pointing towards your subject and cardstock on the wall, so there is a strong shadow cast onto the paper to trace.

Adjust the position of the stool and the lamp to get the cleanest outline of their shadow. Tip: So that the shadow will fit, be sure to keep in mind the size of the panel you’re using for the finished silhouette artwork.


Step 2: Use a marker or pen to carefully trace the contours of the shadow. Get as much detail as you can before your model starts to move!


Step 3:

Following the lines that you drew on the cardstock, use scissors or a craft knife to cut out the stencil.


Step 4:

Place your stencil onto the Primed Smooth Panel and trace it with a pencil. This panel works great for this project because it allows for a clean tracing of your stencil. You can also easily erase the pencil line if the stencil moves.


Step 5:

Once your stencil has been traced, you’re ready to paint! Use white or black acrylic paint to fill in the inside of the silhouette.


Step 6:

Once the paint inside the silhouette has dried, use the contrasting color to paint the area around the silhouette.


Step 7:

When the second color has dried, you can frame the finished artwork without the need to add a mat or frame it under glass! Ampersand Floaterframes are a perfect choice to elevate your finished artwork and display without glass.

Tip: Always be sure to choose the right frame based on your panel depth.

Go back