Making: DIY Cameos

I like to take pictures of my cats but I don’t want framed pictures of them all over my apartment. I also don’t want all of my images to languish unseen on my hard drive. What’s a girl to do? I decided to take the classic silhouette and put my crazy cat lady spin on it.

This project couldn’t be simpler. It only took me two hours to complete, not including the time it took me to get my cats to pose for the camera.

TIP #1: This project will be much simpler for those working with dogs or people. Cats aren’t exactly cooperative.*


profile photo(s)
decorative background paper
cardstock or thick paper
tracing paper
picture frame
painters tape
elmer's glue


x-acto knife and cutting surface
metal edged ruler

TIP #2: To maximize textural contrast I chose linen cardstock in ivory for the silhouettes and a soft green art paper with a raised floral pattern for the background.

1) Since I was using two profiles I first opened the images in my photo editing program and scaled them to the same size before I printed them.

2) Take the picture frame apart and set the glass and frame aside. Lay the backboard of the frame onto your decorative paper and cut it so that you have a one inch border around the backboard.

3) Folding like you would wrap a package, bring the border of the paper onto the backboard and secure with tape. This will probably look a bit sloppy but it's ok because it won’t be seen. Set all frame components aside.

4) Use a pencil to trace your image on tracing paper. Once you are satisfied with your outline, go over it again with your pencil to ensure a thick, heavy line.

5) Place your image on the cardstock, drawing side down, and tape to secure. NOTE: If your cardstock is textured or patterned, make sure you tape the tracing paper to the “back” of the cardstock.

6) Transfer the pencil lead from the tracing paper to the cardstock. You can either re-trace your outline with a ballpoint pen or rub over the paper with a hard object (I used the rounded end of my x-acto knife handle). Lift your tracing paper occasionally to make sure the image is fully transferred. It doesn’t need to look perfect, just have enough of an outline to cut out.

7) Using your x-acto knife, carefully cut out your silhouette.

8) Glue the silhouette onto the paper-wrapped backboard, applying glue to the “back” of the cardstock. Allow a few minutes to dry. NOTE: I thought the silhouettes alone looked a little sparse, so I cut out two cardstock borders to add a little structure. This is optional.

9) Reassemble the picture frame with the paper-wrapped backboard. Do this gently so as not to tear your paper.

10) Enjoy your handywork!

As you can see, Yo-Yo likes the finished product.

*When I was trying to photograph him for the silhouette I got quite frustrated. He wouldn't sit still, he kept walking over to sniff and/or bat at the camera. I literally stalked him around my apartment for an hour with a camera in one hand and a bag of cat treats in the other. Later when I was trying to photograph my finished product he wanted to be in the picture. I would set up my shot only to end up with a black and white blur in the foreground. Move cat, adjust focus, cat ruins shot, repeat. Like I said, uncooperative.


Rach H said...

Cute! Love the detailed instructions! Thanks for sharing!

Yo Yo is so cute !

morgtheborg9 said...

aww that's cute. You still get crazy cat lady. I think my mom has a frame with me and my brothers pictures like that. It's ok they technically are your kids right now ;)

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