diy project: alexandra hedin’s family portraits

alexandra hedin is a lifestyle and entertaining expert in the beautiful pacific northwest. her work is always so lovely and i was thrilled to hear from her about sharing one of her diy ideas. she came up with a quick and easy (and affordable!) way to create modern silhouette “portraits” of your family (or pets) and was kind enough to share her project here today. you can click here for the full instructions or just click “read more” below. thanks again to andrea for sharing this with us. you can click here to see more of andrea’s geat ideas for cooking, decorating and parties (you can also catch her work in seattle’s 425 magazine)

What You’ll Need:

1. Camera
2. Printer (or have your pictures printed at a copy center)
3. 8.5″ x 11″ labels
4. Scissors
5. A Canvas of your choosing
6. Paint


Step 1: Take a picture in profile
Step 2: Print profile picture on an 8.5” x 11” label (Available at office supply stores)
Step 3: Cut out the profile using fine tip scissors. Be sure to catch all of the details!
Step 4: Remove the backing of the label and apply the outer part of the label to a canvas. I had
pre-painted mine with a chocolate brown paint and let dry overnight.
Step 5: Using the label as a stencil, fill in the negative space with paint that contrasts the base
canvas color.
Step 6: Remove the ‘label stencil’ and let dry.
Step 7: Touch up the edges of the profile with base color of paint if needed.

  1. Leigh says:

    I love this idea.

  2. VisuaLingual says:

    Brilliant and seemingly so simple! I can’t wait to try this myself. I also really love the bedroom photo!

  3. maura says:

    fun project and love the pillow cases!

    i am in search of the perfect shade of gray paint for my bedroom if anyone has any ideas, that would be great!


  4. Stacey says:

    Thank you for the step by step instructions, great idea!!

  5. diane says:

    great idea!
    i just did the same sort of project…

  6. the.mediatrix says:

    This is great! Sad though, too, because she has the sheets from Anthropologie that I would LOOOOOVE to have, but alas cannot. Beautiful room though!

  7. Mandy Ford says:

    What an absolutely adorable project! I’ve been wanting to do silhouettes of my twin boys and this is something I might actually have time to do! :)

  8. Shannon says:


    Where are those pillowcases from?

  9. Meredith says:

    The pillowcases are from Anthropologie. They are made by DwellStudio and are from the Chinoiserie collection

  10. eh says:

    Maura, try Pebble Beach from Benjamin Moore. We stole it straight out of Domino and it’s really beautiful.

  11. Abha says:

    Those silhouettes look lovely and go perfectly with the room, but isn’t the trend getting a little old? It’s sort of become the new “Keep Calm and Carry On”…

  12. DecorPad says:

    Fantastic! What a great idea!

  13. maura says:

    thanks for the paint recommendation and nice to know where the sheets came from!

  14. kelly jo says:

    this is soooooooo fun and i can’t wait to try it. i’m all about color, so i’m envisioning blues and greens with a pink silhouette or something. thanks for the inspiration!

  15. GREAT idea. This so doable for people, and I love that the color possibilities are endless!

  16. Emily says:

    I love this… an easy to make family heirloom.

  17. MsUnreliable says:

    This is so lovely! Makes me wish I wasn’t already halfway through my own little canvas project!

  18. Thank you! The paint color is a fabulous warm grey called Worldly Grey by Sherwin Williams.

    I couldn’t afford the whole sheet set either, so I paired really good white sheets with just the Dwell Studio pillowcasees. You get the look for loads cheaper.

  19. Lisa says:

    Alexandra Hedin is fabulous. She is creative, smart and throws the best parties for 425 magazine every issue. She’s an inspiration.

  20. Lisa says:

    I know this is a bit late (I wait a while so I can have one big dose of design*sponge at a time ;) ) but I actually just finished making some silhouette images using Illustrator – it’s really very easy, and saves a lot of tracing and cutting (two things I’m not very good at!). All you have to do is open your picture in Illustrator, and set that layer to a template so that you can’t make any changes to it by accident. Then, make a new layer on top of that and, using the pen tool, go around the edges of the pictures. If you zoom in, this is tres simple. Another hint – use a colour that contrasts with your picture for your stroke, and chose a transparent fill, for the moment. Once you have done that, you delete the bottom layer (the one with the photograph) and then change both the stroke and fill colour to black. Ta da! Silhouette! If you want to, you can then make a background for it by placing a large rectangle shape behind your silhouette and filling it with a patterned fill. I printed out my silhouette picture onto sketching paper, which gives it a very slight texture and a matt finish but this would also look good on photo paper. And, for extra credit, save your design as a png or tiff file, put it on a USB and find a shop that will print it on to canvas for you. Harvey Norman does it here in Australia, but I’m sure America has even more options. I hope this was helpful to some people! :)
    PS I just love the DIY section! I have made so many things for my house – this site inspires me :)

  21. anon says:

    It’s lovely, but I’m dying to know who the lucky one was that came after the dog…

  22. Mackenzie says:

    I love Alexandra’s ideas (I make her oatmeal cookies at least once a month! I follow her blog and subscribe to 425. As such a big fan, I couldn’t help but notice that you went from calling her Alexandra, to andrea in this post. This a typo and needs to be fixed ASAP.

    Thank you

  23. i have been seeing these portraits all over, they are really cool.


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