diy project: botanical silhouette paper art

Every year, my mom gives me a lovely botanical calendar. I think it is a great gift and love it so much that I always have a hard time parting with last year’s version. I have thoughts of framing the pretty botanical prints individually. But then again, I feel like groupings of botanical illustrations have become commonplace in decorating. To move away from the ordinary, I used layers of paper to create the outline of leaves and flowers, creating a graphic, Rorschach-esque botanical silhouette. With humble kraft paper softening the color palette, it is the perfect modern solution to the typical botanical print. — Brenna

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • botanical print
  • tracing paper
  • pencil
  • tape
  • heavy white paper to fit frame
  • X-acto knife
  • cutting mat
  • white glue
  • kraft paper
  • frame


1. With the pencil, trace the outline of the botanical shape on to the tracing paper.

2. Divide the white paper into four quadrants by measuring down halfway and across halfway. Lightly mark with your pencil. Each quadrant will get a tracing of the botanical shape. Mark an arrow for reference in the corner you think would look best in the center.

3. Turn the tracing of the botanical shape over, so the graphite from the pencil is down on the white paper. Place the edge of the drawing against the center line for one quadrant of the white paper and tape to secure. The arrow should always point toward the “x” where the lines meet. Trace the shape with the pencil. This will transfer the pencil to the white paper, and at the same time, apply graphite to the other side of the drawing to transfer again!

4. Now flip the illustration over (right to left) to trace the shape on the quadrant next to the one you just finished.

5. Continue flipping the illustration and tracing until all of the quadrants of the white paper are traced with the botanical shape.

6. With the X-acto knife, cut out the botanical shape from the white paper. (If you can keep it all in one piece, you can use the positive image in another project!)

7. Pull out the piece that you cut, leaving a negative shape in the white paper.

8. Turn the paper over to make sure none of the pencil marks show. This will be the front. Use the white glue to adhere the white paper with the silhouette cut out to the kraft paper. Make sure to add in the small pieces that may have popped out with the positive image, and you are done!


I love this!! It reminds me of the paper cuttings I learned to do when I lived in Hawaii, but with far more options!!


Just thinking here – I wonder how it would look if you took the outline and, instead of putting them in quadrants, had one coming from the top right corner and one from the bottom left corner (with the petals toward the middle). I don’t think it would be as full, but pretty nonetheless!


this is a one of the best DIY projects I have seen on here, because it’s something most people wouldn’t think was this easy to do. great great post!

Upscale Downhome

OMG… love it!! I like the idea of giving old ideas a new modern twist and this definitely hits the mark! Can’t wait to try it myself. Thanks for the inspiration.


oh, i’m awfully fond of cutouts. very printerly, could easily be wallpaper or fabric! nice work x

John Briner

This is a well-detailed and easy-to-follow how to. I’ll be recommending this to my wife since she’s really fond of crafty projects like this. Thanks for sharing.