How to make Silhouette Prints using Picnik

October 27, 2011 in Gettin' Crafty, Kitchen, Pups

Ask and Ye Shall Receive! Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments about my Encyclopedia Silhouette Prints. I absolutely love hearing from each and every one of you and your comments always make my day.  Thank you, THANK YOU for making blogging SO much fun!

So the nitty gritty side of the Encyclopedia Prints… Let’s show you how to take your pictures from this to this:


It’s okay. Take a deep breath. It’s EASY.  I promise!

If you haven’t done so already, you need to sign up for an account at  The freebie version will be JUST fine for what you’ll need for this project.

Once you’ve done that, pick a photo you’d like to use for your silhouette. The fewer fuzzy wuzzy flyaway hairs the better. Trust me, it’ll make your life so much easier. (Maybe I’m just lucky having three smooth haired dogs… even if they DO shed!)

Upload your photo to Picnik and we’re ready to get started!

Under <BASIC EDITS> you have the option to CROP your image. Get it situated jussst how you like it and then we’ll start working on making it into a super posh silhouette.

Cropped?  Good. Lets go.

  • Click on <EFFECTS> in the top tool bar
  • Scroll down through the list of effects on the left. Shortly before the bottom you’ll find DOODLE.  Click that!
  • Change your brush color to white
  • Adjust your brush size. I like to start with a big brush for coloring the background

  • Using the DOODLE effect, color out the big, obvious, gotsta-go background. Don’t start on the detail work yet… just get rid of the background until you’re left with something like this:

  • Now is when I like to change my brush size to something quite a bit smaller and start working on the outer edge of my subject.
  • GO SLOW and work in shorter brush strokes.
  • UNDO is in the top right corner of the screen and it will quickly become your best friend for correcting bad “doodles”
  • The smaller the brush, the smoother the lines
  • ZOOM in on sections – you’ll find the zoom in lower right hand corner. VERY helpful
  • Don’t be afraid to doodle right over things that make your outline awkward… like Emma’s collar!

…and you’ll be left with this:

  • After doing the edging with the small brush I like to increase the brush size again and color in the rest of the background
  • When you’re done CLICK APPLY on the left
  • …and it should look something like this:

Now comes the fun part. Lets make it a flat black and white print!

  • Click <BASIC EDITS>
  • Click <EXPOSURE>
  • Click <CONTRAST> and slide the bar all the way to the right.
  • Click APPLY

If your image isn’t completely black and white, don’t fret. We can fill in with black or add more white.  The important part is that your border is accurate!  Here’s what mine looked like after this step… and all those blue arrows are pointing out the things I need to touch up.

  • Go back to <EFFECTS>
  • Scroll down to DOODLE and color in any of the white background that you’ve found.
  • ZOOM IN and pan around. You’ll be amazed what you find when you zoom in.
  • After everything in the background is white, change your brush color to BLACK and fill in any spots on the subject.  When I made Roxy’s (the white terrier) print there were several larger areas I had to color in with black in the middle of her head. It was easy though! With Emma below, you’ll see there were areas along the edges that needed to be touched up. Remember…. ZOOM IN!

…and after all that:

  • Click  <SAVE & SHARE> tab at the top and save the photo to your computer.
  • Tuh-Dah!  You’re finished!!

You’ll have to cut me some slack… I did this one quickly for the tutorial so Emma’s head is a bit lumpy.  As I said earlier,  just go slowly and use shorter brush strokes in case you need to UNDO. If you use longer strokes, then you’ll lose an entire line if you make a small mistake at the end. (Trust me… VERY frustrating)  I got so MUCH faster as I went so don’t give up if it’s hard in the beginning. By the time I got to my 4th silhouette I was zipping right along!

At this point I was able to just open the image and print it directly on a standard paper size… which actually was my encyclopedia page cut to fit.

I think it would be ADORABLE to print silhouettes directly onto cute scrapbooking paper for an easy way to bring color and/or pattern into a space. Just don’t choose something super dark or it will show through the ink. Maybe something with a simple burlap print would look nice?

Hope this helps and if I’ve forgotten anything please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your questions!


Be sure to stop by and visit the amazing link parties where I’ll be joining up!

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