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diy pattern silhouette

So, a bunch of you have been asking me for a tutorial about how I made these little floral silhouettes for Mayday.  So let’s do it!  It’s a pretty simple process once you get the hang of it.  But you’ll definitely need a camera, a white background, and Photoshop on your computer.  Just so y’all know, I’m working on a Mac, so that’s what these instructions are for.  Here we go!

Take a photo of your subject against a plain white background.  Make sure your subject is in a very clean profile; the whiter your background and the better your profile photo, the easier time you’ll have editing later.  Okay!  So you’ve got a photo.  (Don’t judge me.  I’m sacrificing my vanity for your benefit here, people.)

Next up, open the photo in Photoshop.  Start by making a copy of the background in a new layer, and making the background layer invisible.  Use your magic wand tool to select the white background.  A line of marching ants will appear around your selected area.  You can see on the first photo below that because there’s a shadow behind me, that darker section didn’t get selected.  To include that in your selection, hold down shift and click on it with your magic wand.  Continue holding shift and selecting the background until you’ve got everything selected except for your subject.  Hit delete.

Now you should have a relatively clean profile photo of your subject, with some rough stuff around the edges.  Now, some folks may disagree with this next step, but here’s my process.  Zoom in on the subject, and using your eraser, just clean up the edges.  Plain and simple.

So you’ve got a clean profile photo and you’re ready to add your pattern.  Choose a jpg file of a pattern and open it as a new layer in the same project, making sure it’s the layer on top of your profile photo.  Be sure that the pattern covers the profile entirely.

Now, hover your mouse in between the pattern layer and the photo layer on your layers palette.  While there, hold down the option key.  Your mouse arrow should change into a tiny black circle over a tiny gray circle.   When it does, click your mouse.  This will create a clipping mask, basically putting your pattern into your silhouette.

If you like it just like that, you’re done!  If you want to include a little faux washi tape effect, you can find some flipping awesome freebies for that here on Pugley Pixel.  Pugley Pixel is my absolute favorite blog for blog design inspiration, and I can never resist doing a little shopping in her marketplace.  Definitely check it out.

In any case, download the tape strips file and open it in Photoshop.  Using the marquee tool, select the piece of tape you’d like to use.  Right click and select “Layer via Copy.”  The selected tape strip will become a new layer.  Drag and drop that layer onto your profile photo.  Resize it and place it where you’d like.

Now crop it, save it as a png, and share away!  Maybe next time we’ll do a hardcopy version?  In any case, have fun.  And I’d love to see it if you make one!  xoxo

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7 thoughts on “diy pattern silhouette

    1. I think it will! I used to have Elements, and if I remember correctly, it has the capacity to do all of these functions — they’re pretty basic, so give it a try! I think you can get it to work out. Have fun!

      1. Yay – I got it to work! Only trouble is a bunch of the images I wanted to use were not the right size…where did you get yours?

        1. You mean the patterns or the actual images for silhouettes? As far as patterns, there are lots of great pattern websites (Colour Lovers is a fave of mine). Just be sure to credit the patterns properly if you put them online. I also sometimes use my own photos, so sourcing isn’t an issue.

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