DIY Canvas Art – How to Paint a Silhouette Portrait

How to Paint a Silhouette onto a Canvas – No painting experience necessary!


I originally saw instructions for this project on The Space Between’s blog (via Pinterest). I loved how easy this looked because I’m not at all artistic and I’d never done a painting before. I’d been looking for some artwork for the empty wall space going up my staircase and I knew this would be perfect.

Here’s how I created a silhouette portrait of my dog:

Step 1: Take a side-view picture of your dog (or whatever/whoever you’d like to paint). Here is the picture of my dog Dakota that I used:


Step 2: Buy a blank canvas. I chose a 10″ x 10″ canvas from Jo-Ann Fabric because it was the correct size for where I planned to hang the painting.

Step 3: Paint your canvas with the background color. I had leftover paint from when I painted the walls in our home so I used that. It was Behr Interior Paint & Primer in Eggshell finish. I also used the same type of roller I used to paint the walls – a regular 9″ paint roller with 3/8″ nap. I did one coat, let it dry and then painted a second coat.

While that’s drying, get your picture ready…

Step 4: Crop your picture to size. If you have Photoshop, crop your picture to the size of your canvas at a resolution of 300. I cropped my picture as 10″ by 10″ with a 300 pixels per inch resolution. (For more information on how to crop a picture, click Crop a Picture Using Paint or Crop a Picture Using Microsoft Word.)


Step 5: Print your picture. Since my picture was wider than a standard piece of printer paper, I printed 2 different images that could be taped together (I also cut out the parts of the picture I didn’t need to save printer ink). Notice the first image has Dakota’s face, but not all of her body. The 2nd image has the remainder of her body, but cuts off her face.


Step 6: Using scissors, cut out the silhouettes and tape together.

Step 7: Position your picture on your canvas and lightly trace it with a pencil.

Step 8: Use a paint brush to paint the area inside your pencil line. Be sure your paint covers your pencil line so it doesn’t show. I did 1 coat, let it dry, then did a 2nd. It looked great! After that, I painted a 2nd piece – a silhouette of a frog – in the opposite color scheme.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s