DIY: Silhouette Ornaments

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s December 2017 issue.

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When the holidays roll around, there are two types of decorators.  Those who want the magazine worthy tree covered in themed colors and styles.  And those who deck the boughs with a smattering of favorite, sentimental ornaments; wonky, glittered ornaments made by the kids, unique ornaments collected while on vacations, maybe even childhood favorite ornaments.  What if it doesn't have to be one way or the other?  Here’s a chic, yet simple one to add to the collection, and keep adding year after year.

You’ll need:

  • A plain, flat ceramic ornament, available at craft stores
  • Acrylic craft paint (choose a single color or a variety for each family member)
  • Assorted sized paint brushes, including an extra small brush
  • Ribbon
  • Clear gloss spray paint (optional)


To get started, pull out your camera and snap a few pictures of your target in full profile.  Feel free to use food as a distraction with babies and smaller kiddos.  It's essential to have a good side profile picture to capture all of those little details including eyelashes.

Measure the diameter of your ornament, then closely crop the photo and size it a half-inch smaller than the ornament diameter.  You can choose to print it now and carefully cut around the head or use photo-editing software to trace around the silhouette.  Either way, center the cut template on the ornament and lightly trace with a pencil. 

With the silhouette drawn, neatly follow the outline with a fine paintbrush to get the detailed part out of the way first.  Follow up with a more substantial brush to fill in the remainder of the space.  Apply another coat of paint if needed for full coverage.  Allow to dry, then grab a thin permanent marker and flip over to the back.  Write the name and year on the back to keep track of the growth and changes over the years.  If desired, spray with clear gloss spray paint for a professional, protective sheen.  Complete the ornament with a fancy new ribbon and proudly display. 

about the author...Amanda Bowe is a mom to two boys, a DIYer, crafter, and thrift store addict! She is also the author of Our Humble Abode (ourhumbleabodeblog.com), a blog dedicated to all things home improvement and DIY.