Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Week 3 Gifts: Silhouette Transparencies

Light in the darkness of Advent is calming, healing and spiritual as we reflect on our many blessings, especially those of our children. I'd love to share a fun craft/gift that will certainly add to the beauty of your home. It is the silhouette transparency or triptychs.

They are not complicated to make and are very rewarding. We made ours using watercolor paintings (140 lb stock). After they dried, I put vegetable oil on them to set overnight to make them a little more transparent.

The next morning, I folded the two sides so the picture will stand freely in front of a votive candle.

Then on the back side, with a pencil, you can sketch your cut-out.

It is easiest to use a crafting knife, but for this one, I used a kitchen knife on a cutting board and some scissors. Be sure to keep a section of the bottom intact for stability and so that your designs are supported.

Once that is done, it's time to add the colors! You can use tissue paper or kite paper. Mine was done with kite paper. It is important to remember to go light to dark with your color schemes.

Using glue, attach your first color across the whole back of your design.

And then cut additional layers, as desired - again going from lighter to darker.

Once that is finished, set out on the table with a votive behind it and voila! You have a beautiful centerpiece for your seasonal table!

Now for something a little easier for the children, have them rip pieces of kite paper or tissue paper.

Attach a piece of white tissue paper or kite paper (this one is tissue paper) to the back of a simple cut out from one of their water color paintings. And then let them glue the shreds of paper on the back. A glue stick seems to work best, with no clumps of glue to be seen on the other side, however my twins insisted on working with tacky glue.

After the design is done, you can seal the back with another white piece of tissue or kite paper. The front doesn't look that great by itself...

But set it or hang it in front of a sunny window and you have a stunning creation by your little ones!

The possibilities are endless, but I'm sure Grandma would absolutely love a gift like this to hang in her window or in front of a votive for the holidays!

We had so much fun with this, that we are going to do seasonal transparencies and I've already completed our Winter scene for January:

Variations of these can be found in either "All Year Round" or "Earthways". I love and recommend both of these lovely books. Happy holidays!


  1. Oh my goodness! These are so beautiful, and your directions make them seem so easy. Can't wait to try these. Thanks for the inspiration, Jen!! :)

  2. Very nice post. I love silhouettes.

  3. Your transparencies are beautiful!
    I have just enjoyed looking through some of your Advent posts. All so wonderful!

  4. those are beautyful. I also wanted to make some for a while now but never come around to finally sit down and DO. Well, there's still a bit time until christmas.

  5. Hi Jen
    Thank you for the lovely, warm words you left on my blog. I am very touched. Your transparencies are so striking and your girls must really feel so proud of how they've turned out. They are indeed very warming for cold, dark days. We must really make a point of trying these out and you make them sound relatively straightforward. Best wishes, Kelly

  6. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

    you clever thing!

  7. Thanks everyone! They were really fun to make, and will be easy to store for next year :D Thanks for taking time to comment on this post! Happy holidays!

  8. Love this! wow, love your blog!