How to Create a Silhouette Image Using FREE Photo Editing Software

Today’s tutorial is two-fold. Yay! I love two-for-one deals, don’t you? First, I’m going to teach you how to create a silhouette of any image using FREE editing software (no Photoshop required). This technique is AWESOME because you can use it for more than just creating silhouettes. You can use it to remove the background from any picture and create those coveted “layers” that fancy photoshop people always create. Then, I’m going to take things a step further and show you how to use the new Silhouette double-sided adhesive paper to create an adorable flocked silhouette card. Let’s get this tutorial party started!

how to create silhouette art

For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a silhouette image of my wedding picture below for a card for my man.

wedding kiss

Step 1: Go to and click on the “Create New Blend” button.

It is the fourth icon over and looks like a blue stack of papers. (Don’t upload your photo first. Click on the Create New Blend button first.) Enter the pixel size you would like for your project or just use the preset if you’re not sure.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 12.52.50 PM

Step 2: Click on the “Photo” tab and upload your photo.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 12.52.59 PM

Step 3: Re-size your picture to the desired size.

I recommend just filling the box with your picture. Just click on the picture and drag the corners to re-size.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 12.53.19 PM

Step 4: Click on the button that says “Vector Mask” and then on “Add Vector Mask”.

This sounds space-age and scary. It’s not. What you are doing here is drawing little dots around a part of the picture that you want to “cut out”. I “traced” around our faces clicking little dots all along the way to remove the background from the to create silhouette

Step 5: Once you are done “tracing” your image it will look something like the picture below.

You can move each individual dot to make it as precise as possible. You can also use the “feather” tool on the left under “Mask Settings” to smooth the edge of your image. Hover over the “Apply Mask” button and see if you like the way your image looks before clicking. If everything looks good, click on Apply Mask.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 12.44.57 PM

Step 6: Your image is now it’s own “layer” free from its former background.You can change the color of the image by choosing “Color Overlay”.

Click anywhere on the color band to change the color. Slide the slider to black in order to create a silhouette image.

how to create a silhouette image

Step 7: Click the “Done” button in the upper right corner and then save your image to your computer.

Congrats! You now have a silhouette image that you can print out and frame.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.18.02 PM


And now we are moving on to part TWO of our tutorial! If you don’t have a Silhouette machine and want one NOW is the time to buy! They are still on sale but only briefly, so score one while you can at a discounted price. Click on this link or on the picture below and use Promo Code “A2Z” at checkout.

silhouette promo code

flocked silhouette card tutorial

Step 1: Open Silhouette Studio and import your silhouette photo into a new project.

Click on the “Trace” button which is the icon on the far right of the screen that looks like a double frame. Drop and drag a square around your silhouette and choose “trace”. I deleted the inside image and was left with the following outline. You can now size this image to your desired specifications.


Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.37.17 PM   

Step 2-8:

Step 2: Print your silhouette image on your double sided adhesive paper. This paper is like double sided tape.

Step 3: I created a cute heart cut-out on a cardstock card. I flipped the heart upside down and used the ruler feature on the Silhouette to align my heart properly on my card.

Step 4-6: Peel off the yellow backing from your silhouette image and stick to the inside of your card. Peel off the front paper from your image to reveal the sticky tape surface.

Step 7: Choose a glitter or flocking agent to use that comes in your Silhouette Double Sided Adhesive Starter Kit. Spread generously over the sticky surface.

Step 8: Use a dry paint brush to gently remove any excess.


flocked card tutorial  

Enjoy your creation and gift it with love!


flocked silhouette card 2

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  1. Ryan says

    Beth, the first part of this tutorial (just the silhouette creation portion) was extraoridinarily helpful. Thank you!!

  2. Ruthie Derby says

    I got lost. After I followed step 3, I couldn’t find the Vector Mask. My photo was already added to the canvas.

    • Beth says

      Hi Ruthie, Click on the stack of papers looking icon and you’ll see the word Background with a lock on it. Click on the lock to unlock your picture. Vector Mask will show up below.

  3. says

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and
    found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. Adrienne says

    Thanks Beth! Your tutorial makes it very easy to follow the instructions and come out with something beautiful and thoughtful for that special someone to enjoy!

  5. Brenda says

    I’m trying to do this.. and can’t get past the first step. When I go to I don’t see the “create new blend” button. Do I click on fix photos; easy crop, resize, & rotate; fast exposure & color fixes; or professional touch ups?
    If I click on ‘start editing’ my only options are to upload a photo, or create collage.

    Please help..trying to use this for a class project tomorrow.

    • Beth says

      Okay, I just did it and here are the steps I did:–>start editing—->New Image (create new image, choose size)—>Unlock background (click on the little lock next to background)—->Upload your photo—>Drag photo to screen—->Resize—->Click Add Vector Mask—> Trace around object—->Apply mask—->Click Color overlay—>Darken to black.

  6. says

    The first part of your tutorial: BEST EVER! I was trying forever to make a silhouette image by tracing in studio and i just couldn’t get the trace perfect, but with your tutorial i was done within minutes! Thank you so much!!

  7. Esperanza says

    Thank you so much for this post!! I found it very easy to follow and created the cutest Father’s Day!

  8. Esperanza says

    Thank you so much for this post!! I found it very easy to follow and created the cutest Father’s Day mugs!

  9. Lorie Zapata says

    I can not thank you enough for explaining this step by step. It really helped and I was able to get the job done. I work as an Intervention Specialist with Autism children and my classroom theme was the chalkboard look since they are sensitive to bright things. I found some silhouettes of children that I enlarged on poster board and added color within the hair bows, bow ties and so forth, but it is still subtle for my students. Now I can also continue to create things for my classroom as well as my home.
    Thank you again! It is appreciated!


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