Strike Up the Band

Here’s another fun silhouette that also appeared in the photo shoot in Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.  In the pic below you can see it just to the left of the dresser—a kids’ parade done in blue.  The one below which I cut yesterday is in pink.  It’s about 8″ in length.

I really love these designs from the 1920s.  There are several more that I used to do and I plan on re-cutting most of them and sharing them here.  Hope you enjoy them!





Silhouette of the Day: Tree of Life

This silhouette I did several years ago.  It’s a little different from some of the others I’ve done in that it was created by folding the paper in half, creating a mirror image.  The benefit here (at least to the cutter!) is that you only have to make one series of cuts to achieve the image.  On the down side, it’s somewhat more difficult to do the “inside” cuts where you have to pierce the paper with the point of the scissors.  With this one, you’re going through two pieces of paper instead of just one.  If I remember correctly, the designer was Frank Joest, who’s done some amazingly complex silhouette or Scherenschnitte (scissor cutting) designs.  This one is about 8″ x 7″.

tree of life


More “Fun with Silhouettes”

Okay, kiddies, gather ’round.  Here are two more silhouettes I used to do, only in pastel colors.  The top photo is from the now defunct magazine, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, which did an article on my daughter’s home back in 2001.

The silhouettes were mounted on paper that I lightly crumpled before dipping in a tea dye. Once dried, I ironed the paper to flatten it out again.  The creases kept some of the tea stain, adding to the “old” look.  Then I would paint the frames for the silhouettes with two different pastel colors, “crackle” the surface, and wipe on an antiquing gel that would then be wiped off just enough to give the frames an old appearance.  The look we were going for was something that you might find up in your grandma’s attic.

I’ve included two views of what the backs of the frames would look like.  At the thrift store I’d found this funny little book that had to be from the 1950’s. It had poems about being good, helpful, etc., reminiscent of the old “Dick and Jane” stuff we read when I was a young’un.  I scanned the pages and would print them on card stock to go over the standard frame backing.  Just another little fillip to make the frames look homemade and one-of-a-kind.

The two silhouettes below are close-ups of the ones in the Home Companion photo. The boy with the dog silhouette I cut today.  (Here they’re on a purple background so they show up better.)

Since I’ve given away and sold so many of the ones I used to do, I discovered I don’t have many copies of my work.  Gasp.  So I’m determined to go back and re-cut as many as I can to create a record of sorts of all that I’ve done.  At least as long as the fingers and eyeballs hold out…

mary engelbreit



book back1


book back2

boy and dog

boy with trumpet


Getting My Mojo Back

Starting back in the early to mid-1990s, I used to cut silhouettes.  All the time.  I’ve probably done a couple hundred, at least.  I’ve done scenes, people, animals and, my favorite,—kids with animals.

Then I got involved with artist trading cards, of which I cranked out about a hundred of them, too.  When I take on something, I don’t do it half-assed, apparently.

Lately I’d been casting about for something to “artisticate,” as it’s known in my immediate family.  Then, the coordinator of the kindergarten reading program where I volunteer asked me if I would cut a silhouette of her three-year-old daughter.  Since she’s a friend and neighbor of my daughter, she’d seen some of my work on the walls of my granddaughter’s bedroom.  I said I’d be glad to.

Now the silhouette bug has bitten again and today I dusted off my sharp Gingher scissors and cut out one of my favorites, a little girl using her umbrella to fend off an attacking goose.  I plan to give it to the reading coordinator this next week on our final day for the year.  She does a good job and perhaps has saved the program from the budgetary ax.  (Always a possibility in Rick Perry’s world.  *sigh*)

Anyway, here it is.  Enjoy.

(It’s cut from velvety black silhouette paper and mounted on 5″ x 7″ card stock.)

girl with goose