Silhouette Portrait

silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

Creating a silhouette portrait is a really fun way to begin on a journey of discovering the properties of light.

We began by discussing the fact that light travels in straight lines. Now this may seem pretty self explanatory, but, if light did not travel in straight lines it wouldn't create a shadow! An area where direct light from a light source is blocked by obstruction of an object causes a shadow! If you like you can start talking about concepts like opaque, transluscent and transparent.



silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

We read a fun book from the library called What Makes a Shadow? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)

We really enjoy the Read and Find Out About Science books, this one was a very simple one and probably aimed more at a younger child, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. The books are really great for introducing complex concepts to little ones and they are graded in stages for older children too.



This is really a no fuss, no mess activity! You'll need a light source. We used a torch, but a desk lamp will do fine.

silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

You can make a silhouette portrait of just about anything, but it's fun to make one of your child and makes a nice keepsake too. You will need to stick a piece of paper to the wall, and place the light source as far or near as you need it to be so that it creates the desired effect. Once you are happy with the silhouette created, trace around it with a pencil.

silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

We then used the traced silhouette as a template to cut out a portrait from black paper. They are now displayed on their bedroom doors!

silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES AND FACTS

Try to make a portrait of a pet too if you can get your pet to sit still long enough! Our Golden Retriever was not a good candidate for this!

Why not make some leaf portraits for your nature journal?

Etienne de Silhouette was the French finance minister from whom the name originated. He enjoyed making cut paper portraits and liked doing things cheaply so his name became synonymous with these portraits. Before the advent of photography, silhouette profiles cut from black card were the most affordable way of recording a person's appearance.


silhouette portrait, light experiment, science experiments for kids, silhouette head, fun science

We rabbit trailed with this and found it very interesting that this is still an art form practiced today! Click here and look at the silhouette art on this website. Click on the "image gallery" link.

And for something really different, check out this beautiful leaf portrait!



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