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Spray Paint Silhouettes: Image


Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

Inspired by graffiti walls in Nottingham 

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

Workshop Description

Participants will create a large scale self portrait using spray paints.  

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

Workshop Aims

1. To represent each group member by creating a silhouette self portrait 

2. To learn how to use spray paints and experiment with techniques

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

Workshop Activities 

1. Tape a large piece of paper to a wall, and use a lamp or projector to cast a silhouette onto a wall of the head and shoulders of each participant, one by one. The person spends some time arranging themselves in the way they would like to be seen, in a particular pose and from a particular angle. They can ask advice from others who may be able to see the shadow better than them. Once a pose is agreed they hold it totally still while a friend draws around them, capturing as much accurate detail as possible. 

2. Cut out this shape and keep it for later. Try to be as careful as possible while cutting around the spaces of the facial features and hair, etc, to retain the personality of the person outlined. 

3. On a large piece of cardboard, use a selection of spray paints to cover the whole background. Play around with different techniques using the spray cans, making experimental marks and blending colours. 

4. Once dry, place the cut out silhouette on top of the background -hold or stick in place so it doesn’t move. Select a contrasting colour and spray over the top of the outline. Allow to dry then peel back the cut out to reveal a spray-painted silhouette beneath. 

5. Display each self-portrait in a grid or line format. Guess who is who from their outlines.  

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

Materials Required

  • large sheets of paper, a bit bigger than a person’s head and torso. 

  • pens 

  • tape 

  • lamp or projector 

  • scissors 

  • selection of spray paint colours to choose from 

  • large sheets of cardboard – big enough to comfortably fit the silhouette with space around the outside. 

  • card, cutting matts and knives – if making additional stencils (see below) 

  • marker pens, paint pens (optional) 

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text

This activity can be kept simple and done in one session or expanded by including a lead up session to learn how to create more complex stencils, to be used as a layer on top of their portraits.  


It is possible to add words or images such as buildings, objects and places that are important to the participants. For this, sketch out a design. Work out which areas to cut, and which ones to leave behind. For this you need to grasp the concept of positive and negative space – any part of the card you remove is where you allow the paint through whereas sections you leave behind will mask the paint from the surface. It’s best to start simple. Use a craft knife on a cutting board to remove sections of the stencil. Make sure you demonstrate safe cutting – pull the knife slowly towards you, keeping your hand holding the card at the top, away from the blade. 


The silhouettes can also be added to with layers of other materials such as paint pens and markers to include further words or images. 

Spray Paint Silhouettes: Text
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