I am always on the lookout for interesting arts and crafts projects, especially ones that are fun to do with kids. I recently came across the work of artists Hari & Deepti. They create amazing 3D papercraft art using silhouette cutouts and light. In researching their work, I also came across a tutorial by Instructables user bunbun_da_bunni. This inspired me to try making one of my own. I modified the construction techniques to make them a little easier to assemble. I also worked out a way to make these 3D silhouette images from photographs. That way you can easily recreate images of places that are special to you.

So in this project, I am going to show you how turn a photograph into a 3D silhouette light box. This is done by separating the picture into different layers based on how far away the objects are in the scene. Each layer is then turned into a silhouette cutout. The layers are reassembled with spacers in between each one. This gives the image the appearance of depth and creates a 3D effect. You can also add lights behind the cutouts to make your images glow and create shadows between the layers.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Here is a video walkthrough of the project.

<p>It would be cool to make one of a city outline</p>
<p>Beautiful ideas!</p>
Awesome! A laptop screen could look really cool for this!
<p>Me tomo algo de tiempo pero lo logr&eacute;, Gracias.</p>
<p>That is a heavy weight! Sweet project!</p>
<p>Great video. I'll have to try this with a Colorado mountain scene.</p>
<p>What software did you use to layer the image</p>
I used an ancient program called &quot;Paint Shop Pro.&quot; But you can use any program that lets you manipulate &quot;layers.&quot;
<p>Do you know some free software because your software cost</p>
<p>Olek, you could consider GIMP. It's an open source software that is free and allows you to use layers and do other photo manipulation. It would do this just fine.</p><p>The website is <a href="http://www.gimp.org/" rel="nofollow">Gimp.org</a>, and they also have a <a href="http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/" rel="nofollow">tutorials page</a> to help you get started.</p><p>Hope this helps you out!</p>
<p>One free alternative is to print the picture out multiple times and cut the layers out with a knife. You can then either trace the cutouts or turn them around and use the back side. If the printout is faint and the card stock is thick, it might not show through at all. </p>
<p>OMG I love this</p>
<p>Here is another one that my wife and I made for a coworker.</p>
<p>Thanks for replying and sharing your pdf's. As you can see I made it! I think foam core works better that cardboard, however. I used basic box cardboard for the layers but then realized I had the foam core so I used that for the front. The lights are a strand of 10 led's that are battery powered. I've gotten a new image with a perspective that is different...looking OUT of a cave towards mountains and trees. That will be my next attempt. Thank you again.</p>
<p>Awesome. Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>I agree with icelandinthesun. Can you possible share your print files? I don't think I have a print editor that I can use. I have everything else. Would LOVE to make this NOW! :)</p>
<p>You can download any image that you see on instructables. Just click on the image. This will bring it up in an in-screen window. You can right click and save the image. Or you can left click it again to bring up the image page. This gives you access to the original (largest) file. <a href="https://www.instructables.com/file/FEHJ6Q3I2RGWO3P" rel="nofollow">Example.</a> You can just do this for each image that you would like to save. </p>
<p>The creator of this instructible didn't provide images for each layer, ... this is what I was referring to.</p>
<p>I have attached a zip file of the jpeg images.</p>
Definitely gonna try making one of these! Love the idea...and yes, it would make a great night light for a child's room...
You could add a little spaceship with a tiny Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway inside. :b
<p>cool silhouette art... depth photo art... night lamp</p>
<p>that is so awesome, ill be making one of these for sure!</p>
<p>Very nice. I've been planning to do something very similar for awhile, since I found some cardboard in the closet I had saved for making picture frames, and then forgot about. Maybe I'll get around to it one of these days.</p>
<p>Could you put the layers to use in a file to print out? than i could do this tonight and vote you golden</p>
<p>Hey, not bad ! would have never thought about using photo editing to cut apart an image like that. Any chance you will add some different colored Led's for each layer? even just a diif shade of blue/white</p>
You can put the lights in any way that you want. To fit LEDs between layers, you just need to use two sheets of cardboard to make it wide enough or a standard LED.
This is great! Gotta try making one!
I love it!

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker ... More »
More by DIY Hacks and How Tos:How to Make a Festivus Pole Add Wings to an Infant's Halloween Costume Bubble Bath That Never Runs Out Of Bubbles 
Add instructable to: