Make Your Own Shadow Yard Art
By Jim Shutes
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Making your own shadow yard art can be a lot of fun, and can really spruce up your yard! Have you seen the many different types of silhouettes displayed on lawns, as you pass by? Sometimes, they make you do a “double-take” because they look so real. Some of the shadows that I remember are Indians riding a horse, cowboys leaning against a tree, various animal scenes, waving people, and lots more. Shadows are very popular and very easy to make.
So how does one go about creating their own shadows? Well, there are many ways this can be done. First, you need to find the image that you would like to display. This could be a person, or an animal, or say, an eagle. If you wanted to find an eagle, one way is to look on the Internet for some pictures of eagles. Probably the best place to go is www.google.com and click on images. This way you are just searching for images of an eagle, and not the word “eagle”. Another way to find images is in magazines or books. Pictures can be copied for personal use on a copier.
Once you have the image you are looking for, blow it up to the size you would like the finished product. Do this either on a printer or a large-scale copier, to get to the desired size. Once you have the correct size, trace it onto a piece of ¼” to ½” plywood and cut it out with a jig saw. Once cut, sand smooth, and paint it black.
Another way to enlarge an image is with an overhead projector. Or, if you cut out the image on a small piece of wood, you can bright light behind it, casting the shadow of the larger image onto a large piece of plywood. Once traced, cut the larger piece out, sand and paint.
With this shadow being an eagle, you will want to hang it from a tree limb to show it in flight. If it is a perched shadow of an eagle, then you will want to mount it to a fence post, or something similar.
I think that some of the more interesting shadows are ones of Whitetail deer, or black bears. To me, these seem to look the most natural out in the yard. More than once, I have had to look twice to see if the silhouettes that I was passing were really standing there! This is part of the excitement of displaying designs like these, to make people wonder if what they are looking at is really standing there. To do this, make sure that the designs you choose are life-like, and not “cartoonish”. Choose a design from nature.
Try all different types of shadows and see what you think. Some other ideas could be images of a person waving from your porch, Santa sneaking to your chimney on your roof, reindeer on the roof or in your yard, a cowboy leaning against your tree, or kids playing. Enjoy!
If you would like detailed instructions and a full-size pattern for this project (Flying Eagles #26, or Painted Bears and Cubs #292), send a copy of this article and $6.95 (plus $3.95 S&H), check or money order, to Dept. 101, Sherwood Creations, Inc., 1459 N. Leroy St., Fenton, MI 48430. If you would like to pay by credit card, please call toll-free (800) 843-2571 or go to www.SherwoodOnline.com.
Click HERE if you would like to download this article as a Microsoft Word Document, including the photos.