Silo patterns for woodworking shadows for the yard

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Welcome to a world of woodworking and craft -- you're doing both when you make a silhouette or yard shadow to enhance your property.  It's easy to make any of the shadows you see on our site.  Take the resting deer pictured to your right. . .a small 4x4 piece of 1/2" thick plywood, a hand held jig saw, and some black paint is all it takes.  Anyone can make super-looking yard shadows using our FULL SIZE patterns.

We have a "How To Guide" for beginners posted online, but here's a quick low-down.  First, transfer the full size pattern we send you to the plywood or material of your choice.  You can do this by cutting out a pattern and tracing around it.  You can also use transfer paper, which is like carbon paper -- this saves your patterns from being cut up, plus makes things a little easier in general.  Next, cut the lines you drew using the hand held jig saw.  Go over the rough edges with 80 grit sandpaper.  Paint with black primer paint.

You can attach your black (or white, or whatever color) silhouette to a garage, barn, fence, house, or stake one in the middle of the yard.  Attach them to trees, stick them in the flower bed.  There are so many ways to make yard shadows and silhouettes a part of your home.  Even though you know they are there, you'll still get startled by your shadows now and again -- specially by the people!

Yard shadow pattern for deer laying down
Silhouette pattern for girl with watering can
Six shooter cow girl shadow pattern for plywood yard display
Large tracing patterns for making wooden shadows for the lawn
Howling wolf shadow pattern for woodworking in the yard

Categories of Patterns:

The Farm, The Ranch, The Cowboy
Farm Animals
Jungle Animals
Forest Critters
Birds, Aviary
Land Vehicles
Sea Vehicles
Air Vehicles
Letters and Numbers

Greyhound dog shadow pattern

At, we know woodworking patterns.  We know that tracing out a huge project like our Mule Deer would be a hassle if it were on small sheets that you have to keep taping together.  That's why all of our silhouette patterns are printed on 3' wide sheets of paper -- many require no taping at all.

Just take a look at the Mule Deer project.  It comes on ONE SHEET.  You will not find shadow patterns like this anywhere else.

The patterns that do require pieces to be taped together usually do not exceed 3 or 4 pieces, making it VERY simple for you to get the pattern traced, get you started cutting and finished with your shadow project.  For some projects, multiple pieces of paper can't be helped -- they only make paper so big!

You can count on ALL shadow patterns you purchase at to be easier to use than any other pattern you might have used.  Try one and we think you'll agree.  In this case, bigger IS better. . .and we deliver.

FREE "How to" Guide on Making Shadows:

A Jigsaw -- THE Tool
Right off the bat, you need only ONE main tool -- a hand held jigsaw.  The blade is about 5" long and it goes up and down (called a reciprocating blade, for learning's sake).

You can buy a used jigsaw for $5 at a garage sale if you're lucky.  You'll pay $30 for a low-end new one at most hardware stores, plus there is every price in between up to about $150.  Each woodworker must decide how much they plan on using the tool, what features are required -- but when it comes down to it, you just need a simple electric saw, nothing fancy.

Rotary saws like the Rotozip (TM) are great for doing tight corners and curves, but the tool has problems cutting a straight line without the use of a guide.  Traditional jig saws which cut up and down can cut a very straight line, although it is harder to cut a tight corner with them.  If you can afford to have both tools around -- a traditional reciprocating jigsaw and a rotary saw -- using both tools together, the rotary saw for tight corners and the jig saw for long, straight cuts, these projects become VERY simple.

If you can only have 1 type of saw, let me clearly recommend a traditional jig saw.

Selecting the Woodstock
Plywood is the main choice for material.  Why?  It's relatively cheap, easy to work with, and readily available in most places.  Can you use other materials?  Of course.  Some of our customers have cut designs out of metal, plastic, cardboard, and other materials.

Let's stick with plywood.  It comes in 4'x 8' sheets, but you can generally buy smaller portions or have a hardware store employee cut a full sheet down to size for you at the store if you only need a fraction of that area or can't transport a full sheet.

Use an exterior grade plywood.  The thickness should not be less than 3/8" and probably not more than 3/4".  If it's too thin, it will warp -- and if it's too thick, it gets heavy and sort of looks funny.  Again, it's your decision to make.  As you make more shadows, you will refine your taste.

If you really want your project to last and don't mind spending the money, you might consider using "marine plywood" which is made to be submerged in water for boating purposes.  Synthetic materials are specially formulated to resist decomposition, but they'll also cost you quite a bit more.  . .more things for you to ponder before your patterns arrive.  "Exterior grade" is a good term to remember.

Getting Patterns onto Wood
The recommended method is
transfer paper.  Local art supply stores should sell this, but honestly they probably won't have very large sheets.  We carry a good size transfer paper.  It's basically just like carbon paper.  You lay the transfer paper on the wood, lay your pattern on the transfer paper, then trace the pattern with a dull pencil.  The lines of the pattern are transferred to the wood for cutting.

There ARE other methods of pattern transfer.  You can gluing it to the wood and cut around it, or cut out the pattern itself and trace around it.  The down side to both of these methods is that the pattern is destroyed and hence unable to be used again in the future.  Save patterns = transfer paper.

Time to Cut
OK, so your pattern is now on your material and you're ready to cut.  Always wear safety goggles and make sure that your work area is clear.  Take your time and let the saw do its job.  Don't "hog" the wood by forcing the saw to cut too quickly. . .relax and let the saw cut while you enjoy your hobby. Think about it:  there's really no rush.  Accidents happen when you rush.

If you come to a tight corner, remove the saw and cut in again from another angle to meet the point where you had to stop the saw.  If you turn a jig saw too tightly, it may break the blade or bend the saw mechanism.  Again, take your time.  Also, make sure your saw has a wood cutting or mutli-purpose blade installed.  Also, blades DO get dull, so make sure you've got a new one.

Be sure to read your OWN tools' manuals and understand them.

Preparation for the Weather
There's a lot you can do to insure that your project lasts as long as possible.  Plywood is an imperfect material.  There WILL be knots and holes.  Buy some wood putty and use it to fill in any and all holes, cracks, etc. that you see in the material.  Inspect all areas, especially looking at the edges.  Once the putty dries, sand it flush using 80 to 120 grit sandpaper.  This prevents water from getting inside the plywood and destroying your project from the inside out.

Next, keep the water OFF the project.  Use a latex-based exterior primer (or oil-based if you don't mind the extra clean up time) to coat the project with at least 2-3 coats.  They make black primer, so you can not only seal your project, but paint it for display purposes at the same time.

Finally, if you wish, use clear-coat polyeurethane to make a final seal of protection.  It can't hurt to re-coat your shadow every few years or so with more black primer and/or polyeurethane.

Setting Up in the Yard
There are soooo many ways to do this, we'll not go into them all.  Just take a trip to the local hardware store and use your noggin.  It really depends on where you want to put the shadow anyway.  Here are a couple of general ideas, though:

  • If you're attaching to a structure, use screws that are about 3/4" longer than the
    thickness of wood from which you made the YardShadow.  Fences and barns make
    great (and easy) places to attach this type of project.
  • If you want the project to be in the middle of the yard, a wooden or metal stake is a
    good choice.  The key to stakes (of any sort) is to NOT attach the shadow until AFTER
    you have pounded the stake into the ground -- this keeps you from beating the heck out
    of the shadow.  Attach the project to the stake AFTER you have driven it into the ground
    by using brackets or carriage bolts/nuts/washers.
  • Use wood screws if the stake/backing you are using is wood.  Pre-drill, counter sink,
    then put a dab of wood putty over the screw and touch up with paint and poly to protect
    from the weather.  Remember, stake first, then affix shadow.

Finished. . .Finally!
That's all there is to it.  As mentioned earlier, you should insure your project's longevity by re-coating it with polyeurethane and/or primer BEFORE the wood looks like it may start to be aging.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of sawdust.

Thanks for making the neighborhood a more interesting place!


This guide is not meant to instruct anyone on the use of power tools.

Woodworking lawn projects and decorations like shadows and silhouettes, plus a lot more! is owned by!

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