Freaky Frame Crafts for Haunting the Home

These creepy picture frame crafts range from last-minute decorating to after-school craft projects. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.
These creepy picture frame crafts range from last-minute decorating to after-school craft projects. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.

Whatever your Halloween decorating style or needs–retro, chic, gothic, or just plain eerie–there’s a way to frame it. Each of these five haunting frame crafts take less than an hour to create, use inexpensive frames, and makes use of items you likely already have at home.

Vintage Mini-Movie Marquees. This is the easiest and quickest way to create a last-minute retro Halloween party decorations. Place quick print-outs of vintage monster films in plain black frames of different standard sizes (6″ x 4″, 8″ X 10″, etc.) for wall art or table settings. These are easy “theme starters” for parties as well. Go with “Universal Monsters,” “It Came From…,” “Gothic Horror, ” “Circa 1980s Slasher Films,” or “Witches and Wizards.” It is amazing how many cheesy movies have been made with really nifty posters.

Framing vintage-style monster film posters is great for last-minute decorating.
Framing vintage-style monster film posters is great for last-minute decorating.

Spider In The Window. Poke holes in a small pre-cut mat board with a nail or screwdriver, and lace some black twine or embroidery thread through in the “dreamcatcher” pattern. Try to make the weaving a little uneven or sloppy, so it will resemble a spider-web. Next, give a cheap, plastic spider ring an artistic or more realistic paint job with gel pens or paint, and lightly glue it to the web, off-centered. Place the mat on a pre-cut piece of glass or plexiglass (acrylic sheets), to keep it reinforced. This also gives it a more complete look.

Dreamcatcher weaving, and a repurposed plastic ring turn a plain mat board into a nature-inspired design.
These look great back-lit or a silhouettes.

Emerging 3-D Face. This idea was inspired by the eerie emerging ghost face from Peter Jackson’s cult horror-comedy, The Frighteners. This image always fascinated me and gave me gooseflesh at the same time, so I decided to create my own as a little nightmare therapy. Gently smooth a piece of aluminum foil over baby doll face or small skull decoration, leaving some flat surface around the edges. Be very careful, as foil will rip if poked too hard. Place the face through an empty frame, and very, very gently fill the back with facial tissue, paper towels or cotton balls, to help it keep its shape. Cover the back with cardboard to hold it in place. Add a little watercolor paint or watered-down acrylic to help bring the details out.

Smooth foil over a 3-D surface to make this “emerging” face frame.
The “Emerging” Face.

Creepy Eyes. Give the popular melted pony bead suncatcher craft a spooky edge by adding a pair or craft doll eyes. Use wire cutters to clip the eyes’ back posts off, so it will have a flat surface in back. Create a tray for the beads by smoothing foil into the center of the frame, as some frames can’t be placed in an oven. Place eyes in the center of the foil try and fill the rest in with pony beads. Place the trays on a baking sheet and melt them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 400°F. Once cooled, removed the melted beads from the foil tray and place them in the frame. Use craft glue or a glue gun to hold them in place. If the tray was handled carefully, the melted beads should fit right in the frame. Use gel pens or felt-tip markers to add details, if you want.

Creepy Eye Frames

Paranormal Landscapes. This ghostly effect is achieved by a simple art journaling trick called packing tape transfers. Find an image of person in a catalog or magazine, and carefully rip (not cut) it out of the magazine. The rougher edges look more “surreal” when completed. The figure doesn’t have to be ghostly; that comes later. Place a piece of packing tape over the front of the image, and soak it in a shallow dish of water for a few minutes. This will cause the back of the page to peel off easily, leaving a transparent image. Cut away any excess tape, and smooth the transfer over a picture of a house, garden or other area to make it appear “haunted.” If you like, enhance the image with a little glow-in-the-dark paint or nail polish to give it an extra glow.

Place these “ghostly” Halloween displays, in front windows, or on a fireplace hearth. It’s also fun to discreetly put them on a shelf with family photos, where they demand a second look. They also have the potential to spark a conversation, so be ready with good back story about your “dearly departed” who haunts the photo. They are sure to be the guest of honor at any spooky gathering.

Making a packing tape transfer.
Making a packing tape transfer.
Paranormal Landscapes are both easy and eerie.

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site and maintains her own blogsite at She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.