You have seen the Haunted Portraits I created not too long ago, but I wanted to take a few of those and up the creep factor. Inspired by some portraits I came across in a haunted house not too long ago, I wanted to recreate what I saw since they didn’t appear in stores. I love a good challenge project. While this one wasn’t very difficult, there were some fun design concepts I had to go through before landing on the one you see now.
This is a relatively easy project and doesn’t eat up a lot of time. Plus you can create dozens of these glowing eye portraits at the same time using an assembly line of sorts.
Let’s dive into the materials list:
- 11×14 Canvas
- Printed portraits. (I have 3 11×14 portraits to get you started below)
- Mod Podge
- Plastic Half Eyes
- Wide craft sticks (the size of tongue depressors)
- Button LED lights
- Paint sticks (the free paint stirrers from Home Depot)
- 12×18 Black felt or fabric
- 11×14 Thrift Store frames
- Hot glue gun
- X-acto Knife
- Staple Gun
- Gaffer Tape
- 1/2 inch wood screws
First, let’s get you those portraits. Download the three I used in the link below. This link will take you to a Dropbox folder where you can download them. They are large files because when they are printed they will look more crisp and less pixelated. You can use any portraits you want, but I have these already sized at 11×14. Plus the eyes are big enough for the plastic eyes we are using. Take them to any print shop locally or an Office Max or Fed Ex Office to have them printed.
Next, get a nice layer of Mod Podge on the canvas but make sure there are no puddles. We are looking for an even coat. Once you have that even coat carefully place the portraits on the canvas. I would use a credit card or pastry cutter to smooth out the paper and avoid wrinkles and bubbles. I even turned the canvas over to do the same to the back side to avoid any possible bubbles on the backside.
After the portrait has fully dried, you are going to cut the eyes out using an X-acto knife. You don’t say that often right? Remember we are just cutting out the eye. Leave as much of the surrounding part as possible.
When the eyes are cut out, take a Sharpie marker and rim the inside of the eyes to cover up the white edges where we cut. Then flip the canvas over and set it on a raised surface so there is space under the canvas. I do this because when we place the eyes, we want them to come through the canvas just a little to add some creepy definition.
Before we glue the eyes, I used black gaffer’s tape to border around the eye holes. This prevents unwanted light from the LED lights going through the canvas. After it has a border, use a hot glue gun to go around the edges of the eyes and then set the eyes in the hole and let the glue harden. Feel free to add extra to prevent them coming loose.
Now let’s grab two of our button LEDs. So I like these for their size and brightness, but not a fan that the switch is on the opposite side of where I would like it. Plus, they don’t fit inside the eye, so I had to get creative. Luckily they have an adhesive back, so I put them on a large craft stick or tongue depressor and then flipped them over lining them up so the light sits over the plastic eye. Once happy with the placement, I hot glued a large area on the bottom. This allows me to lift the stick high enough and hit the switch to turn off the light.
So because these lights in the back are now raised a bit, the canvas won’t fit flush against the wall. This is where I used the wooden paint stirrers. Looking back, I think a cheap 25 cent ruler would work a bit better. Go with what you feel. I sawed off the edge to it fit across and used 1/2 inch screws to screw a stirrer or ruler on the top and bottom. Now it’s much more flush when I put it on the wall.
This is where the black felt or fabric comes in. It’s to hide the contraption we just built AND block the light from escaping the back. I used the felt because it’s thicker and hides the light more than a thin piece of fabric. I cut it down to fit and used a staple gun to attach the felt to the top. Leave the bottom undone or use velcro. You want to be able to open it back up when you want to turn off the LED lights.
Finally I took the backing and glass out of the frame. I aged the frame using the same technique I did in my Haunted Portrait tutorial. I used the glue gun to get the inside of the frame and set the canvas down inside. Once that dried, I went along the edges in the back to make sure it was secure. When I’m ready to hang it, I will attach a saw tooth picture hanger. Boom! We have creepy glowing eyes ready!
Get creative and if you have questions, let me know!