We weren't actually looking for a headless photo when we were
browsing through a box of vintage cabinet cards. But there they were,
the Bellingham Twins, looking very dark and creepy in their faded
albumen photograph. "If we could just retouch this photo a little bit,"
said Martin, "like remove one of their heads, we could have a terrific
Once we had that idea, we stumbled upon our second photo of a young
workman standing by an empty pedestal. That pedestal could come in
handy. We began by scanning the photographs, accentuating the details,
and carefully relocating a couple of heads. For our Halloween cards, we
decided to frame the photos using a paper technique that mimics the
leather-textured cardboard folders that held the originals.
Then we asked our VIC Facebook friends to come up with their best
captions for each photo. Thank you to all for making our Halloween card
messages so special - and wacky.
This Headless Photo Card project comes with two FREE
vintage images and two card inserts, because two heads are
better... never mind.
Materials for our Headless Photo Card
images (FREE PDF download) printed on matte photo paper, heavy
presentation paper or white card stock.
Card stock, 8.5" x 11". We used a dark, pearlescent green.
Lightweight paper, 8.5" x 11", in a complimentary light color. We
used an ivory parchment paper.
Lightweight cardboard, like from a cereal box. We used Raisin
Bran because of the beneficial fiber, which has nothing to do with this
Spray ink (dye-based). We used several colors of Adirondack Color
Wash by Tim Holtz (see Tips).
Electric iron and board.
Decorative brads. We used copper, antique brass and pewter brads
by Recollections (see Tips).
Hole punch, 1/8".
Scissors and/or craft knife. A paper cutter is useful for
straight cuts. Decorative scissors are optional.
Self-healing mat (optional).
Trim your card stock to 10" x 7". Fold it to a 5" x 7"
vertical card, scoring and burnishing with the bone folder.
the first page of the vintage
matte presentation paper. Cut out the headless photo of your choice
(Ralph the Butcher or the Bellingham Twins) and the frame template.
Punch 1/8" holes through the brad placement dots. Cut a 4" x 6" piece
of cardboard from the cereal box. Trace the frame template onto the
cardboard and cut it out with a craft knife.
Add the "aged leather" technique to your frame with this
simple wax paper resist technique:
Cut a rectangle of wax paper an inch or two larger than
your cardboard frame.
Roll the wax paper into a ball, then smooth it flat. A tight
ball will result in a fine-textured faux leather, while a loose ball
will create a bolder pattern.
Lay felt or a few layers of newspaper on an ironing board.
Place a piece of white scrap paper on top. Lay the wax paper on top of
the scrap paper. Place the cardboard frame, plain side down, on top of
the wax paper. Place one more piece of scrap paper on top. Press and
rub for 10-15 seconds with the hot iron (high or cotton setting). Allow
Apply or spray with water-base ink, and use a brayer to
spread it evenly
over the frame. Gently wipe off any excess ink with a rag or paper
towel. Let it dry. You may want to press it under a heavy book to keep
it from curling.
Position your headless photo within the frame and tape the photo
to the back of the frame.
Place the frame template over the frame again, and mark the dots
where you want to add brads. Punch 1/8" holes and insert the brads. You
can create many unique patterns. We used as few as four and as many as
twelve brads of various sizes when we made our cards for friends.
Attach the framed headless photo to the center of the front of
your card using glue or double-sided tape.
Print the second page of the vintage
images on the complimentary paper. Trim it within the guidelines to
4" x 6". We used decorative scissors across the bottom edge. Attach it
to the inside of the card with a piece of double-sided tape across the
top. or create your own personal message for the inside!
Different colors of ink will give you different effects.
Brown tones look the most like leather, but yellows, terra cotta,
greens and blues create interesting dyed leather looks. If one
application of ink does not seem intense enough, let it dry and then
apply it again, or add another color. The wax will continue to resist
the ink, but the pattern will become less pronounced.
We chose to embellish the frames with a pattern of antique-finish
brads, because of their torture-chamber, steampunk, flavor. But this is
one card that you can embellish with anything creepy. First you might
want to antique the edges of the card and frame with some dark ink. The
consider a funereal spray of black silk roses, spiders, spider webbing,
black feathers, wire, lace, dried flowers...
A 5" x 7" card fits perfectly within an A7 envelope, which is
5.25" x 7.25".