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A Horrible Headless Photo Makes a
Hilarious Halloween Card

Headless Photo Card for Halloween on Vintage Image Craft
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Headless Photo Card image)
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 Halloween card!"

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

Crafts & Supplies at joann.com!

  • Vintage 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 craft.
  • Wax paper.
  • 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".
  • Bone folder.
  • Scissors and/or craft knife.  A paper cutter is useful for straight cuts. Decorative scissors are optional.
  • Brayer.
  • Self-healing mat (optional).


  1. Headless Photo Card for Halloween, step 1Trim your card stock to 10" x 7". Fold it to a 5" x 7" vertical card, scoring and burnishing with the bone folder.
  2. Print the first page of the vintage images on 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.

  3. Headless Photo Card for Halloween, step 2Add 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 to cool.
    • Headless Photo Card for Halloween, step 3Apply 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.
  4. Position your headless photo within the frame and tape the photo to the back of the frame.
  5. 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.
  6. Attach the framed headless photo to the center of the front of your card using glue or double-sided tape.
  7. Headless Photo Card for Halloween, step 4Print 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!


  • Headless Photo Card for Halloween, step 5Different 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".

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