diy project: vintage halloween masked portraits

Halloween is without a doubt my favorite holiday. It’s funny, it’s creative, it’s mischievous, it’s full of crafts . . . what’s not to like? While I haven’t done much decorating of my own for this holiday in many years, I do appreciate a clever display, and these masked vintage portraits by Danielle Thompson might be my favorite bit of impromptu Halloween decor yet. Danielle snagged these awesome vintage portraits from a thrift store and decided to give these ladies a quick makeover for the holiday. This would be such a fun, subtle and witty way to prep your home for Halloween. They feel Lynchian to me, and I love that. Thanks for sharing, Danielle! — Kate

Have a DIY project you’d like to share? Just shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)


  • PDF template of masks (download them by clicking here and here)
  • portraits
  • black paper
  • non-damaging tape
  • scissors or exacto blade
  • cutting mat


1. Print the mask at home, or you can print one at your local copy/print center. If you print at home, be sure to set your page to landscape.

2. Cut out your mask(s). There are two pages of masks in lots of different styles and sizes. If you still can’t find the perfect size to fit your particular portrait, reprint your pages and enlarge or reduce the page size until you get just the right size. Some of the mask styles are styled to sit to the side if your portrait subject is slightly turned. Some are styled to sit straight forward.

3. Attach your mask to your portrait. If you want to add masks to portraits that are displayed around your home year-round, you will need to use a temporary adhesive. I have used reusable putty (like this brand). Other temporary adhesives like repositionable adhesive spray and repositionable glue sticks have also been recommended to me. You should test out your glue choice on some throw-away scraps to make sure, though. You don’t want to damage any precious photos! If your portrait is in a frame with glass covering the portrait, you can also add your mask to the outside of the glass, so it won’t be touching your portrait. Be sure to still use temporary adhesive.

Tip: You can also use the mask printable as a template for creating masks from felt. Just print and cut out your masks, pin them to your felt with sewing pins and cut around them. Be sure to use Felt Glue if you plan on adhering them permanently. Regular glue will seep through the felt.


I really like these! but i wasn’t able to download either of the masks…


Danielle’s ideas really are amazing. I love her house and her look and this craft idea is… amazing.

Kate Pruitt

Hi Cajeta,

They seem to be working when I test them. Do you have have a pop-up blocker installed? That might be the issue.


Love it! Saw something similar to this as the librarians did this to an oil painting of the founder of the library (not glued on of course)

Colleen Den

ha! I love this idea. I’m having a party this weekend and already had this same idea, in a way. I’m going around and making black masks for all of the family pictures already up around the house, so it will carry through subtly throughout! I LOVE HALLOWEEN.


OK, for those of us who didn’t go to design school, what is Lynchian?


These are great, but unfortunately I keep getting the error message: A DRAWING ERROR OCCURRED : (

Kevin @ Diy Dork

Oh wow… that is so cool! I’d leave em like that all year long. I can just imagine some greasy, 60s r&b playing on an old record player in the background of a party with those hanging on the walls. haha


i’m just really not into halloween decorations because the designs are usually so terrible. HOWEVER, this is too cute. i dig it!


Any idea where to source the type of portraits used for these?

web page

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I think that you can do with some pics to drive the
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An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.