Everyone loves a good old-fashioned scare. When it comes to haunted houses or spooky backyards, there’s something about that eerie feeling that tickles our happy spots. Whether you live in a pre-existing home with some chilling history, or you have just purchased your very first abode… you may need a little help bringing out the creep factor. The way we see it, there are two ways to achieve this effect: Either give your home an extremely creepy vibe by painting everything black and adding light-blocking curtains and blackout blinds… or take some paper, soak it in water and smash it up real good. Paper is one of those things that people generally assume is antique and old because of how weathered it looks. It’s this notion of being old and imperfectly aged that will help you achieve the haunted house look without breaking the bank on candles, cobwebs, and old vases.
How To Make The Paper Look Old?
1. Old Books
Old books are perfect for making your paper look old and crumbling, but like any piece of vintage paper, the edges of your pages may tend to curl up. To combat this, tuck a piece of construction paper underneath the page as you crop or print it. This will prevent the edges from curling. Most inkjet printers leave a little white border around each page of an image, so don’t be afraid to use it to cover any white margins that may appear on your finished paper copy.
2. Crumble Out Leaves
For the best effect, measure out at least a handful of leaves and place them on top of your final piece (on top of whatever’s underneath). You can handle them like one big stack or you can break them down into smaller pieces by placing them in between two pieces of plastic wrap and crushing them with something heavy… like a cast iron skillet or cookie sheet filled with stones.
3. Pastel Chalks
A great way to make your paper look old is to use pastel chalk! Look up how to make chalk art, then follow that tutorial and use a mixture of white and water-based chalks to make your paper look old.
4. Pencil Shavings
Use pencil shavings to cover up any unfinished edges of your paper, or just use them on their own to make your smudgy, old-looking paper!
5. Porcelain tile
Using what’s called “porcelain tiles” you can get the texture of an old wall texture without the hassle of sanding and priming, and it also makes for a great picture frame! To create the look of worn porcelain tiles, you can either buy a set at the dollar store or find them at Hobby Lobby (for about $3). Simply cut out small squares from construction paper, place them on top of your piece (applied with a glue stick), and carefully tear them off one by one in a jagged edge pattern.*
6. Fabric Scraps/Fabric Paint
To give that “worn” look to fabric scraps, spray water on them and let them sit for about 30 minutes until they’re damp enough to smudge… then rub lightly over the top of your fabric with acrylic paint (or with washi-tape if you have any) and feel free to add some chalks!
7. Paper Beads
If you’re feeling particularly crafty, use paper beads (from the dollar store, obviously) to add texture to your paper. Just take a handful of the beads, roll them into a ball (like you would with ceramic beads), and place it in between two pieces of plastic wrap… crush them with a heavy object before placing them on top of your piece.
8. Dried Flowers
It’s important to vary the size and shape of your flowers for a more realistic look, but here’s one way you can do that with dried flowers: Use scissors or tape to cut out four large circles from white paper stock and one small circle from colored paper stock (for edges). Fold each flower over in half and place it on top of each circular image. Place two separate pieces of washi tape vertically just above where the flower was placed so they’re slightly overlapping. Lightly brush over the top with watered-down white glue using an up-and-down motion.
Light Blocking Curtains And Blackout Blinds
- First, decide how scary you want your place to look. You can do this by looking at inspirational photos and seeing how other people have done it. If you’re painting everything black, then leave the room light on in the daytime. This will help create an atmosphere and allow you to see what’s going on without being blinded by dark hallways and creaky staircases. Another thing that can make it even scarier is turning off all the lights inside your home. Make sure that however dark you go when lighting your house, is still not creepy enough… a bit more creepy always helps!
- Next, decide what kind of paper you are going to buy. There are many different varieties of quality papers out there (some of which cost way more money than others). We recommend checking out eBay or Etsy for papers if it’s easier for you… but if you’re feeling like splurging on a nice piece from a specialty store we wouldn’t blame you one bit!
- Once your paper has arrived, rip it up and throw away the staples so that no one sees what is about to happen (you don’t want anyone to find out how old your floorboards look underneath!). Once ripped up and torn into tiny pieces (size scraps don’t count) soak the pieces in water overnight so they keep their texture but become mushy enough to use as a sort of masking material over things like floors or wallpaper – making them part of the texture instead of a focused point of attention. It is important that you don’t dip the paper in water and then immediately try to put it on a surface (for example, your walls) to avoid wrinkling it up or having some of the paper fall off (this will happen regardless so don’t worry about it!). Always leave the paper to dry completely before adding it atop a surface, especially when applying directly over things like wallpaper or floorboards where you don’t want any wrinkles or creases getting in the way.
- Once dried, apply your masking material along with either glue from a pen or tape (carpet tape will stick easier but will be more noticeable). Make sure that you take care not to damage the texture underneath with excess masking materials. When using pens/pencils, make sure that you are using color-safe materials – some people have died from using sharp pencils… also never use old pens for this job! A good tip for doing this effectively is to lay down as many layers of masking material as you need so that they are not noticeable until gently lifted away with a finger.
- Once complete, use a hand sander or coarse grit sandpaper and finish the job by lightly sanding between applications of paint and glue that have been applied beforehand (you can also think about applying matching wallpaper at this stage so that floors stay clean but don’t hurt your eyes too much during their initial reapplication). And now you’re done!
Smashed Paper To Create A Haunted House Feel
- From a photo, cut out the shape of a monster and make sure you have a donor photo from which it was printed. Alternatively, you can replicate the monster’s shape by tracing around its design with a pencil. Add additional details such as spikes and blood-stained skin (using dabs of glue).
- Spray paint or print the image on glass using a color that complements your décor – ideally avoid using harsh shimmers or glo that may highlight the rough edges of the masking tape (however, you will note that I like to apply layers of glue over the top and then add an overcoat of acrylic paint).
- Once dry, peel off the masking tape carefully so as not to lose your artwork underneath (if it looks lumpy and uneven do not worry – this is normal!). If possible place it onto glass first before adding other materials so it is sealed in place and does not warp.
- Print out several images for windows onto photographic paper (include names for each window). With any luck there will be someone with scissors in the house who can cut out one frame from an old roll of photographic film with each frame having an eye lens to prevent cropping should they need to remove part of what they have printed! The ideal material would be fine-grain photographic paper bought specifically for this purpose however in some cases old scrapbook paper may suffice provided care is taken when peeling off the backing.
- Place a sheet of masking tape over the outline of the window shape and paint it in any color that complements your décor – preferably avoiding glo or shimmer. For example, if your powder room is silver and black you would want to paint this window silver as well so that it won’t clash with other décor items. Once dry apply acrylic paint over top and make sure it is sealed in place so it does not warp/loosen.
- If you have an old photo that has faded (or if you digitally remove unwanted elements), then it can be used for wallpaper. Alternatively, take a picture from an old photography book and create your design to add to windows; however, the key here is making sure that the printed picture looks like wallpaper therefore adding useful details such as text or borders must be considered before beginning:
If you want to paint your house black and make it look like a haunted house, this option is probably much easier and much less expensive than you might think. All you need to do is paint your walls black (or a dark color) and then add some creepy decorations to the walls. If you want to make your house look like it’s an old haunted house, you can use things like old books, paper, and even broken or old-fashioned furniture to make your house look aged. With either option, you can make your house look like a haunted house without spending a lot of money or without having to do a lot of work. However, with that being said, you can only do it for so long. If you want to make your house look like a haunted house for a few weeks before Halloween and then make it look normal again afterward, this option is great. However, if you want to make your house look like a haunted house all year round, the black paint option might be a better choice.