CREEPY Self Portrait




About: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to explore all sorts of art making both in my teaching and in my own work...check out my s...

Make self portraits using B&W photography printing process and chemicals, Then enhance to create decorations to add to the Halloween festivities!

Step 1: Supplies

*B&W photographic chemicals (I like Silvergrain , they are eco-friendly) Developer, stop and fix, and develop. trays
*Photographic paper, You can get inexpensive paper on e-bay, it can be outdated. RC paper is the best, it dries nice and flat.
Aquaphor (or vaseline)
hair protector, bath cap or a t-shirt pulled over your hair

Then you will need art supplies of your choice to turn your photos into decorations

Step 2: Chemicals

mix chemicals according to directions on pkg.

Step 3: Aquaphor

cover hair and scoop out a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of Aquaphor or vaseline

Step 4: Apply to Face

rub the Aquaphor all over your face

Step 5:

Step 6: Photo Paper

press the photo paper onto your face, try not to mush it around too much.

Step 7:

try to press the paper onto your eyes eyelashes make a cool printed image. You can have your mouth open or closed when you press the paper on your lips.

Step 8: Develop the Image

Place the paper into the developer and watch the creepy face appear. 

Step 9:

Step 10:

When it is very dark and fully developed, place it into the stop bath solution

Step 11: More Prints

with that little bit of vaseline on your face you can probably make several more images.

Step 12:

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Step 15: Wash and Dry Prints

After the prints are thoroughly washed (I even use a little dish soap in the bath with the RC paper, it helps cut through the vaseline)
Dry the prints

Step 16: Trim Prints

When dry trim the faces out and use whatever materials you wish to create your Halloween Decorations using your creepy self portrait!

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Halloween Decorations Contest

Finalist in the
Halloween Decorations Contest



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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great, very creative.

    Check this out:


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable.
    I have some out of date photo paper that I found when clearing the loft I may give it a try.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck! (And as always Susan, simply awesome!)

    1 reply

    Creepy is the word!!!! I have a few candidates for this fun Halloweeny self portrait.....but I can't find the Halloween Coloring Book!!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is AWESOME! I really want to try this with my photo students. One question:
    When you press the photo paper to your face, do you do this in the darkroom, and then expose the paper to white light, or are you in the white light the whole time?

    1 reply

    No darkroom necessary..... That's the beauty of it, you can also use old exposed paper ( as long as it isn't too gray)
    Have fun, your kids are going to love it , but remember don't use too much Vaseline. If you do it blocks out too much information in your image


    6 years ago on Introduction

    These are awesome! I find the baby one creepiest, with the contrast of cutesy bright colours and the wierd face portrait. So creative! How did you come up with the idea for this technique?

    1 reply

    I'm glad you like it...I used to do quite a bit of B&W photography. Once, while working in the darkroom I started to notice that I was printing fingerprints on my photographs because of the hand lotion I was wearing. I got the idea to put lotion on my face and try to print it. Finally through trial and error I realized vaseline worked great. But not too much. If you use too much it blocks out too much information like lashes wrinkles etc.....
    Yes the baby is a bit creepy. I once did this as a project with my 5th grade, They were studying Egypt, We printed their faces and they used them in a Sarcophagus design.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    So creative! I really like that you've got a Jabba the Hut visage on "paper" but are quite the opposite in real life. The ghost in step 24 really rocks. It kind of has a hip hop feel. Sweet.
    Thanks for the show,