Kbatz Kraft: A Gothic Gallery How-To

Ever wanted to create a spooky gothic gallery wall but held back over fears of it looking terrible and wrecking your walls in the attempt? Kbatz is here to help you organize and assemble an affordably morose statement piece!

1. Pick a unifying theme. Look at what you have or conceptualize what you have in mind and how your frames and accessories go together. Make a list or drawing or digital template with photos of your intended space. Be it all black frames, all-round frames, bats everywhere, black and white portraits, horror movie posters, decorative shelving for spooky knickknacks, or in my case, a lenticular photo series – something in either subject, style, or structure must visually glue the collection together. Without a purpose to the series, the gallery can get messy or cluttered, feeling catch-all rather than eye-catching. These are pieces that you have accumulated over time to display, not just things that have been put on the wall as they happen. The gallery can’t be so busy that the eye has nowhere to relax. These lentiuclars are a common subject in dark frames anchoring the visual flow.

2. Although that doesn’t mean everything has to be the same. Once you have a foundation to follow, then you can shake up your gallery with some personality. I have dark frames – mostly black, but a few dark brown and some with metallic trims. The shapes and sizes also vary between larger plain portraits and smaller ornate frames with accessories between each. When you succeed in having a soothing overall scheme, adding a few spots of something similar but different within the cohesive theme gives the eye a place to focus. Rather than a mental puzzle, witty standouts let guests notice the entire thing as well as the special composition of the whole, and an usual sconce or accessories that match make for fun and inviting conversation pieces even if they are slightly scary objects!

3. Groupings maximize both the overall and the statements. Even in a series of commonalities, items hung and displayed without rhyme or reason can be overwhelming. Make sure the scale of your items matches the space and place sets within the series. You don’t want items that look too big for the wall or pieces so small they are ignored. However, a lot of small together can make one grouping to balance a solo large accessory. Hanging like items together or creating invisible lines among the frames – such as making sure the tops or bottoms of frames are level across the wall – trick the mind into pleasing organization even if artwork is scattered high or low as in a stairwell for example. My gallery has three or four items in groups with a break between the vignettes so one can take in a section, visually rest, continue the set, and let the eye flow with the larger traffic pattern into the room.

4. Practice your layout. What if that painting should be higher or your straight row of accessories ends up crooked? You can’t wreck your walls with a lot of unsightly holes as well as making more work for yourself with the subsequent touch-ups and corrections – especially if you are a renter or can’t fix the paint. Physically test your vision by tracing the shapes of your items on newspaper or another handy scrap like cardboard or packing paper and use these placeholders to adjust your arrangement. Find out what pieces don’t fit, which go together, and what to place where. Be sure you have enough space and start in the center rather than an outside end. You don’t want to run out of room! When you are ready to hang your gallery, make sure you have the right tools on hand – the proper wall anchors for heavy medieval armor, adhesive strips for smaller frames, the right size nails for your structure. Hammers and levels go a long way, too!

5. Galleries don’t have to be expensive to look great. Black frames can be pricey or tough to find, so I had to find smaller frames from the dollar store, old fashioned thrift pictures for under five dollars, and unused frames from family members spray-painted black or touched up with dark acrylics. Consider your style and project time in what your budget allows and remember to calculate any tools or supply costs. Maybe you can buy all new matching frames or can have a special piece custom framed. If you are artistic or in no rush, you can browse thrift stores or yard sales for some alternative do it yourself materials. You aren’t being cheap by being resourceful – you decide where to compromise your vision or hold out for the style you want in accordance with what’s affordable to you. A formal family portrait gallery in my stairwell cost forty dollars, but my lenticulars cost less than ten and they certainly make people take notice!

These days many may not have the extra space or means for elaborate artwork, formal accessories, or large focal point displays. However, by carefully assembling a spooky wall gallery with themed, affordable finds and an eye for detail, any dark heart can find a blank spot to make your own.

Revisit more Gothic Crafts:

Decorating Like Dark Shadows

DIY Flower Pens

Re-Purposed Black Topiaries

For more Step by Step Gallery Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook

Frightening Flix meets Kbatz Krafts: Decorating Like Dark Shadows!

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz details the inspirations, budget, logistics, and compromises in outfitting a basement studio with a Dark Shadows theme. From carpet and painting to walls and storage, come along for the pros and cons of taking on a redecoration during a pandemic lockdown.

 

 

 

Next Kbatz defines the vintage seating and multipurpose work zones in the re-envisioned Dark Shadows inspired basement studio – complete with maximizing spaces, aesthetic heating options, and craft organization tips. There’s also a not so intrusive cat and one pesky basement pole.

 

 

It’s heaps of orange for the Dark Shadows inspired basement with unique furniture, thrift finds, pumpkin crafts, retro refreshed lamps, and textile accessories as the studio starts coming together into a cohesive room despite bugs, ugly fluorescent lighting, and the struggle to stay motivated in difficult times.

 

Stay tuned for the finished results!

 

For More Kbatz Krafts as well as Frightening Flix, revisit:

DIY Cardboard Tombstones

Dark Shadows Video Review

Dracula (2020)

For more Project Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook  and  thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our video, podcast, and media coverage!

Kidnapping Blog: Sewing The Strange by Selah Janel

halogokidnappednotdateSewing the Strange

by Selah Janel

heartpurseI’ve always loved making stuff, and I’m lucky that that’s translated into a career for me. I’ve done a lot of different type of costume work through the years: theatre, opera, event work, amusement park, business commissions, photo shoots, wardrobe, stitching, designing, and consulting. I love a challenge, but I also have noticed that although I can do a bit of everything, I really thrive when it comes to weird stuff.

I don’t know if it’s that I’m just more open to it or if I’ve learned that I get more opportunities by seriously looking at things that aren’t just pretty dresses or historical stuff. I’m not a costume snob by any means, and I suppose this eventually turned into me creating weird pseudo-stuffed animal creatures, circus freaks, and rocker-goth fairy tale wolves on stilts.

Welcome to my world.

I’ve done a lot of haunted events, and a lot of the experimentation that comes from working on a budget has led to making myself a lot of weird stuff through the years. Because I can, and it’s fun to bring out during the holidays when the family asks what I’ve been up to.

So what do I make when I’m bored and want to break out of the mold? Heh.skin change purse

A few years ago I built a Renaissance-ish dress that had a bodice and arm garters made from mask latex over fabric to simulate human skin (for that girly touch). Since then, I’ve been experimenting with the technique (when to paint, at what stage to sew, how to add on parts and get texture), and since I don’t necessarily need a closet full of Leatherface’s family-friendly clothing line, I’ve mostly limited myself to accessories. I tend to use these when I’m going to cons, sitting on horror panels, and want an interesting trip to the grocery store.

prom queen

Although sometimes a girl needs a little something more…admittedly I need to add a prom queen banner and find a makeup artist willing to work with me to really make this one pop, but I love the dichotomy of the princess-ish prom dress, the clean top, and the unnerving skirt. Plus, hi, every gal on a night out needs a handbag.

puppet girl

I feel the need every so often to try to top myself, and this project involved bringing in a friend to get it done in time. It took both of us pouring in the work to get it done in time for a convention, and I still have things I want to add to it. I love the trope of evil children, and I’ve played with questionable imaginary friends in some of my written work, so it was fun to bring that to life with a somewhat stylized Victorian twist. The demon’s name is Martin and I need to rework his arms to be more bendable/attach to my wrists for some control, because static as they are, they tend to grab people’s butts and that’s just really hard to explain when you’re just trying to walk down a hall.

strexpet

I also have a soft spot for plushies and stuffed animals, so when I went to see Welcome to Night Vale’s live show, I decided to make a Strex Pet for my very own. The challenge and awesome part was that the thing isn’t described very much in the podcast, and I didn’t want to take too much from fanart. It took fussing around with different shapes and animal combinations before I found something that I liked. I’ve also learned that I have some amazing friends who don’t think I’m weird when I say I wish I could give my Strex Pet teeth….they offer me their old Invisilines and challenge me to cast off of them, instead.

 

Through the years I’ve learned that you can do a lot with a little, and really the sky’s the limit as long as you know how to look at the materials around you. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to go for the unusual and see what people say when you pass them by.

 

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Selah Janel is a writer of the weird and the fantastic. Find out about her projects of all types at the following places:

Blog: http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel