Making Magical Moving Portraits

One of the things that Harry and his friends marvel at when they first arrive at Hogwarts are the painted portraits that appear to move and talk.  We wanted visitors to the Halloween house have a similar experience as they got their treats “inside Hogwarts.”

2016 Inside HogwartsTo achieve this, I decided to use monitors which played movies of the portraits that I would mount on a wall.  My work was selling off old monitors, so I got them at a really great price.  I was able to remove the monitor stands so that the monitors themselves were separate and able to be hung.

2016 Moving Portraits 01I made paper patterns of each monitor and put them up on the porch wall structure to test size and location.  Once I was satisfied with the positions, I set to work to mount the monitors.

2016 Moving Portraits 03Prior to hanging them, I needed to disassemble the stands so that I could have access to the mounting bracket.

2016 Moving Portraits 02Fortunately (and I am guessing they designed them this way) the mounting brackets actually fit on a 2X4, making the mounting of the monitors relatively pain free.

2016 Moving Portraits 04I hung the monitors, reinforced the porch wall structure (since it would bear more weight than usual) and even added one more “monitor”—a used Kindle.

2016 Moving Portraits 05From there, I cut out the “wall” from thin wood.  This had holes in it for each monitor.  I would later attach the picture frames to this wall.

2016 Moving Portraits 06Then the fun part—filming the moving portraits.  One of the portraits that we envisioned was a group of old-fashioned wizards sitting around a table. They would have ruff collars and pointed black hats with no rims.  Since we didn’t have these items, we made them!

To make the ruffs, we cut long strips of paper (about 13-16 ft long, about 2½ -3 in. wide), and folded them/accordion-style with a width of about 1½-2 in.  (We used a roll of children’s craft paper that we got from IKEA). Then we punched holes in the paper and threaded yarn (long enough to go around a person’s neck and tie) through them.

2016 Moving Portraits 082016 Moving Portraits 092016 Moving Portraits 10For the hats, we made a pattern out of paper and then traced that on large black paper to make several hats, taping them where they overlapped.
2016 Moving Portraits 112016 Moving Portraits 12We assembled our witches and wizards and began to film.

2016 Moving Portraits 07This was very fun.  There will be three other moving portraits. Come by the house to experience them!

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