Stretching Portrait Project

Probably one of the most recognized items from the Haunted Mansion is the stretching portraits. The originals were hand painted by Marc Davis. I have always wanted one, but the originals get auctioned off for quite a bit of money. (a little out of my league). I decided the next best thing would be to make my own!. Here is a picture of two of the originals and wood detail photo below that.

Haunted Mansion Stretching Portraits
Wood detail (Photo from

Total cost for each portrait is around $55. You may do better if you find some of the wood items on sale. Your parts list needed for this project are pretty easy to locate. You will need:

  • 4 corner blocks for each painting
  • Fluted casing for the sides, tops and bottoms
  • 4 printed portraits
  • Backer board material
  • As with any project, glues, paints, stains, etc.

Wood corner blocks
Corner blocks and fluted casing

I purchased all of the wood at one of the big box stores. I found the digital artwork for the 4 portraits on the web. You can find them too if you do a little searching. I then waited for Vista Print to have a sale and purchased each “painting” as a vinyl banner for approx. $15 each. (wait for the 50% off sales). I ordered the indoor vinyl with no edging and no grommets.

I then purchased some 1/4″ thick plywood and cut it slightly smaller than the finished project. This will act as the backer board. Then I can secure the portrait and wood corners and rails to the plywood.

Getting ready to trim excess side material
Cut away!

I used spray adhesive to secure the vinyl portrait to the backer board.

Glued to wood backer

I then cut and stained all of the wood and let it dry before assembly.

Don’t forget your gloves or you’ll be wearing the mahogany stain on your hands like a badge of honor.

I only used wood glue to secure the corners and fluted molding, no nails or staples. I used extra weights to keep everything flat.

Use weights to prevent bows and warping

Here’s the completed project. I still have the other 3 waiting to be started.

All 4 completed