Tutorial: Making Ghosts and Dementors
Growing up I remember my Mom making ghosts that hung around our house from the ceiling. She used cheesecloth, drip and drape, and balloons. This year I wanted to make some for our home and share with you just how easy it is!
What you will need:
First cover your work surface with a trash bag or drop cloth. I chose my kitchen table because in order to do this you need somewhere to hang the ghosts while they dry and I was using my kitchen light fixture above the table.
Blow your balloons up to the size you want the head of the ghost to be. Then attach a 1-2 foot long string to the knot in the balloon. This string is so you can tie it up once you have your cheesecloth over the balloon. I wanted my ghosts to look like they were flying so I also attached 2 more strings to the knot that were about 3-4 feet long to pull back sections of the cheesecloth later in the process.
Next, I cut my cheesecloth into a square the size I wanted my ghost to be. You can lay the cheesecloth over the balloon to make sure you have the right length. When I had my squares ready I cut the finished edge off of the cheesecloth and shredded all of the edges.
Don’t be neat here the more ripped it is the better the effect!
I wanted to try a double layer on some of my ghosts so I cut 2 layers for those ghosts. I did make one of the layers shorter to give it more depth.
Once I had my cheesecloth ready I added approximately a cup of the fabric stiffener to a bowl with about 1/3 cup water. I mixed it together with my hands and took the first piece of cheesecloth and drenched it in the liquid. This part is kind of gross but just keep mushing the cheesecloth until it is all covered with the fabric stiffener. Then squeeze out the excess fabric stiffener and you will be left with a tight little ball. I carefully opened and stretched the cheesecloth out and draped it over the balloon with the cheesecloth laying over the knot. Then I pulled the knot of the balloon through the cheesecloth.
Once I had my layers over the balloons we tied the shorter string to a hanger and hung it on our chandelier. You really need to stretch the ends out and down at this point, it likes to stick and bunch together. Once we had the ends hanging completely down we took the longer strings and pulled back parts of the wet cheesecloth and tied the strings to chairs to give the effect that the ghosts were in motion.
We let them dry overnight to be sure they were really stiff. In the morning we popped our balloons and pulled the balloons and the strings out of the ghosts so that all we were left with was the cheesecloth form.
Then we hung them from our ceiling. I tried using fishing line at first but it was so thick it could be seen. I replaced the fishing line with invisible thread and loved it. Its impossible to see! I tacked them up and we had our ghosts!
Since we are doing a Harry Potter themed Halloween in our house I wanted to change my ghosts into Dementors! It took all of 5 minutes to do! I laid my ghosts on a drop cloth outside and sprayed them with a black spray paint. In fact I didn’t even cover up all of the white. Leaving some of the white showing made them spookier and gave them texture. I rehung them and Voila!
You can see our other Harry Potter decor and printables here.
Pam used the same technique to do these spider sacks.
One last project I wanted to debut that we did in our house this week was the ghost feet I have seen all over Pinterest. I love this idea! A cute Halloween decoration that’s also memorable! I know my boys will love seeing how much their feet have grown each year.
To make this I simply found a board at our local DI thrift store for $1, drilled holes in the corners, and spray painted it black. I had each of my boys step their footprint with white paint on their feet and then painted little eyes and mouths with black paint. I bought the ribbon 50% off for a whopping 85 cents. This cost me less that $2 to make! You don’t have to spend a lot to get cute and memorable decorations!