This is a project that I used to do with my 3rd grade students (ages 7-8) and it does require some assistance from an adult and can be challenging for some but the result is very nice. Most children 10 and up can manage it on their own. You will need to allow two days to complete this project.
Supplies needed to make the ghost:
A two liter bottle
A pair of large wiggle eyes
4 – 6 oz. Elmer’s glue
A piece of red felt
Two pieces of black felt
If you are working with young children it might be easier to buy witch’s hats at a craft store as they can be challenging to make.
You will also need the following items for this project:
A large bowl
Saran Wrap or tin foil
Large paper clips
If you are using an empty two liter bottle, you will need to fill it with water and put the cap on tight. (For those who are using full bottles, this project will make a mess of the label and plastic which may make the soda seem unappealing to look at.)
Take apart the coat hanger and straighten it out a bit. Using the pliers, bend the wire at the center, do this in such a way that you have a square or circle shape that can fit over the bottle cap. You will also want to curve the ends in with the pliers so they don’t poke through the cheesecloth. Place the wire over the bottle and bend the arms to your liking.
Blow up a balloon and tie it closed. Tape this to the top of your bottle. You will need several pieces of tape to keep it secure and may need to use small pieces of paper to keep the head upright. It should look like this:
First prepare a work surface that can be left undisturbed for at least 24 hours. To protect your surface, lay tin foil or Saran Wrap over the entire area. Place the bottle with hangar frame and balloon in the center of that space.
Cut off a piece of cheesecloth, approx. 4 ft. long. Unfold the cheesecloth until it is a single layer thick. There are many layers but when you are done the cheesecloth will be close to a square in shape.
Next, using the large bowl, Mix 4 – 6 ounces of glue with the same amount of water. Mix this very well and when it is completely mixed, place the cheesecloth into the glue mixture. Make sure to saturate all parts of the cheesecloth.
You will now gently pull the cheesecloth open completely. It should be back to its square shape. This is much easier to do if you have someone helping you but can be done by yourself if you gently shake and pull the cloth apart. Patience is recommended at this step.
Drape the wet cheesecloth over the balloon, over the arms and down the sides of the bottle. You will be pulling and stretching the cloth as you do this. The goal is to overlap any large open spaces and, very important, to gather the bottom close together so that it forms a good base. Overlapping open spaces will result in a stronger, more sturdy ghost that won’t fall over. Notice in the picture how the bottom is gathered together. Once you have the cheesecloth draped the way you want it you will leave it to dry completely. After 24 hours, check the base of the ghost, when that is dry you are ready to remove it from the bottle. This will be explained in step 7.
For the witch’s hat you will need to make 2 circles about 7 inches in diameter. I used a ball point pen to trace around a small bowl and then cut the circles out. One circle is for the base of the hat. The other circle will need to be cut into four equal parts. You will only use one part for the hat. (The rest will be used later to make the face.)
Roll the quarter circle into a cone shape, use a small amount of glue on the edge to keep it together. Use paperclips to hold the ends together until they have dried. When the cone has fully dried, make tiny 1/4 inch cuts around the base of the cone. Put a small amount of glue on each cut piece and then press the cone onto the felt circle you cut out earlier. Use paperclips to hold the pieces together while it is drying.
With the extra black felt, cut out ovals to go behind the wiggly-eyes. You can glue the wiggly-eyes on the black felt at this time. Cut eyebrows if you want them.
Using the red felt, cut out a mouth.
Make sure the base of the ghost is fully dry before you try to remove it from the bottle. Gently lift the cheesecloth off of the hanger and bottle.
Remove the balloon and see if your ghost will stand on its own. If yours falls down and won’t stay up you can try to repair this by spraying a little water at the base of the ghosts. This will soften the glue so that you can try to make a tighter, stronger base. You will need to let it completely dry before adding the final touches.
Glue on the eyes, eyebrows, mouth and hat. This is the basic ghost but it can be decorated to make it look more festive if you like. It makes a great holiday decoration for the table at parties. Although it was a bit challenging for my age group the kids would talk about how cool they were, year after year.