Monday, October 18, 2010

Tutorial: Tissue Paper Ghosts

I got it into my head this season that Halloween simply would not be Halloween this year, unless some glue and tissue paper were involved.


And so, I invited them to the party. This project was inspired by one I saw in a Martha Stewart magazine when I was in college. And…you know, when I say “inspired” I really mean that I saw it in Martha’s magazine, and then made it from memory using what I could find around the house, and NOW (ten years later), I’m really just stealing the Mod Podge, balloons and tissue paper from the party.


Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, let’s move on.



I had originally intended to make little balls that looked like mummies, using thin strips of white tissue paper. It…well, it didn’t work out that well, since mummies have arms and legs and a neck…and balloons have none of those things. I ended up giving my strips, and some truly tiny balloons, to my daughter to use.


I am simply too cheap to buy real Mod Podge, so I made my own. I found bottles of glue at the office supply store on clearance after all the Back to School sales were over. At only $.20 for a bottle, I figured that even if it didn’t work out, I still wasn’t out too much for my little experiment.


Luckily, a squirt of cheap Scholastic glue, with a few drops of water, makes a perfectly acceptable glue spread. (What do you call it if it isn’t real Mod Podge??!)


I decided to move on to ghosts. I used a 6” balloon, and sheets of white tissue paper, cut into three or four wide strips down the long side of the sheet. Paint the top and top sides of the balloon with your glue, and get to work. Lay a strip of paper onto the balloon, centering it on the top, and then paint again lightly with your glue to stick it down. Make sure that the edges are stuck, especially. For clarity’s sake, let’s say that strip is laying down 12-6, if it was a clock. Pick up your next strip of paper and lay it onto the balloon, perpendicular to the first strip , 3-9. Top that with a coat of glue, and lay your next strip down sort of 2-7, and top that with glue.


Keep going, alternating directions, until you have at least 2-3 complete layers of paper (about 9 wide strips). It does not take much glue….just enough to moisten the paper and stick it down.


Now go check on your kidlet. She’ll probably declare herself done. (I had her working over a piece of tin foil so that she wouldn’t get drips on the table.) Check out that masterpiece!


She made sure to tell me that the pink one is a girl ghost, and the blue one is a boy ghost. (We bought a few fish this weekend, and she’s sort of on a name/gender/setting up pretend families kick now. She hasn’t named her ghosts. Yet. But I’m sure she will in the morning!)



When the glue is all dry (which should happen overnight), carefully dip your finger into some black craft paint and give your ghosts eyes. Then, carefully pop the balloons with a small snip from your scissors. As the air comes out, the balloon should pull away from the tissue paper, leaving you with your ghost! (If it doesn’t pull away, tug it gently, and it should come unstuck.)  I currently have one of these guys set up on my mantle, but once this new flock is dry and eye’d, I might string them up and hang them from the chandelier by the front door. I’ll be sure to get pictures up when the ghosts are all set up!


How are you decorating for Halloween this year? Do you have any quick and or cheap crafts to share? Let us know in the comments!

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