How to make a ghost out of packing tape and trash bags (video below)
In this super easy tutorial we will learn how to make a ghost out of clear trash bags and clear packing tape. The translucency of the bags and tape make this ghost look more ethereal and resembles an apparition or other spiritual entity. In this particular project, I will not use arms or legs and we will get more of a feminine figure in a long dress or gown. I, however, urge you to feel free and let your creativity run wild. You can make arms and legs as well and pose the “ghost” in any way you want. I say, go for it, go wild!
Now with video! CLICK HERE
Materials and Tools:
Body form (or volunteer)
We’ll start with the body first and then follow with the head. For this step place a trash bag over the body form. If you are using a volunteer, make a hole for the head and arms and slip the bag over like a poncho.
Start applying tape to the more structural areas of the body so we can get a nice frame. Apply tape around the waist, around the neck and around the shoulders. Next run a few more strips of tape connecting these first pieces of tape. From the neck to the shoulder and a couple of pieces from the waist to the neck like a harness. Although we are using clear tape, I’ve done some lines blue tape so you can see where the first pieces of tape go.
Continue to cover the form with tape, alternating horizontal and vertical pieces until the whole body (area between the neck and waist and between the shoulders) is covered in tape.
To make the body stiffer and more durable, and also so that the wind and elements don’t distort the shape, apply a second layer of tape over the whole form. Depending on how stiff you want your ghost, repeat this step a few more times. Just remember that the more tape you apply, the stronger the ghost will be, but the less translucent it will become.
Using scissors (rounded tip are better so you don’t damage your body form, or your volunteer – be very careful) cut from the top of the neck down the back to the waist in a straight line (see black line above). Carefully remove the form and set aside, you’ll be joining this with the head later.
Cover the foam wig head with a trash bag (CAUTION! I do not recommend using another person for this step). Click on the wig head link to get one, they are cheap!
Apply packing tape around the neck (to hold the bag taut) and build a small frame by also taping around the head (like a headband) above the eyebrows (see blue tape above). Connect the two pieces of tape starting at the forehead and going up and over the head and all the way down to the back of the neck.
Gently apply the narrower gift wrapping tape to all the areas that need detail. Especially focus on the nose, mouth and eyes. The thinner tape contours better to the shape of the face and captures the details better. Do a couple of layers over these areas since wrapping tape is not as stiff as packing tape.
Using packing tape cover the rest of the face using horizontal and vertical applications. Be careful not to apply the tape of the fine details you just achieved in the previous step. Go ahead and apply a second (or even third) layer of tape for stiffness. Make sure to run tape all the way down the lower neck, towards the shoulders. We need some overlap so the body and head can more easily be joined.
Carefully cut the tape from the top/back of the head down to the neck (black line above). Gently remove the wig head.
Slide the whole head into the body and match the neck of the head to the neck of the body. Using tape join the two parts. Use a little bit of tape until you get the position you want. At this point apply two layers of taple along the seams that join the head to the body. Tape all seams closed.
Cut the bottom out of a couple of clear trash bags and tape to the waist of the ghost. This will make the ghost dress or gown. To make it more “flowy” cut strips from the bottom of the skirt. Pull them a little to make them curly, ragged and wavy. You can also add some cheese cloth or other light white fabric.
Using tape, make a tape loop and apply to the top of the head of the ghost. This loop will be used to hang the ghost. Using fishing line, tie a piece of nylon to the tape loop and your ghost is ready to hang.
The ghost can be lit up from the inside by putting a short strand of lights in a clear trash bag and hanging this bag from the inside of the ghost. The plug can be accessed from the bottom of the ghost, or through a small hole on top of the head of the ghost. For cool eerie movement, place an oscillating fan a few feet away from where the ghost is hanging. Turn the fan on low and let the breeze make the ghost sway.
Place the ghost hanging from the ceiling (as in the picture above) or from trees or other overhead structures. Another set up that is really cool is placing the ghost in front of a window and behind a sheer curtain. Illuminate the ghost from behind and use the fan method and you’ll have a really creepy entity dancing in your window. A veil or hair can be made from more trash bags or cheese cloth placed on the head and flowing to the shoulders.
An alternative to the trash bags is shrink wrap. Use this instead of the trash bag, as a first layer before applying the layers of tape.
And by popular request, here’s the video:
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