Last weekend we made a couple “ghosts” for the front yard. After posting a picture of the finished product on my personal Facebook page I had a lot of people asking me how it was done. We had all seen the posts online on Pinterest and various other websites, but none of the pictures linked to a tutorial. I am pretty sure that is because it is very difficult to explain how it’s done. I am going to try to give it my best shot to explain how we made ours and hopefully it helps out anyone who would like to make some “ghosts” for themselves.
A roll of chicken wire (the roll we had was 25’ long x 4′ wide)
Wire ties (we cut the long wire that secured our roll of chicken wire into small pieces and used that for ties)
A tape measure
A pair of gloves (essential if you have not worked with chicken wire before)
White spray paint (we used 2 cans)
Glow in the dark spray paint (we used 3 cans)
Another person to help (this was definitely a 2 person project)
Directions: (I will give it my best shot to make this understandable)
1.) Begin by unrolling about 6 feet of chicken wire. You will need two people for this. I started out doing this by myself and ended up having the chicken wire snap back at me and cut the back of my leg. You need two people to help unroll and flatten out the chicken wire. Once you have it rolled out to 6 feet have one person hold it down while the other cuts across the wire so you have one 6 foot piece.
2.) Next you will want to roll it the opposite direction it was rolled on the roll. This will help to make the piece as flat as possible so it won’t roll back on you and it makes it easier to work with once you begin sculpting the shape of your ghostly ladies.
3.) We began by taking our flattened piece of chicken wire and sculpting it around myself. This was the easiest way to begin getting the correct shape and proportions for the top portion of the “ghost”. Once the basic shape is there you can shape the bust and waist areas much easier.
4.) After we had the basic shape we shaped the bust area and then began to squeeze the chicken wire underneath closer together in order to shrink it into a small waistline. You will want to step back and take a look at the “ghost” at this time to make sure the waist looks long enough.
5.) Once you are satisfied with the top shape make sure to wrap the chicken wire around and secure with a few wire ties in the back. The back section of the top should be slightly lower than the top section (same as you would see with a strapless top or bustier).
6.) Once the back is tied you can begin to pull the chicken wire out and “fluff” it a bit at the waist area so it begins to look more ball gown like. This will be the beginnings of your skirt. We chose to have large ball gowns on our ladies. We wanted them to look like they came from another time period.
7.) At this point we had to add more chicken wire to the back in order to close the gap that is left there. For one of our ghosts we added 3’ and for the other we added 6’. You can see the difference in the skirts on the finished product.
8.) We used wire ties to tie the sides to each of the open sides of the skirt. We used the 4’ height so it lined up at the waist and then went to the ground and used the 6’ length around the skirt to create volume.
9.) Once we had everything tied together we began to shape the skirt. This is the part where you just play with it. Squeeze pieces together to create folds and pull pieces apart to add volume. We looked up pictures of ball gowns and wedding dresses on Google to mimic the folds of the skirts. You want to make the chicken wire look like folded fabric. Just play with it till you are satisfied with how the skirt looks. This is also the time where you will need 2 people to pull on the front and back of the dress at the same time to stretch out the bottom footprint and make sure the “ghost” is sitting flat and upright.
10.) Once you are satisfied with the shape of your “ghosts” it is time to paint.
11.) First you will want to spray paint them white. We put 2 coats of white paint on our ghosts. It is a little difficult to spray paint the chicken wire as the paint just goes everywhere since there is a lot of open space on these so do your best to get them covered well. We found it helps to stand a little further back. You may not think it is coating the sculpture, but it is and you will definitely notice it much more after the second coat of paint is on.
12.) Once the white paint has dried completely you can begin coating it with the glow in the dark spray paint. We ended up using 3 coats of the glow in the dark spray paint on ours. However, since the chicken wire is so thin the ghosts are not glowing as brightly as we had thought they would. It is still a nice effect and they turned out great, but if you would like them to glow a little more brightly you can light them up with a black light. We just changed the bulbs out on the lights in the front yard to black-light bulbs and it helps out to make them glow more at night. Another option would be a black-light flood light in the ground in front of them.
13.) Once you are satisfied with the glow on your ghosts you can coat them with a clear coat to better protect the glow in the dark paint you put on them. This is an optional step that is not necessary, but you can do if you like. It will help the glow in the dark paint to last longer than if you left if un-coated.
Now you are ready to display your ghostly figures in your yard. We used some stakes to secure ours in the ground and they will be haunting our yard each night. They look pretty ghostly during the day as well.