Want to frighten off your trick-or-treating guests? Hang these DIY ghost lights onto some bare tree branches in the dark during Halloween to scare them and have fun 🙂
I have been playing with glue and gauze pads for a few days. I did a few experiments to check out which glue makes the best “gauze covered ping pong ball ghost lights”.
I found that PVA glue such as Mod Podge is the best among. PVA glue or white craft glue dries into a transparent rubbery texture so it gives a better hold for the gauze material and for the DIY ghost to withstand the humid air during a misty night. It can be hung outdoor under some shades to prevent direct heavy rain (make sure you’ve got the holiday lights for outdoor too).
At first, I thought laundry spray starch is sufficient to do the job. No, I was wrong, it didn’t work out even with the strongest hold. It can’t hold the ghost skirt in floating style and won’t stick on the ping pong ball. This probably due to the loosely woven structure of the gauze material, and also, I didn’t iron it.
Home-made corn starch glue is good but it is too crispy after drying and won’t be able to hold still under wet misty nights, it will “melt”. If you don’t have PVA glue and never think of putting the ghost lights outdoor, then corn starch glue will be an option.
The “flying ghost lights” in the background are done by a camera trick called “bokeh lights”. It involves a DSLR camera with a wide-open aperture lens and some black card stock to do it. Will make a separate tutorial on this later [update: please refer to this tutorial for bokeh light, substitute the template with a ghost]. Let’s concentrate on how to make this gauze/cheesecloth ghost light in this tutorial for now.
Happy decorating for the Halloween!!!
- Ping Pong Ball – 6
- Gauze pads [4″x4″, 8 ply] – 6 pcs. Or loose woven cheesecloth
- Mod Podge or any PVA white craft glue
- Holiday lights – single yellow color
- Permanent black marker
- Awl or craft knife
- Egg crate
- Masking Tape
- Clean empty container and spoon
- a. Get ready all the tools and materials on a table.
b. Unfold the 4″x4″ 8 ply gauze pad, it should measures around 8″x16″, fold it into half, i.e. 8″ x 8″. Repeat all the 6 pcs.
If you are using loosely woven cheesecloth, cut it into 16″x8″ size and fold into half too.
Don’t worry too much if the sizes are not exactly 8″ x 8″, it won’t affect the ghost look a lot.
- Make an approx. 1″ raised platform on the egg crate by rolling a piece of masking tape with the adhesive side facing out. Make 6.
- Use an awl to make a hole in the ping pong ball. If you ping pong ball has printed label, punch the hole there.
If your holiday light is not LED but small bulb type which is bigger, use a craft knife to make a cross-cut instead.
- a. Insert the light into the ping pong and it should be snuggle fit so that it is holding up there.
b. Remove all the lights from the ping pong balls.
- Draw some ghost facials and expressions on the ping pong balls.
It can be just any expression, angry, frightened, worried, happy, sad or even with Dracula look.
- Press and stick the ping pong balls on the raise masking tapes.
- Dilute about 2 to 3 tablespoons of Mod Podge or PVA craft glue to a runny consistency. Add a small amount of water at a time and stir well.
How runny? Something like melted ice cream.
- a. Dip the folded 8″ x 8″ gauze or cheesecloth into the runny glue.
The gauze must be fully dipped into the glue so that it gets all the glue on it.
b. Take out and squeeze out excessive dripping glue, still wet but not dripping.
c. Open up to 8″x8″ and cover the ping pong ball.
- Smooth out a few drops of glue on the top portion of the ping pong ball for better adhesion.
The opaque white glue will dry into a transparent clear surface, so don’t worry if it covers the markers.
- Repeat all six ghosts. Set them aside for at least 24 hours for drying.
While the glue is still wet, lift the bottom gauze to minimize the contact to the egg crate. You can place small pieces of wax paper or freezer paper or parchment paper facing upward to prevent them from sticking.
Insert the light bulbs or LED into the ghosts and hang up for Halloween. If the holes become too small for the LED light to get in after covering up with the gauze, use the awl or knife to enlarge it.