Ramblings of my work and other shabulous things!

Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY Yard Ghosts

DIY with Shabulous!

My Yard Ghosts!

I know that I've said it before and I will say it again- HALLOWEEN IS MY FAVORITE!  Every year we throw a huge party complete with costume contests, adult games, loud music, and devilish foods and potions! Decorating starts September 1st!  My mantle is my showcase and each year I try to come up with a different set-up (I will share that with you soon).  My yard however is sure to house a very special lawn ornament that I ALWAYS make myself.  Store-bought...shhhhmore-bought!  Not me!  I always try DIY!

So last year it was this scary guy.  I named him Carl.  The adults loved him and the children feared him!  But he was a nice guy, always smiling over your shoulder.  

This year, I've tried two different "yard ghosts".  The first one was inspired by some of the charming little Casper-esque yard ghost decorations in magazines and catalogues.  I took cues from them all to create the perfect giant yard ghost that is as equally friendly as it is sinister (photos and tutorial are below).  

The other type of yard ghost was a much more involved project.  It took me a few days to complete (many breaks and tons of frustration).  I saw a post on Pinterest labeled "Chicken Wire Yard Ghost".  That stopped me dead in my tracks and I thought I ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE THAT!  I ran a google search for chicken wire ghosts and these were the results I came up with.  


There weren't that many actually.  That is when I decided that I was going to top them all!  I bought my 3ftx18ft of chicken wire, grabbed my lady dress form and plugged away.  The tutorials that I found mentioned that it was easy.....they are so wrong.  It was quite difficult, painful, and tricky.  However, I did stop at nothing to make it as life-like as possible.  Call me an over-achiever.  I even gave it long flowing locks of hair and a dress train to "swish" up off the ground!  All in all, I had a wonderful time building this project.  I will share with you my photos below as well as instructions for yard ghost #1.  I have named him Henry.



Project difficulty: low to med
Time: 45 min
Cost: approximately $42
You will need:
-1 Happy helper (it's a two man job)
-Step ladder
-1 132" Round White Tablecloth- Find it here
-1 8ft tall rebar rod or wooden dowel (you may have to use a hack saw to cut down to size)- Find it here
-1 7-12" Foam ball- You can either use a floral ball which is here but smaller, or the cheaper version which I used- a kid's foam kickball- Find it here
-1-2 white kitchen bags and twist tie
-med-heavy gage wire
-8 yard stakes
-8 Alligator clips- Find it here
-1 Pair $1 store bought black socks
-Straight pins or hot glue (if you don't mind ruining it as a table cloth)
-Kitchen steak knife (serrated)
-Spotlight stake (optional)- Find it here

1. Decide the height at which you want your ghost to hover above the ground.  We did 7ft above ground with 1ft in the ground.  Cut pole to size.
2. With your serrated knife, gently push into center part of bottom side of foam ball.  twist slightly to make a snug hole.  Try to reach the center to ensure stability atop the pole.
3. On a step ladder, use hammer to tap rod down into ground.  If using a wooden dowel you may need to create hole prior to placement.
4.  Place foam ball atop pole.  Make sure it is a snug fit.
5.  Take two white bags and double them up.  Place over top of ball and twist tie below.  This will keep the elements and rain away from the ball so that it does not deteriorate.
6.  Find equidistant points along the outside perimeter of the table cloth.  Use your alligator clips at these points.
7. Using step ladder, toss table cloth over the top of the ball.
8.  Use the wire to thread through the ends or holes of the alligator clips.  Twist wire ends. Then pull to desired length outward from post.
9.  Use hammer to install yard stakes.  Wrap wire ends around these. Do this going from point to corresponding point across- to ensure equal placement.  I chose to have one side of the cloth a little bit higher than the other just to give it some depth and whimsy.
10. Take your socks and separate pair.  With scissors cut 5 inch long narrow tear drop shape (will make two because of tube-shaped sock).  Take the other sock and cut 1 long narrow tear drop shape approximately 7" long or length of the sock.  The longer mouth the creepier.
11. Use your straight pins or hot glue to affix the eyes and mouth.  I used the pins so that I can use the table cloth in the future.  Since it is white, I can just throw it in the wash with added bleach.  Also, the great thing with working with socks is that the shape will not be perfect.  In fact, the edges may be slightly frayed and you can actually pull on the fabric because of the elasticity.  You can shape it into as eerie a mouth as you want!
12.  Place your spotlight stake underneath center and route to power.
13.  Stand back and admire your larger than life awesome yard ghost!

HaPpY HaLLoWeEn!!!

Come visit my Etsy shop to see my chic custom lighting HERE!

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If you are interested in a tutorial of the "chicken wire ghost", you're going to have to speak up!  Share this post with your friends and family and let me hear from you!  Thanks for your support!