Picture of Halloween skeleton made of plastic shopping bags.
I wanted a life size skeleton for our Halloween display and my budget was $0.00 Plastic shopping bags, wire coat hangers and tape was the answer.

Materials needed.

About 20 or 30 white plastic shopping bags.
Two wire frame clothes hangers
Lots of clear tape. I used narrow tape but also used some wide packing tape.
Black permanent marker.
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Step 1: Making bones.

Picture of Making bones.
Spread out your shopping bag flat and roll it up into a long cylinder.

Here's a tip, if you have a problem with the company logo showing through the plastic like i did, try the method in picture number 4. Cut the bottom of the bag off. Re-flatten your bag with the writing on the lower side of the bag. This way when you roll it up, all the print is as far inside the cylinder as possible.

If you would like longer bones, use two bags overlapped for extra length, as shown in picture number 5.

You will need 4 arms bones and 4 leg bones, unless of course you are going for anatomically accurate.

Step 2: Shaping the skeleton bones

Picture of Shaping the skeleton bones
Use clear tape to keep the bags in a cylinder shape. Tape them about an inch or so from the end, and once in the middle.

Then use your fingers to spread apart the ends of the cylinders in order to make the ends of the bones.

Use a piece of tape to hold down the center of the end of the bone, and spread apart the plastic till you get the right shape. You can always add more tape till it stays the right shape.
lisavieja1 year ago
Well, it looks like I'm late to the skelly party, but I must tell you, CuriousTangles, that I adore what you came up with! I almost always find that imposing the "constraint"--in your case, the $0 budget--inspires the maker to greater problem-solving creativity. You have certainly proved this to be true. Great work! Thanks for posting.
CuriousTangles (author)  lisavieja1 year ago
thanks lisa. a 0$ budget certainly does lead to creativity, this is one of my fav projects though. i took Eboneezer out of the halloween box this year and he is just as good as "new" in spite of lots of rain and wind last year. he might need slight skull shaping surgery before tomorrow though!
So cute???... WE did ours today. Took us 3 hours. With a 7 Year Old ..... He had Fun, so did i.....
CuriousTangles (author)  binchen51771 year ago
so nice to hear you made one with your son - having a finished product is good, but just making something creative is most of the fun of halloween for our family.
Biffy621 year ago
Great way to use plastic bags.
Your skeleton is excellent, thanks for sharing your talent.
crtalkr1 year ago
Brilliant!!!! You are a person after my own heart!!!! Love it!
Wallpe1 year ago

Just Super Clever !
Terrific recycle project.
Nice job.
Disnarda1 year ago
Thank you! I wanted to put once in my front odor, and now I can do it and reuse some bags at the same time!
dunefox512 years ago
Wow Great idea!! Have to try this!
dunefox512 years ago
WOW ! Great Idea!
CuriousTangles (author) 3 years ago
Thank you all for your nice comments. I'm just putting away the last of the Halloween stuff and thought I'd share some pictures of how it all turned out. They are on my blog at Maybe you'll get some ideas and start planning next year already!
Very Creative! I love skellies! Nice job!
jnufkins3 years ago
Very Awesome, and easy enough to actually do.. thnx
Traymar3 years ago
SO creative and resourceful!! My kids and I love your skeleton, and, having the same size decorating budget that you have, this is perfect for us to try! So far we've done the arm and leg bones, the hands, and one foot. Thank you!!
CuriousTangles (author)  Traymar3 years ago
I'd love to see your completed skeleton. I'm considering doing another one myself, it would be cute to have one as Eboneezer's wife, but maybe just add a white dress instead of all the ribs and hips, and give her a pretty bow on her skull.
Yes, you should do a wife! That's a great idea! I've been sick with the flu, so our skeleton got stalled... however, we're back at work on it tonight, and we'll definitely post pictures of the finished product. Thanks again; we have thoroughly enjoyed planning and creating this! I can't wait to hang him up outside!!
sixsixzero3 years ago
I may add one or 2 of these to my monster house!
lkitts3 years ago
Love it! Great Job!
l8nite3 years ago
Love it ! Last year I made a newspaper skeleton from here in instructables and it turned out pretty cool but took FOREVER ! ok maybe 2 days.... This seems even easier ... did you miss me ? I just went and looked, I have a large bag of plastic bags but they are all different colors! comes from shopping at different stores I guess...shrug...wonder what a multicolored uncle bones would look like......
CuriousTangles (author)  l8nite3 years ago
I was going to do a newspaper skeleton at first, but I wanted something that would have a chance in the outdoors here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. This really didn't take all that long. I may go ahead and make a whole pile of bones as well to scatter about.

Perhaps you could check at one of the stores where they have white bags, there's often a bin out front for people to recycle their used ones. Our nearby shopping mall has a large 15 x 10 x 8 foot plexiglass cube that is filled with bags that people have brought back to recycle.

Glad you all like it. I quite enjoyed watching him out the window today, he came to life in the breeze.
kokoleo3 years ago
ChrysN3 years ago
That looks excellent, nicely done!
Kiteman3 years ago
Oh, this is excellent!

I'm going to tell all my Cubs about this...