Floating Glowing Ghosts




Introduction: Floating Glowing Ghosts

These ghosts are easy to make, and you won't ruin your bed sheets!

I re-used the motorized bicycle mechanism I made a couple of years ago to make the ghosts move.  If you want to do this too it makes it a more ambitious project but you will have the coolest Halloween display on the block!

Step 1: What You Need

To make the ghosts:
Large clear plastic jars with screw lids, for example a large peanut butter jar.  Suitable jars are shown in the photo.
White bedsheets, tablecloths, etc.
Battery powered LED puck lights (2 per ghost).  The ones I got at Dollarama are much brighter than the ones I got at another dollar store.
Black marker
Clear monofilament fishing line (I used the thickest, 40 lb test)
White string to tie the neck of the ghost.  You can use the fishing line instead, but it's harder to tie.
Washers, buttons, or beads (2 per ghost)
Drill, and a small drill bit (1/16")
Sharp knife

And if you want to build the bicycle mechanism, see my previous instructable.  Materials required for that are:
1 bicycle.  A 10-speed bicycle is best, so you can adjust the operating speed.
1 small electric motor.  The one I used came from an 8" floppy disk drive.  Any small motor from a hand-held power tool, fan, etc. will do.
Assorted scraps of wood.  Some pieces of 2x4 and a big piece of chipboard (counter-top material) are what I used. 
Small pulleys.  I used 7 of these in my setup..

Step 2: Prepare the Jars

Remove the labels from the jars.  If the jar has a paper label, soak the jar in water then scrape off the label.  Some jars have plastic labels these days, usually they just peel off cleanly.

Turn the jar upside down.  Using a black marker, draw a ghost face on each jar.

There are two options for hanging the ghost.  You can use two strings if you want the ghost to face one direction all the time, or if you want it to move up and down and sideways with the bicycle mechanism.  Or, you can use only one string, then the ghost will rotate in the wind, and will only be able to move straight up and down with the bicycle mechanism..  

For hanging with two lines, drill 2 small holes (about 1/16") in the bottom of each jar (on the top of the ghost's head, one hole above each "ear").  For hanging with one line, drill 1 small hole in the middle of the top of the head.

Step 3: Cover the Head

Place a white sheet or tablecloth over the head.  Tie a string around the neck of the jar to hold it in place.

Step 4: Attach Fishing Line

Use a sharp knife to cut the end of the fishing line at a sharp angle.  This creates a needle-like tip on the end of the line so you can poke it through the threads of the sheet.

Poke the fishing line through the sheet and through one of the holes in the jar at the top of the ghost's head.  

Pull the line down through the neck of the jar.  Tie a washer, button, or bead onto the end of the line.  Pull the line back up into the head of the ghost, the washer will stop the line from coming out.  Cut the line to the required length for your project.

Repeat for the other hole in the jar, if you made two holes.

Step 5: Install Lights

The LED puck lights have self-adhesive tape for mounting.  Peel the backing off the tape and stick one light to the top (outside) of the lid of the jar.  This light will illuminate the "body" of the ghost.  Place the other light inside the lid (you don't have to stick this one) and screw the lid on to the jar.  This light will illuminate the head of the ghost.  I had 4 brighter lights from Dollarama that I used in the heads, and I had 4 dimmer ones that I used to illuminate the bodies.

Step 6: Hang the Ghost

Now hang the ghost on your front porch or wherever you plan to place it.  That's it!  Turn on the lights when it gets dark (you will have to unscrew the lid of the jar to turn on and off the light inside the head.)

In my case I used the bicycle mechanism, so the fishing lines passed through pulleys at the top of my porch (see second photo for more detail).  I passed the fishing lines through an open window in the front of my house, to the bicycle mechanism inside.  The lines have enough slack that I can close the window when not in operation.  Each pedal of the bicycle has two lines attached, one going directly out the window and one going first through a pulley on the base of the bicycle stand (see pictures in my previous instructable.    Note that in the previous instructable, I had four levers mounted in front of the bicycle, this time I omitted the levers and ran the strings directly out the window, guided through screw hooks at the front of the bicycle stand.)  I attached the two lines from one ghost to one pedal (one directly, one through the pulley), and the two lines from another ghost to the other pedal.  A third ghost (the middle one) was connected with a single line to one of the pedals.  I also had a fourth small ghost just hanging by a single line above the heads of the trick-or-treaters, not connected to the bicycle.

Make It Glow

Participated in the
Make It Glow

Halloween Decorations Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Decorations Contest

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    Awesome! Making the ghost "heads" glow will make them that much more awesome and visible on Halloween!