Introduction: Life Size Glow in the Dark Cloth Ghost

About: I graduated from Cardonald College with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design in 1999. He has worked as a Tattoo Artist, Community Artist, and Freelance Artist ever since. I like making instructables that ev…

Hello Instructables!

For this instructable I am revisiting a project I did 4 years ago but has always wanted to attempt it life size but never had the space.

Well now I do.


Full disclosure, I had to make some adjustments on the fly but will obviously share the changes I made. I would recommend reading through this whole instructable before deciding if you want to try this (But i know you already want to)



Pva glue - I used roughly a litre here, not the two photographed but how much you use will depend on the size of your cloth

Glow in the dark spray-paint

Clear coat spray

A piece of white cotton or other natural material big enough to cover the mannequin with plenty of excess. I used a double bed sheet but in hind sight would have liked to use something bigger.

Cling film.


Optional extras: Fishing line and lollipop sticks if you want to making it flaot/hang


A Mannequin

a clean ground sheet (mines wasnt clean and bits stuck to the ghost)

A tub to mix your glue and cloth in.

something to help prop up the arms (I used light stands but broom handles would also work.

Scissors/craft knife.

A warmish room to let it dry in.

Step 1: Prep Your Mannequin/area

Quite simple, lay out your ground sheet and get your mannequin into the desired pose.

Tape the supports in place if needed.

Wrap the whole thing in clingfilm

BONUS FEATURE: You also freak out fellow studio residents as they come in to find a body wrapped in clingfilm

Step 2: Coating the Cloth

Dump out your glue into a large vessel, as mentioned earlier I used about a litre.

Dunk your cloth into the glue and let it soak for a bit.

WARNING! From here on out it gets messy.

Remove the cloth and squeeze off as much excess glue as possible. This also helps ensure the cloth is evenly coated.

Googly eyes added to increase freak out factor in fellow studio residents.

Step 3: Drape It

Drape your cloth over the doll, sculpting it over the limbs.

The more creases and folds you add help create more rigid up-rights and reinforces the structure. The glue will help it hold the creases. as mentioned before I used a double bed sheet and in hindsight would have liked to use something bigger. Not that I wasn't happy with the final result, I just believe it would have given me more to play with in terms of structure.

The important thing here is to make sure your material forms a good base for your ghost so you might want to save the bulk for there

Leave it to dry.

Step 4: Demould the Mannequin

Once the cloth has dried remove the mannequin. This can be quite tricky and you may require some help but the cloth is still pliable which helps.

This is also where I ran into some drying difficulties. Due to the ambient temperature in the studio and concrete floor (which is cold) the base of the ghost wasn't drying. To counter this I tried raising the whole thing off the floor/using a heat gun but this was a slow process.

In the end I ended up increasing the height of the stand which i was now using instead of the mannequin so the base maintained its bulk but hung straight down. This had a great bonus effect of increasing the height of the ghost so it actually looms higher that me (I'm about 5.6). It did become narrower though but you will see that in the next step

Step 5: All Dried Out and Ready to Glow

Now that it was dry I gave it a coat of glow in the dark paint and several coats of clear coat to help with the rigidity.

Looking back I would have like to give it another couple of coats of glow in the dark paint but I ran out (I got a bit overzealous using it on the smaller ghosts I had made to refresh my memory prior to this). That's not to say I might not still go back and do so at a later date.

I also ended up bringing the draped sections at the front together. with the creases and the folds it seemed to help keep the "arms" splayed out

Step 6: Finished!!!

Aaaand there you are!

Additionally I tried making it float by using fishing line fed through a hole in the hood and anchored by a couple of lollipop sticks stuck together. It works well but I prefer it free standing

It's still a pretty simple project with the longest part still being the drying time.

I would also note that I would be hesitant to have this as an outdoor prop without a lot more sealant (like several cans more).

A big THANK YOU to Jo D'arc for the loan of the mannequin

4 years ago I said "i dont think this technique would work with a full scale mannequin but would love to try it and find out" well I did and it does.

Well once again I hope you enjoyed this instructable and as always thoughts/comments/criticisms and even pictures of your own Cloth ghosts are welcome in the comments below :)

Happy Halloween!

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