Introduction: Phantom Tape Arms

About: Storyteller, Entertainer, Former Librarian...and he owns more than 1,500 neckties.

    Ever since I made my Instructable for Clear Tape Models, I tried to think of other ways to use the technique. I looked at a mirror, and I thought, What if I had an arm sticking out of that mirror? That was cool, until.....

    At my workplace, they decided to protect us from Covid-19 and each other, so they hung sheets of plastic between our desks, which couldn't all be used because they weren't socially distanced. Then I thought, What if I had a bunch of arms sticking out from the clear dividers? That was even cooler.


    This is pretty simple. You need:

    • clear packing tape (2-inch wide)
    • scissors
    • a willing victi.....model (You can even make the arms over your own arms, but it's easier to work with a volunteer).

    Step 1: Could You Give Me a Hand?

    Although we were on our break at work, staff that deal with the public wear masks and gloves for protection, which is why my model is gloved. For my Clear Tape Models Instructable, I used clear plastic wrap as my first layer. This time, I tried a different method.

    I started with a wrapping of clear packing tape around the volunteer's wrist, sticky-side out. Using the plastic wrap made the piece look cloudy. The 2-inch tape works best for larger areas .

    Step 2: Sticky Side Out, Then Sticky Side In

    To get finer details, cut strips of tape lengthwise. Continue applying the tape sticky-side out until the hand is completely covered. The sticky-side out layer makes getting tape stuck to body hair less likely.

    Once the first layer is finished, it is time to cover with tape sticky-side-in, Thinner strips and smaller pieces of tape help to get complete coverage. You can make extra layers before you start cutting.

    Scissors are safer than knives or scalpels for removing the tape. Start at the end of your taping, and carefully work the scissors between the tape and the skin.

    Step 3: Cut That Out!

    Make as few cuts as you can in the tape, because you will have to piece it all back together once it's off the skin. After the first cut, gently tug at the ends of the fingers. If you haven't taped it to yourself, it may easily come off your hand, If that doesn't work, try one or two secondary cuts to release the tape shell.

    Step 4: A Little More Tape

    Once you remove the tape shell from your hand, you need to put it back together. bring the cut edges back together. Use small (2-3 inches) pieces of tape over the seams of the cuts. put some of the pieces on the inside of the shell. Once the seams are sealed, you need to figure out where and how to stick it for that ghostly effect.

    Step 5: Show It!

    Where to Put Them

    Mirrors and windows are excellent places for these Phantom Arms. Where I work, arms sticking out of the plastic sheeting separating workstations proved to be very popular. Picture frames with glass or plastic protecting the artwork cry out to have ghostly hands emerging from them.

    How to Attach Them

    Stick small strips of tape on the outside of the limbs, with part of each strip extending beyond the arm-end. Bend the unattached end of the tape to make it easier to affix it to the surface of the glass or plastic.As each piece is placed , rub the tape ends to get the air outa and firm up the seal.

    Step 6: Thanks, and So Long!

    Once you have learned to make Phantom Tape Arms, you may want to create larger projects. Do it! Take after the work of Mark Jenkins ( and create ghostly dolls, see-through people, and more!

    This Instructable was made for the 2020 Halloween Contest. If you like it, VOTE! If you make your own ghostly body parts, post pictures in the I Made It section. Whatever you do, HAVE FUN!

    Step 7:

    Halloween Contest

    Participated in the
    Halloween Contest