Paperclay ghosts

Paperclay ghosts

In my last house, this buffet was upstairs and only got a few little decorations. In this house it’s front and center so I needed to do better. Once I rearranged the decorations I had to fit the new place, I realized that I was seriously lacking something for this spot that brought in a little height. So I had myself a little brainstorm, and came up with this little ghost family.

Ghost supplies
I got three foam cones measuring 15″, 9″, and 6″, and a bunch of paperclay. I only ended up using two bricks for all three ghosts.

Paperclay ghost, Step 1
Start by covering each cone with a thin layer of the paperclay, spreading it into the pockets in the foam to get good adherence. When that layer is dry, add another one as necessary to cover the foam texture.

Paperclay ghost, Step 2
You don’t have to be a sculptor to make the head. I just took a ball of paperclay that looked proportional to the size of the cone I was working with, and squeezed it in my hand. The ridges of your fingers make a naturally cool ghost head shape. Just smooth things out a little, make the top of the head a little pointier, and you’ll have just the right look.

Paperclay ghost, Step 3
Place your ghost head on top of the cone, and stick it down with more paperclay, smoothing things out as you go. You can also add a little more paperclay around the neck to avoid such a rigid cone shape, or add a whole lot more paperclay if you want to give your ghost some curves.

Paperclay ghost, Step 4
I pressed my fingertips into the clay to make spots for the eyes, and this had the added effect of pushing some clay up to make cheekbones. Let them dry at least overnight.

Paperclay ghost, Step 5
One of the best features of paperclay is that you can sand it when it’s dry. So give your ghosts a good thorough sanding to smooth out the texture and to make the head a little less lumpy.

Paperclay ghost, Step 6
You can paint your whole ghost if you want to, but I loved the color of the clay so I just left it alone. I painted on a simple happy face with acrylic paint, but I used chalk to make the cheeks. I remember my mom using her makeup on craft projects as a kid, so I bet you could use actual blush to get the same effect.

Paperclay ghost, Step 7
Cut a piece of cheesecloth big enough to cover the ghost. Pick up the very top and snip out the very center. A small cut is all you need.

Paperclay ghost, Step 8
Pull the cheesecloth over the head and glue it around the neck with whatever white glue is handy.

Paperclay ghost, Step 9
Tie a little black ribbon around the neck, and your little ghost family is complete.

Paperclay ghosts on buffet
I love Halloween, but it’s hard to decorate for with small children. Things are so gorey and scary, or else they’re so completely juvenile I’d make my house look like a preschool. I think these manage to be cute and stylish at the same time. And they add great height.