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Tabletop Cheesecloth Ghost

By: Maureen Wilson

This cute ghost from Maureen Wilson makes a great Halloween centerpiece or outdoor decoration. Cheesecloth and starch allows this ghost to stand up on its own, like a real ghost! These Halloween craft ideas are great for beginners who only have a few minutes to spare.

Cheesecloth Ghost


  • Pack of cheesecloth
  • Empty 2-liter soda bottle
  • Styrofoam ball (4-6 in.)
  • Wire hanger or other heavy wire
  • Laundry spray starch
  • Self-adhesive black felt (or other fabric with glue dots)
  • Hairdryer
  • White acrylic paint (optional)



  1. You’ll need about a yard of cheesecloth. You can buy it in packages like this from the kitchenware section of the grocery store. I only used half of this package for this ghost. You’ll need some heavy spray starch. Plan to use about half a can for one ghost. You’ll need a styrofoam ball, between 4 and 6 inches in diameter. Make sure it’s the white styrofoam and not the green floral foam, because that will change shape when it gets damp. I found this two-pack at Wal-Mart. You’ll also need an empty 2-liter soda bottle. Then you’ll need some heavy craft wire -or- a wire hanger, and some black adhesive felt or another fabric with glue dots.
  2. If you’re using a wire hanger, begin by untwisting the hook. Then wrap the middle of the wire around the neck of the soda bottle several times. Shape the wire so that it curves down, then back up, to form the ghost’s arms. Loop the ends of the wire into circles for hands. You want the wire to be even in length on both sides about 12 inches.
  3. For the next steps, it’s helpful to fill the bottle with water to prevent it from tipping. Push a foam ball firmly onto the neck of the bottle. This will be used to form the ghost’s head.
  4. It’s a good idea to either take the ghost outside, or to lay down a piece of cardboard or a towel to protect your workspace, because it’s going to get wet. Unfold the cheesecloth and drape it over the ghost frame, draping it to follow the curves of the arms. Spread out the cloth along the bottom and thin it out where it’s bunched. You can trim off extra fabric that pools too thickly around the bottom.
  5. Spray the cloth thoroughly with starch. You want the cloth to be wet. Then use a hairdryer on hot to set the starch. It’s helpful to pull the fabric taut while drying. You’ll want to spray and dry the ghost twice more, or until the fabric is stiff enough to hold its shape on its own.
  6. I’m making a simple face for my ghost out of self-adhesive felt. You can use any scraps of black fabric with glue dots if you’d rather. Make sure the fabric is completely dry, then put the face on your ghost while he’s still sitting on the form to get the correct placement. If you’d like, you can add some sparkle to his eyes with a couple of dots of white acrylic paint. You can make a circle by dipping the blunt end of a pen or pencil into the paint, then pressing it onto the fabric.
  7. Then gently peel the ghost off the form. A properly starched ghost will stand up on its own. This cute little spook is ready for haunting!

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