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Decorative Tabletop Plaster Ghost

Make this fun phantom to decorate your home for Halloween.

Hanging ghost Halloween decoration.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

A few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Incandescent lightbulb
  • Disposable plastic water or juice bottle
  • Golf tees or scrap dowels
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Plastic mixing container
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Disposable gloves


  • Plaster of Paris, 4 lbs
  • Cheesecloth, 2 square yards
  • Weldless black chain (optional)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

Cut cheesecloth pieces.

Unfold the cheesecloth along its length but not width. From the folded cheesecloth, cut three or four pieces about 12 inches long and leave each piece folded along its width.

Step 2

Create a mold for the tabletop ghost.

Duct-tape a lightbulb to the top opening of a plastic bottle the height you want to make this ghost. Then insert golf tees or pieces of dowel into the sides of the bottle near the top to simulate arms. Wrap the bottle and lightbulb with plastic cling wrap.

Good to Know

You can lay down kraft paper to protect your work surface from plaster drips, but there’s the possibility some of the paper will stick to the bottom of the finished plaster ghost. To eliminate this problem, place the mold on plastic or waxed paper.

Step 3

Dip the cheesecloth in plaster

Mix about 2 cups of plaster of Paris according to the label directions and put on a pair of disposable gloves. Dip a square of the still-folded cheesecloth into the mixture and work it into the fabric. Squeeze out the excess.

Good to Know

Plan to work quickly once you mix the plaster. You have only about 10 minutes before it starts to set.

Step 4

Unfold the cheesecloth.

Unfold the cheesecloth, leaving as much plaster in the fabric as possible.

Step 5

Drape plaster-coated cheesecloth on the form.

Drape the cheesecloth over the top of the plastic-wrapped form and allow it to fan out on the work surface. Repeat for the other two strips of cheesecloth, overlapping them at the top and pressing the strips together gently along the sides. If you want the figure more solid, add a fourth strip of cheesecloth.

Good to Know

Avoid pressing the plaster around the underside of the lightbulb, making it impossible to remove later without breaking the glass.

Step 6

Form the edges of the ghost at the base.

Where the plastered cheesecloth rests on the work surface, push the edges of the fabric in slightly to form a defined edge. Trim off any surplus as needed. Allow the plaster to dry for an hour before lifting it free of the work surface.

Step 7

Carefully remove the mold from inside the ghost without damaging the lightbulb. If necessary, cut the base from the bottle to collapse it. The plastic wrap can be pulled free from the dry plaster.

Good to Know

Using the same plaster of Paris and cheesecloth technique, you can also build a hanging outdoor version of this spooky spirit.

Step 8

Looking like a deathly shroud, this ghostly decoration costs less than $10 to make from plaster. --Lowe’s Creative Ideas

As an added decoration for your plaster and cloth ghost, drape it with a narrow black chain.