Several years ago during the Halloween season, I drove by a house that had spooky paper ghosts hanging from the rafters. Back then I didn’t have children; I didn’t really *do* Halloween. But the fun, floaty look of those ghosts stuck in my mind. When Halloween came around after Jack was born, I remembered the ghosts. I wanted to make them. But you know how life gets in the way sometimes? Yeah, that.
Fast-forward seven years. During the craziness of our recent move, I came across a pile of old towels. I had planned to cut them up for cleaning. Somehow the idea of the ghosts matched up in my mind with the towels. What a great stroke of luck—at that very moment, I was able to hold two thoughts in my head! And these quirky little “towel-o-ween” ghosts were born.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make two small ghosts from one towel. I also made two big ghosts; they each got their own towel. So I made one ghost for each family member. I’m thinking they’ll last for several Halloweens—maybe even until I go back to not really *doing* Halloween again. Which I will. (I like the wacky parts of Halloween, but not the spooky parts. I scare easily.)
Want to learn how to make ghosts from your old towels? C’mon! It sounds kind of weird, I know, but let me show you how—it’s easy!
Happy Towel–o–ween! tutorial
What you’ll need: A towel, a ruler, a marking pen (I used a yellow, washable Crayola marker), fabric-cutting scissors, a spoon, one 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. (You don’t need a squash. I just thought it made the ingredients look festive.)
Cut away any embellishments/special stitching from both short ends of the towel.
Fold the towel in half widthwise; cut along the fold to yield two smaller rectangles of the same size.
On one of the rectangles, mark 3 1/2" from one short edge; repeat on the opposite short edge. These will become the arms of the ghost.
Fold your 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" sheet of paper in half widthwise. (Or use anything around the house that fits that measurement, like your 2nd grader’s weekly reader from school.) Center the short edge of the paper in the center of the rectangle, along the same short edge where you made the marks for the ghost’s arms. Make marks at:
- the top edge, on either side of the paper
- 1" below the top edge, on either side of the paper
- the bottom of the paper, 1" away from either side of the paper
Cut out a rectangle shape from the top center edge, following the four dots you made. This will become the top of the ghost’s head. Now, connect the remaining dots you drew, curving them a bit as you go, to create the arm shapes.
Cut out the arm shapes.
At this point I decided I wanted the ghost’s head to be a little more curved and concave, so I dotted and cut the fabric on the head sides one more time. You can see the concave dots above, on the left.
For the eyes and mouth I wanted to have more of an oval shape than a circle shape. Couldn’t find anything oval to trace in the spice cabinet or the fridge. But ah, the silverware drawer! A common spoon did the trick. Trace the spoon onto your paper to the handle; remove the spoon and connect the lines together. Cut the shape out.
Lightly trace the oval shape on the head to create the eyes and mouth shapes. I used a pen, as it’ll let you get a little more detailed than a marker will.
(This is a creepy photo. Even though creepy is fitting for Halloween, apologies.)
To cut out the eyes and mouth, simply make a slit in the center of the shape, cut out to the edge, and then cut around the shape. Make sure to cut just outside the drawn lines so the pen marks are cut away, too.
To make the second ghost, lay the first ghost on top of the second rectangle shape. Trace the arms, head, eyes, and mouth, and cut out.
Second ghost is even easier than the first!
A quick note: If you used a washable marker and can see still see some markings when you're done, simply run those edges under water to erase them. Let your ghosts air dry before hanging.
The toughest part of this project isn’t making the ghosts—it’s hanging them. My ghosts are rigged up with thumbtacks, twine, and safety pins.
I love how they sway with the breeze.
Here’s a bit of swaying, see? Whooo-ooo-o-oo-ooo! (Trying to spell out the sound a ghost makes just then. Not very successful.)
Perhaps you can see a little more spooky swaying here.
Oooh. Spooky at night. But in a cute way.
BOO TO YOU!
As always, you can find more recycled/refashioned/revamped projects in my book, ReSew.
Thanks for dropping by. Happy Towel-o-ween!