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Examples of dyed-edge Tissue Ghosts
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Halloween CraftsFriday Fun

Colorful Tissue Ghosts

What you will make:

Tissue ghosts are an easy, inexpensive way to decorate for Halloween. In this project, you'll see how to make a colorful version of the traditional tissue ghost by adding fading color accents. You can choose to make the ghosts from tissue paper or facial tissue, and then use water colors or markers to add color to the ghosts' trailing garments.

When made of tissue paper, these little ghosts are very lightweight and can stand on their own. Place them just about anywhere around your home or classroom to add an eerie Halloween feel.

This is a great group or classroom craft project. With a little help from adults or teenage leaders, even younger children can be successful.

Related craft: For more ideas on dyeing tissue paper, see the Tissue Paper Painting craft project.

Here's what you need:
  • White tissue paper or facial tissue
  • Watercolors or markers
  • Ribbon or yarn (black and orange)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent black marker
  • For measuring tissue paper: ruler and pencil
  • For watercolors: paintbrush, cup for water, and newspapers for drying
  • Optional: Fishing line, tacks

» » Basic Craft Box plus tissue, yarn, ribbon, watercolors, and permanent black marker. « «

This project is rated VERY EASY to do.

How to Make Colorful Tissue Ghosts

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project and gather the materials needed for creating the tissue ghosts. If you are doing this craft with a group, pre-cut the tissue paper and ribbon to make the crafting go faster. Each ghost requires two 8" to 9" pieces of tissue paper (or two facial tissues) and a 10" length of ribbon.

When using watercolors, the tissue paper will take a little while to dry. You may want to split the craft into two sessions to allow the paint to dry.

Step 2: Cut (optional)

If you are making the ghosts from tissue paper, cut two 8" to 9" squares for each ghost from white tissue paper.

Tip: For an easy way to cut precise squares from tissue paper, see Step 2 in the Easy Paper Snowflakes craft project.

Step 3: Paint Edges

Paint the edges of one tissue square for each ghost. To make it easier to apply paint (or markers) to the tissue edges, fold each square in half on the diagonal. Fold the resulting triangle in half again, and then in half another time. All of the cut edges of the square are together on one side of the final triangle. Paint (or color with a marker) along the length of the side with cut edges.

When using watercolor on tissue paper, dampen the edges first with clear water, using your paintbrush. This will allow the watercolor to bleed as you paint the edge. Dampen a 1"-wide band along the edge.

Carefully unfold the paper, gripping dry spots. Tissue paper is very fragile and will tear easily. Handle it as little as possible, and lay it on newspapers to dry. You may want to let it dry for five minutes before unfolding it fully.

Tip: It is not necessary to dampen facial tissue, as the paint will bleed naturally. In fact, you can just dip the facial tissue in a puddle of watercolor instead of painting the edges.

Step 4: Make Ghosts

Each ghost requires two squares of tissue, one painted and one plain, and a 10" length of ribbon or yarn. Wad up the plain tissue square into a ball and place it in the center of the colored square. Pull the corners up around the ball in the shape of a ghost. Tie ribbon or yarn around the ghost's neck. Fluff out the corners.

Draw a face on the ghost with a black permanent marker. Be creative!

Step 5: Display Ghosts

The tissue paper ghosts are very lightweight and can stand on their own. Place them just about anywhere around your home or classroom. You can also hang the ghosts anywhere you like, using fishing line or tacks. Simply tie the fishing line around the ghost's neck.

That's it! Your tissue ghosts are done!
Tissue ghosts with orange edges

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Thanks to...

Thanks to Brian M. for sharing the idea for making tissue ghosts with Aunt Annie's Craft Exchange in 1997.

Brian said, "Hang the ghosts from ceiling fan blades; in front of a swamp cooler; rig one to a door on a pulley system (so it comes down when you open the door); or just hang them from the ceiling."

Tissue ghost decorated with markers

Tip: When the tissue edges are colored with markers, the color doesn't bleed and results in a brighter and sharper edge.

Tissue ghost made with facial tissue

Tip: It's super easy to make tissue ghosts with two facial tissues. However, keep in mind that the ghost won't stand on its own and is heavier than the tissue paper version.

Blue tissue ghosts used to decorate a gift bag

Tip: Tissue paper ghosts can be used to decorate gift bags. Paint them with a color that coordinates with the tissue paper in the bag.

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