This DIY was created by “This Old House”: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/21019254/how-to-build-a-wire-ghost
for a creative Halloween decoration for your yard? This eerie “ghost”
is poised and ready to startle unsuspecting visitors.
Barely-there chicken wire
gives just the right ethereal look to a ghostly apparition. There’s a lot of
trial and error in the process of pinching and cinching the wire hexes to form
a life-like shape, but luckily this malleable medium can be easily reshaped as
you go. For this project, you’ll work from the top down, starting with the
pieces are cut from a 36-inch wide, 25-foot-long roll of chicken wire.
- Head and
shoulders: one at 36 inches by 36 inches
and thighs: one at 36 inches by cut to fit (circumference of the
shoulders, plus 3 inches)
arm: one at 12 inches by 36 inches
arm and calves: four at 12 inches by 18 inches
- Ax and
feet: three at 12 inches by 12 inches
How to Make a Ghost
Out of Chicken Wire in 9 Steps
1. Start by Forming
Center the wire piece over your wig form, bowl, or vase to form
the head. Using your hands, press and pinch the wire into a convex shape for
the top of the head.
As you work your way down, cinch the hexes more tightly and
permanently together where needed, using needle-nose pliers to crimp the wire.
Keep going until you’ve got a bell-shaped form that extends to just below the
2. Pinch the Wire to
Create the Chin, Neck, and Face
To form the chin, neck, and face, start by pinching the hexes to
form the pointy part of the chin. Use the wire snips as needed to clip the wire
in a curve roughly following the jawline, so that you can fold and overlap the
wire underneath to define the chin and neck.
For the back of the head and the nape of the neck, clip the wire
vertically and overlap the pieces slightly to form a seam to contour and narrow
this area. Continue shaping the wire with your fingers to form the nose, lips,
chin, and neck. You’ll now have a head and neck “emerging” from a
somewhat flat base of chicken wire.
3. Snip the Wire to
Create the Shoulders
With the head facing you, snip the wire on each side, where the
shoulders will go, to about 6 inches from the head.
Make the snips close to the corners of the hexes, which will
create longer prongs on the cut sides that can be used for attaching pieces
later. Overlap the flaps to form the shoulders and the top of the torso, and
secure them using the prongs of the cut wire.
4. Form the Torso and
Form the wire piece into a cylinder, overlapping the ends by
about 3 inches to make the torso and thighs. Attach this to the base of the
shoulders; snip the wire on the edges if needed to fasten the two pieces
Eyeball your ghost to decide where the waist should be, and
shape the wire by hand to form it. Create the thighs by snipping the wire
vertically in the center front and back, along the “inseam”; bend and
fasten each side into thighs.
5. Create and Shape
Form the arms one at a time. To create the straight left arm,
form the wire piece into a cylinder, as you did with the torso, but slightly
overlap the piece at an angle, so you’ll form a thicker upper arm and thinner
For the right bent arm, form a bigger cylinder with one piece
and a smaller one with the other; fasten them together at a roughly 120-degree
angle to form the elbow. Attach each arm to the torso; you may need to clip off
a bit of wire near the armpits to do this. With your fingers, contour the wire
to look more like arms, with elbows, wrists, and hands. (Bonus points if you
6. Make and Attach
the Lower Legs
To make the lower legs form cylinders from the wire pieces;
attach to the thighs at angles to form the knees. Angle the legs so it appears
that your ghost is out for a stroll.
7. Form the Feet
Form cylinders from the wire pieces to make the feet. Flatten
the cylinders slightly to make soles on the bottoms, and cinch closed one end
of each to form toes. Fasten the feet to the calves.
8. Make the Ax
To make the ax fold the wire piece in half so that it measures
12 inches by 6 inches. On the open side of the rectangle, cut out a portion of
wire measuring roughly 4 inches by 8 inches, leaving the remainder as an
ax-like shape. Overlap the wires along the seams to secure them and to firm up
the ax’s handle and blade. Attach the handle to the right hand of your ghost,
bending and contouring the hand as needed.
9. Display Your
Chicken Wire Ghost
Put the ghost on display. To help it stand upright, you may need
to attach it with rope or wire to a nearby tree, shrub, or part of your house.
Or hang the ghost from a tree limb, using several loops of heavy-duty fishing
line just taut enough so that its feet rest on the ground.
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