Making Doll "Ghosts" with Starched Linen

Once I saw the cutest little "ghosts" made out of white linen. The person told me they were put into laundry starch then formed over dolls in spooky poses (arms out like they were walking towards you). Very cute.


Well, I got my hands on some laundry starch (free at a garage sale) so I am ready to make them. Does anyone know what else this recipe needs (the secret formula to make them firm and stiff and scary)? Perhaps one can even make scary hands reaching out or mummy masks for a costume.

Thanks and Happy Haunted Halloween.

By Donna from Sterling, PA


October 27, 20090 found this helpful

I used to make ghosts out of cheese cloth and Aleene's Fabric Stiffener and Draping Liquid. I'm not sure if laundry starch would work the same way, but this is what I did (to the best of my memory).

I used balloons standing on vases for my forms. I laid a bit of plastic wrap over the balloons, to help keep the fabric from sticking to the balloons (don't know if this is necessary, but it's what I did). Sometimes I would want "arms." So I propped empty paper towel tubes to drape the fabric over for arms.

I feel like I watered down the fabric stiffener a little. Like maybe 2-3 parts stiffener to 1 part water. Put that in a resealable bag.

I cut out my cheese cloth, and checked to make sure I had a good size to drape over my balloon/vase form.

I'd put the cheese cloth into the zipper bag, and squish it all around to get it saturated with the fabric stiffener. Then I'd squeeze the excess out into the bag (just squeeze as pulling the fabric out). Then drape the fabric over the balloon form. If I wanted a free-standing ghost (like for a table top), I'd arrange the fabric so that would work, but if I wanted to hang it outside, I'd dip all but the edges of the fabric into the stiffener, so that the bottom would move in the breeze, rather than be stiff. I also found that I liked the look better if I did a couple layers of cheese cloth.

I think it took a few hours to dry completely. I'd use black felt and cut out eyes (and sometimes a mouth) and glue them on. They looked pretty cool hanging out on Halloween night.

I imagine you'd do something similar to this, but just place plastic wrap over your dolls to protect them. Sounds like a neat idea!

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