Make a simple light-up ghost using a ping pong ball, an LED, and craft supplies. It’s a great, inexpensive Halloween craft for classrooms, clubs, and makerspaces. In addition to being a fun and creative project, it teaches the basics of how a circuit work as well.
- 5mm LED, any color
- 3v coin cell battery (CR2032 or CR2025)
- White ping pong ball (available at sporting goods store)
- Tape (I prefer duct tape)
- Glue (I prefer hot glue)
- Gauze/tissue paper
- Google eyes
If you don’t have access to LEDs and coin batteries, take a trip to your local dollar or discount store. You can “hack” an electric tealight for both parts.
For your ghost body, get creative. I used tissue paper and gauze, but you could try wax paper, plastic wrap, scrap fabric, tissues, napkins, coffee filters and many other materials that provide translucent, flowing coverage for your ghost.
To create a circuit you need a power source, conductive material that allows electricity to flow, and a load that is powered by the circuit. For this project our power source is the battery, the load is the LED, and the leads of the LED provide a path for the electricity to flow from the battery to the bulb of the LED. Combine these things correctly and you have a glowing light for your ghost.
For this circuit, the electricity must flow in the proper direction to make the LED work. An LED has two leads or legs. The longer lead is the positive lead; the shorter is negative. The battery also has a smooth positive (+) and a rough negative (-) side.
Slide the leads of the LED over the thin side of the battery so that the long lead is on the positive side and the short lead is on the negative side. The LED should begin to glow. If it doesn’t, you may have accidentally aligned the leads incorrectly, your LED may be damaged, or your battery may be dead.
Use duct tape to secure the LED to the battery, taking care to get good contact between the leads and the sides of the battery. Make sure the LED doesn’t wiggle much and that the bulb of the LED is secure against the side of the battery. If desired trim the tape.
Using your awl or screwdriver, gently punch a hole in the ping pong ball. Take care not to put the hole along the seam (if there is one) as this can crack the ball. Don’t push too hard as you make the hole, as that can crush the ball.
Use the awl or screwdriver to gently widen the hole until is just big enough for the bulb of the LED, about 5 mm. Gently push the bulb into the hole. If the LED stops glowing, check the connection between the leads and the battery. Use a bit of hot glue to secure the LED to the ball.
Orient your ball so that the battery is on the bottom, facing south. (Think of it as the “neck.”) Using the glue of your choice, layer paper or fabric over the ball to create the ghost’s body. Add eyes and a mouth as desired. Have fun with it!
When you are done, attach a loop of string to the back of the ghost’s head. Hang your ghost and enjoy its spooky, light-up beauty! If you use a fresh battery, it should say lit for at least 2 weeks, quite possibly longer.
Enjoy your ghost and make lots of them with friends. Each will be different and special.
If you enjoyed this project, please check out my book, The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. It has lots of maker and STEAM projects perfect for schools, clubs, scouts, camps, homeschoolers, libraries and more.