Make: Scrap Paper Ghost Art for Kids

Do you know what a ghost looks like? Well, here’s the secret that makes this naturally-lovely autumn art project eerily successful…NONE of us know for sure…! So the opportunities for imaginative interpretations are literally endless!

Our DIY scrap paper ghost art craft for kids hanging in front of a white background

By beginning with ghost illustrations that use the simplest of lines and shapes (a smudge, a scribble, a big inkblot, a big stamp, torn paper, etc.) and encourage free and loose marks, kids can focus on the emotive expressions of the ghosts.

Hand-drawn scrap paper ghosts sitting on an orange background.

This ghost art project is a great opportunity to investigate emotion in art and explore new or unconventional tools & methods to create them. And beyond that, a wonderful way to teach your kiddos how to incorporate scrap, recycled, and natural materials into their work.

In the mood to make more Halloween art? Try our paint potions art lab and 2D magic potion compositions or stamp a patch of potato and apple print jack-o-lanterns. Use our printable kit to design your own haunted house (these little ghosts would love to haunt the halls) or craft a stylish set of witch or warlock boots.

To make your own scrap paper ghost art you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • A piece of cardboard, cereal box, or heavy card stock
  • Scrap paper pieces
  • Mark-making materials
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Sticks and twigs for decoration
  • A hot glue gun
  • String, twine or a ribbon


  • Vine charcoal or charcoal pencils
  • Chalk
  • Soft pastels or oil pastels
  • A pencil eraser or kneaded eraser
  • Paint or watercolors
  • Simple stamps
  • Ink and an eyedropper, brush, or bamboo reed pen (like this)

Scrap Paper Ghost Art Instructions:

Tear assorted scrap paper pieces into small squares

Grab a few different colors of scrap paper and rip them into small squares (ours were about 2 inches by 2 or 3 inches).
Tear pieces of scrap paper into small squares. | via barley & birch
You can also experiment with using different textures (like paper bag scraps or homemade paper pieces) to add another interesting visual element to your ghost art!

Use different mediums to draw ghosts onto your paper scraps

Oh, the possibilities! You can use all different kinds of supplies to make simple shapes, scribbles, or smudges into ghosts.
Kids can explore mark-making, new art mediums and ways to draw with this fun scrap paper ghost art! | via barley & birch
Scroll down for a few specific techniques that we found work especially well for ghosts.

Arrange your ghosts on a piece of cardboard and glue

Pick a few of your favorite ghost illustrations (around 4-9) and arrange them on a piece of cardboard or heavy card stock.
Arrange and glue your scrap paper ghosts to the back of a cereal box or cardboard. | via barley & birch
We laid ours out in vertical and horizontal rows so that we could easily incorporate a few sticks and twigs to create “frames”. Use a glue stick or craft glue to affix your scrap paper ghosts to the cardboard.

Add decorative twigs and leaves with a hot glue gun

Use a hot glue gun to add sticks, twigs, or leaves to create natural autumn “framing” around each ghost.

Attach a piece of twine or ribbon to the back to hang

Using glue or tape, affix twine, string, or ribbon to the back to hang.

And just like that, you have a fun, handmade ode to October!

Need a few mark-making pointers? Here are some of our favorite methods of creating spooky, artful ghosts…

A hand-drawn scrap paper ghost sitting on a white background with Ink, a brush,  and a bamboo pen

Ink and a brush, bamboo pen, or similar will create great ink blots or sharp thin lines.

Working with younger kids or attempting to avoid a messy ink situation? Use liquid watercolors instead!

Charcoal, soft pastels, chalk, and an eraser make the loveliest, softest squiggles, scribbles, and smudges.

Our DIY scrap paper ghost art craft for kids hanging in front of an orange background

For another opportunity to explore mixed media with a Halloween theme, try making our bendable bats! Or shop our haunted picture frames and fill them with spooky hand-drawn ghost portraits!

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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