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Concrete Lighted Step-Spook

This warm weather lately has let me squeeze in one last concrete project; a Concrete Lighted Step-Spook using fabric draping. It opens a whole new dimension to this art-form. I also like to keep things manageable and somewhat portable so this little fellow can sit on your step and scare the bad ghosts away…


This is extremely low cost. Why throw it away when you can reuse it?!

Materials for the Concrete Lighted Step-Spook:

  • a large 2 litre plastic pop bottle (sealed and full of water)
  • Duct tape or packing tape
  • scissors
  • approximate 6″ sponge ball (dollar store)
  • paint mix stick
  • styrofoam meat tray
  • 2 small baby food jars
  • 2 longer thin juice jars
  • plastic sheeting or bags
  • fabric that will absorb concrete (towel or fleece)
  • Portland Cement
  • water, mixing container/utensil
  • cheap acrylic paint
  • basic flat paint brush
  • battery or solar powered light(s)

(this is the original design by


I substituted this fleece for the terry towel. I like the strength that polyester has and it has so much fuzziness to hold the concrete in the fibers.


The structure:

Time to put his body together. Position the sponge ball to the front of the bottle neck. Tape it up the back and around the front. This type of ball ensures that there won’t be any deflating or bursting. I really HATE when a ballon covered in concrete bursts! Choose one that is soft enough to cut up later. (ie, cheap dollar store)


Secure around the ‘head’ from the back.


The shoulders seemed too wide so I cut the paint stir stick a couple inches shorter.


It doesn’t need to be perfect, just shorter.


The small baby-food jars are meant to be the shoulders. Test how the proportion is.


Tape the jars on across the back. He’s taking shape quite nicely… For the upper legs/ thighs I used longer jars and a styrofoam meat tray to have something to anchor to that is easily cut.


To make it a bit more realistic I propped one leg up a bit with some plastic bag.


Secure the legs to the tray. The bottle has a fair bit of weight so it will stand on its own pretty well.


Look at him from all the directions to imagine his proportions.


Good job! Minimal expense. The flaps were an attempt to make hands, but could be eliminated.


Concrete Draping:

Now it’s time to go outside since it may get a bit messier…  Cover him in some plastic sheeting or bags.


Make sure the fabric is right with a dry fit. I used 3 pieces of fabric. One for the hood (about 14″ x 10″) legs (about 14 ” x 14″) jacket (16″ wide x 14″ tall) It is very forgivable so a bit larger won’t matter. Different fabric may need more for more draping as well. You want something where the cement can get into the fibres.


Put a couple scoops of portland cement in a bucket and slowly add water. Add a couple squirts of acrylic paint (I used white) but you could use whatever colour you prefer. Acrylic provides a binder for the concrete and has been known to add strength.


Mix it until its like a milkshake thickness. Make sure there are no lumps.


Put the hood fabric in the bucket first and knead it so that the cement gets into the fibres. It will take a fair amount of squishing. If it gets too dry add a touch of water. The fabric tends to suck the moisture out of the mix.


Plop it over the head and adjust the draping.


Do the same with the ‘pants’ and tuck at the sides. Make sure the pieces are well saturated.


Lastly the jacket goes on. Work it over the shoulders and around the front working the folds evenly. Tuck the ends on the ‘lap’ where the hands would be.


Amazing how easily it comes together. You can fuss wit the draping as much as you want.


The fuzziness of this fabric made it very rough. Very ‘mud-monster-like’! If you like it smoother you can brush down the texture. Once you are happy, give him a chance to rest and cure. Depending on the weather and temperature it could take 24 to 72 hours. I covered mine since it was quite cold here. You don’t want to rush it.


Hollow Out:

Finally… more fun. Now it’s time to pull the ‘guts’ out! Make sure this concrete step spook is sturdy and set enough and then flip him on his back. I left the front very open so that I could pull out the structure. I cut(stabbed) the bottle to empty it and started to disassemble the inside.


Cut the ball into wedges to pull out carefully. Cut at the tape, squish the bottle and twist out. Pull meat tray from the bottom.


Pull out his head… (hehehe)


There you go! He’s now body-less; a true SPOOK, a concrete lighted Step Spook!


Finishing touches:

You could be happily done or if you are like me, want to perfect the texture…. Mix up a bit of cement slurry with some acrylic paint and water.


I want this to last for years and this coating will reinforce any parts that are a bit ‘soft’.


Brush across the bumps and they will become filled with the cement.


It will get smoother and stronger.


There’s something oddly therapeutic about this… hmmm.


Wowsa, I’m impressed how much personality he has.


He sits nicely on the step as he was cast there. His weight keeps him sitting quite well.


To add light I just added a set of battery operated lights into the open body cavity. You could run a small light cord if that is close by or there is much room in there to possibly even add a candle when supervised.


I like the fact that he is portable and can sit anywhere. He weighs about 8 pounds I think.


Oh he is so spooky! And he will be able to withstand all the elements to protect your place year round! Check out his Witch friend, Cat friend and Scarecrow

(Intended for personal use only: Publishing of this design is prohibited without permission)

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 106 Comments

  1. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, as well as the content!

  2. Greetings I am so grateful I found your website, I really found you by error, while I was searching on Aol for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  3. I absolutely love this little guy! If it wasn’t 20 degrees and snowing out I would make him now. He is perfect. Thanks for such good instructions

    1. Doesn’t winter mess up the ‘concreting’?! It was almost too late when I made him. Note to self; next year start earlier! Maybe even some Christmas figures, hmmmm….

  4. Barb I love Halloween its my favorite Holiday and thanks for sharing this little guy I’m going to attempt to make one for my front yard

  5. Absolutely love this. Halloween is becoming more and more popular in the UK so will definitely be giving this one a try

    1. Thank you! It has been quite the hit with the younger crowd at halloween and a garden accessory the rest of the year. ‘Would love to see yours!

  6. Barb this is amazing! You’re such a creative artist! I absolutely love it as I’m obsessed with all things Halloween. Thanks for taking the time to publish this tutorial. 🙂

    1. Oh, you are too kind! I enjoy making things, especially out of castoffs. I must admit, this little fellow makes me smile even when he’s under the snow. More concrete projects to come…

    1. It is so much fun! There are ‘rapidset’ concrete mixes that set in an hour as well. But they have a very short working time of barely 10 minutes. I’m always in a hurry… ‘Would love to see how it turns out!

  7. I stumbled upon your pages quite by accident……love your work.

    This character is now on my ‘to do list’ I think he’s amazing….like some forest dweller from a fantasy novel. I can think of many places for him in my garden. Thank you for sharing your techniques. It is most generous.

    1. Oh, thanks! Yes he makes me smile when ever I see him sitting out on his rock in all sorts of weather! He was also a hit when I had him in a gallery for exhibition. I’d love to see yours when done!

  8. These are so awesome and I love them. They either strike me as scary like for Halloween or Mournful/Grieving. I am so glad to see such detailed instructions. I had some inquiries on my Facebook Group, so I have shared it there. And pinned. Awesome detailed instructions.

    1. Thanks! Yes, that little fellow has quite a personality. He’s sitting an a tree stump as I look out into the garden. Thanks for spreading the word! I have lots of concrete projects
      My projects are my original designs…

  9. youre amazing Barb!!! ive studied special fx and character makeup design since i was a 12 year old and ive never thought of casting cement mixtures for art projects!!! I love your site, you’ve opened my eyes to a new way of creation…Thank You!😊
    – Cheers,

    1. Thanks. Some things just happen by accident. I think it all started for me with my first cast of a rhubarb leaf! Now, I see ideas everywhere I turn… Fall is just around the corner so I have been mixing again…

  10. This is by far, the best handmade Halloween spook I have ever seen. I never have commented on any before now, but this is just too cool and I can not wait to try it. Looked at some of your other projects and you are totally awesome. You have a gift. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

    1. Wow, you are so kind! I have always had a knack for dreaming up ideas, so this site has allowed me to share. I think he makes me smile every time I see him sitting on the stump whether in rain or snow!

    2. Mary, I couldn’t agree, more! Most ‘spooky’ Halloween DIYs really just end up hokey looking. This one – even though I’m late to this party – is on my ‘to do’ list, for next week!

      Thanks, Barb! LOVE This!

      1. I have him sitting on a stump in my woodsy backyard year-round, and he never loses his charm even under a pile of snow. You would like this one too. She actually became a home to a bird nest this year. Happy making

  11. I have just found your blog/ website and am fascinated! I have been a house/ decorative painter for 43 yrs. And also married on Halloween….my husband and i work together so when i saw your “step spook” , i was hooked…..needless to say i will start smaller with your cement planters, which i love, and eventually work up to the Spook….. thank you for the inspiration to try something new and “permanent” !
    Best wishes, Pat

    1. Wow, that is interesting as I have been an illustrator most of my life. This just lets me learn new things and bring more into the artistic mix! There are times when my brain is just on fire with ideas, especially in the middle of the night.

      You must like the pumpkin then…

  12. I absolutely love this Halloween decoration! Many thanks for the detailed instructions on how to make him. Just finished him today and couldn’t be happier with the results. Love your blog!

    1. Wow, I am so happy that you made him! Mine sits on a stump in constant view from my table. Even better when the birds are sitting on him. I’m always dreaming up new unique ideas… Thanks

  13. I’ve made 4 of these so far…everyone loves them. The last one I added a book to his hands so he is “reading” and made a “gravestone” that says “EVEN GHOSTS READ” for our local library. They came out great. I would post a picture but don’t know how.
    I want to thank you for sharing your talent, especially with such clear instructions. I’ve made the SMILING ROCKS too. The last 2 are missing teeth. Wonderful fun. I was chuckling all days and texting pictures to my adult kids to have them guess what I was making. Haven’t laughed so much in years.
    Thanks again

    1. I’m so thrilled! I had mine in a gallery and he was quite the attention grabber. Funny, considering it’s just concrete. Laughter is good for the soul (concrete soul) I wish I had a few elves to get all the stuff done that I want in a day…

    1. He has been a joy to look at out in the garden, even when the birds sit on his shoulder or he is covered in snow! Pssst, he will have a partner soon… keep a look out!

  14. This is the Worst Blog ever…Let me explain.

    Since I stumbled across this I think I have been back here every day !!! LOL I can’t get enough of your concrete creations Barb they are wonderful. The Step Spook is AWESOME. I had been thinking about doing this for days now. Finally this morning went and bought come concrete and proceeded to give this a try. Supposed to rain and is chilly now so he has been relocated. So realistic and is a little creepy but love it so far. Ha ha I am sure he is confused about his “Time Out” in the garage until he cures up and is ready to protect the neighborhood.

    Thanks so much for the info and great instructions. You are an ARTIST.. Can’t wait to see your next one.

    Cheers !!

    Sheron fom Alberta, Canada

      1. Yes, yes, yes OMGosh !!!! I saw her last night Barb and she is adorable I have already destroyed a new deck mop for her hair LOL and my hubby gave me some wire. You know the rest of the story…right?
        Big Thanks

  15. Barb,
    I love the things you make. Your articles are so interesting and fun. I’m glad I found your blog. I love making thing from concrete.


    Hope the picture of my life size ghoul came through.
    Keep the blog going….LOVE IT!


  16. Yes, yes, yes OMGosh !!!! I saw her last night Barb and she is adorable I have already destroyed a new deck mop for her hair LOL and my hubby gave me some wire. You know the rest of the story…right?
    Big Thanks

  17. I LOVE this guy! LOVE LOVE LOVE him! I have a question…do you recommend the ball over the double balloon (that you used for his girlfriend) for the head shape?? Thanks, Sue

    1. Hmmm, cutting it out was a bit more of a chore but worth worked well. She had more on her head so she should have had a ball… It the ‘spook’ time double balloon did not don on me so I’d prob use it now. Stay tunes though… a new addition to the family is coming out soon!

    1. If all is good the fabric should be strong enough to not need any support. However depending how imbedded the parts are into the concrete it may make getting each piece out difficult. Using plastic or cardboard allows some cutting or pulling apart. He is quite hollow inside and no parts are visible under usual display.

  18. HI Barb,
    Thank you for sharing your amazing creative knowledge. We made a tiny spook (because we found a tiny ball as a head) and used burlap instead of the terry towel. It looks a little scary but mostly sweet. I’d be happy to e-mail you a picture to post on your website. (please let me know which e-mail address to e-mail it to)
    I would love to see you design and make a firepit.
    Your fan

    1. I’d love to see it! You can reply to my post email. I have thought of the firepit. I do tend not to just rehash other’s ideas though, I want mine to be original. My concreting outdoors is getting tougher in the late fall…

  19. We made 2 of these this year. We used an old woven blanket. The blant fringe hangs over the hood opening for a very creepy look. Getting the support items out have been the biggest hurdle. Once they are unmolded, I want to add a layer of concrete inside to stiffen them more. Do you use any sealer on these?

    1. I have not fond a need to apply a sealer. I see that all the people who have put sealers on their driveways keep having to redo them anyways… Being mostly vertical in nature is a real bonus for longevity.

  20. I have just come across your site ,via pin interest,. looked at a couple of items you have completed brilliant work very creative.
    I Live in the UK, now retired but have designed and constructed 9 Christmas grottoes for children’s charities for free.,mostly I have used a hot wire cutter[which I have made ]to shape the polystyrene to l,look like large ice blocks ,the children and adults love it .
    anyway well done you regards Robin

  21. Thank you Barb for greatst ideas/ Here in Serbia I saw only simplest forms of draped concrete
    Have a good day Glad to meet you
    Stef Belgrade Serbia

  22. Just discovered your site and am enthralled with your crafts and talents . Love your spooks ……all 3 of them . I think I might like to give this a try . I will be watching your site for more of your posts …….love this site !!!!!

  23. Great idea! I’m going to work on a full-sized replica in the spring. It will be a great addition to my backyard patio area when added to my landscape lighting design.

  24. So glad I “stumbled” onto your site. Love this project and several of your others. I’m new to concreting and have, of course, already made several mistakes. So it may be awhile before I start a spook. I was wondering if this requires portland cement or if FastSet All-Crete would work as well (the link is too long but if you Google those words, you’ll find it). Thanks so much for your help and inspiration!

    1. I am thinking the fastSet is like the Rapidset. I have tried it with cloth but the sand component tends to just sit on the surface or stay in the bucket. I use Portland as it gets into the fibres better. If you already have a mix you could do a practice test like I did here It also depends on the fabric, as a ‘nubbly’ one would hold more of the grit. It’s all like playing in the muck… good luck.

      1. I love your stuff you make, I’m make some creepy yard art myself. I’m wondering have you tried cheese cloth? I have used it with monster mudd but want to try with concrete.

  25. I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m very new to concrete work but since I’m retiring in about 4 days 😁😁, I plan to give it a shot. I’m going to enlist the help of my 12 year old grandson. He’ll love it and it’s time to get him started on crafting!

    1. Oh it’s totally doable, but the extra weight of the soaked fabric will require a really good structure! And the final weight may be a bit heavy. Happy making!

  26. YAY! I have been searching and searching for detailed information on how to do this fascinating form of artwork. I am thankful for how detailed your description has been! I’m so excited to try this out for myself. I know you posted this a long time ago, but your work is really cool and inspirational. I’m so excited. I saw a witch that you did as well that thought it was just amazing! You are an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for posting such detailed information. Warm regards. 🙂 – Kristy

  27. I have to say thats’s really cool. How easy was it to remove the jam jars, could you use plastic water bottles instead?

    1. The thin jars can stay in if not visible. Yes, plastic water bottles work too, or even cutting them. Just keep an eye on the proportions for a body like shape. I’ve seen these made from my site all over the place in various forms… Good luck!

  28. Barb I never seem to get the cement to water ratio correct. Always to dry and more water then to wet! Ugh

    1. You will probably get better at it, just like cooking. It also depends on the way the fabric absorbs the water. If the fabric is extra absorbent then dampening it will help from it ‘stealing’ the moisture. DOn’t despair!

  29. Hi Barb
    Wow the ghoul is so cool I made him two weeks ago and had some fun doing it. I live in Taupo New Zealand in the middle of the north island.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that! ‘Just as someone wrote to tell me that I have too many ads. Nice to think my ghoul has a ‘brother’ in New Zealand!! I have snow here, but am itching to get concreting! Thanks for the note!

  30. Love this project! I’m on my 3rd Step Spook now. Each one bigger than the previous. Easy to do with your great directions. I found that Polar Fleece is the perfect Dipping Cloth to drape this little guy with. Interesting finding too….birds will love this spook if you leave him out year round – twice now, I’ve had to “re-locate” birds which found his face to be the perfect space for a nest. Thanks Barb for your creativity and concise, clear directions!

  31. I am making this now and am using a 1.5 litre bottle and 5″ ball. The shoulders are narrow and the fabric is way to small. I had to make the jacket 14 x 28 for it to wrap around. It just barely made it. I’ll send a photo when completed. Fun making it. And easy.

    1. Oh really? Wow, maybe mine did stretch somewhat. I always do a dry-fit. If you want more creases then add more fabric, it can always be folded up or adjusted. When I made the Scarecrow, he had sleeves and pant legs… no rules. All’s good in concrete fun!

  32. Have you ever tried putting a small bowl of water in the cavity and plunking some dry ice in it? Could give a nice misty “spirit in the robe” effect, although dry ice doesn’t last particularly long to my knowledge and also needs to be handled with care to prevent freezer-burning your fingers. Maybe a fog machine could be connected behind the head with some tubing and it would sort of flow down the inside and over the legs, although if it was too heavy of a fog flow it might look like it was just pouring out of him (which still might look kind of neat) unless you built a hollow pedestal for him to sit on that the fog could continue to fall into and be funneled out the rear of the pedestal below or away via another piece of tubing. Might look great or it might just look like a spooky freezer that was left open…

    1. I think there are small room size ‘mist’ machines I’ve seen. That would really cool. I just like seeing him sitting on his stump during all seasons! He’s the same as he was when I made him. I like to hear peoples imagination!

      1. You inspired me to feat! I made it. This quarantine gave time to do something interesting! I have never seen such incredible work before !!! Thanks a lot!

  33. i can not wait until it gets a little warmer. i’ve been DYING to make these and already have my body forms ready to go!!

  34. I’ve been wanting to make this for several years and finally got around to it. I used a large bottle of drinking water to make him bigger and he looks great! I can’t wait until he dries!

  35. I am beyond excited to try this tomorrow. Since i stumbled upon your site a couple of weeks ago i have been experimenting and i cannot wait to give this one a go!

    I love everything of yours i have seen so far … loads of adoration from sask!

  36. I finally did it and I love my little spook. I wish I could show you a picture. But then it occurred to me, if I made another, slightly smaller and put a ring of lights on their heads, they could be Nativity figures …I guess I just need to wrap a bottle in cement bandages for baby jesus

    1. You are on a roll now! There is so many options! I was ‘dreaming up’ an angel! I just need about 40 hours a day! Now you too will be looking at every bottle/vessel/container as potential uses. Happy concreting!

  37. Can’t wait to try this, I think it looks fabulous and would look great with a little hanging plant in it. Can I ask if there is any reason you didn’t add a bottom to him? Maybe after it was set enough turning it over and adding some cloth over the base.

    1. Thanks! I don not as anywhere that will collect water will potentially freeze. I have never really missed that he is bottomless! He’s been doing great over all the seasons here in Canada.

  38. Hi Barb, I finally made one you being my inspiration, thank you for being so creative and also for all the information you gave us about cement concrete and all other materials, this is my first time working with cement. I still have a question, mine has on the surface small cracks, very fines like hair fine but still it makes me feel maybe will not stand the weather in my backyard. How to make a slurry to resurface it?

    1. You can mix a bit of portland cement to a thickness of paint. Maybe your concrete dried too quickly before curing. Hopefully the mix can be painted on and fill the cracks. Wet the old concrete first though. Let it cure slowly. Another issue may be that the cement shrank more than the fabric… not sure. I hope that helps.

  39. Hi Barb, I’m late to the party. Your work is fantastic! I have a question before I get started. The longer glasses used for the legs, do they get broken when gutting out the insides? Or can I reuse them?
    I look forward to sending you my final results!

    1. Hmmm, if the plastic keeps them from being lodged then they can come out. If they are too imbedded it probably isn’t a problem to leave them in as they are glass and don’t swell in moisture. Have fun!

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