Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adding a Ghost to Your House

She's there. Unfortunately, she looks like a blur in the right-hand window of Pam's dollhouse. She's a proper Victorian lady standing sideways by the window.

When children visit, it's fun to challenge them to see if they can see the ghost. They usually find her after a little looking.

Since you're reading this blog, you obviously have access to a computer. If you have a colored printer and some overhead film compatible with your type of printer, (available at your nearest office supply store) you can create your own ghost! Here's how:

  1. Find a picture of a person that you like. It should be one that has a white background behind the individual and no added details. If you have software on your PC that allows you to crop out the background so that only your subject remains, use that to isolate your "ghost."
  2. Next, crop the picture so that it's in the same dimensions (roughly) as what you'll need for your window. Then save your ghost's picture in a place you can find easily such as your desktop or your miniatures file.
  3. Open a Microsoft Word document or a PowerPoint presentation - either works for this. Or if you have the fancy photo software I mentioned above, you probably can make this effect without having to use Word or PowerPoint.
  4. In the MS Word or PPT, click on view and select toolbars and make sure the drawing toolbar is activated.
  5. Draw a rectangle that's the same size of your window where you want to insert your ghost.
  6. Next, right click on this rectangle and select "Format Auto Shape."
  7. Select the tab marked "Colors and Lines."
  8. You will see three sections in this dialogue box: Fill, Lines, Arrows. In the "Fill" area click on the down arrow for color. You'll see many different colors, and near the bottom of this drop-down box, you'll see text that says, "Fill effects..." Click on it.
  9. You'll now see a new dialogue box with four tabs. Select the one marked "Picture."
  10. Click on the box that says, "Select Picture."
  11. Navigate to your ghost's picture and double click it. This should insert your picture into the box you have drawn. Then click OK in the dialogue box.
  12. You will have returned to the original dialogue box and you should see your picture in the box where you would ordinarily see a color. It will be badly distorted at this point, but don't worry about that.
  13. Underneath this box you'll see a slider bar and the word "Transparency." Simply slide the bar to the right until your picture becomes ghost-like.
  14. Since you'll use up a transparency page whether you print one photo or many, I suggest you copy the boxed picture and paste it several times onto the page, and then adjust the level of transparency to several percentages (10%, 15%, 20% and 25%) would be a good start. Then print the transparency.
  15. All you have to do is take your scissors, trim the ghost out of the transparency film and glue her to frame of the window (or just set her into the window). Voila! Your dollhouse is now a haunted mansion!

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