Harry Potter Dementor DYI

The effort to make this life-size dementor is well worth it. Not only does it have outstanding realism and artistry; then for the look of horror on your husband's face when he pulls into the garage and sees it dangling from the ceiling.  

I didn't originate this craft, but followed the instructions in this video from the marvelous Becca Beach. She does a great job, but leaves out some important details. I made some mistakes and found a few tricks to make it easier. See my 'recipe' below! 


You'll Need:

1 styrofoam or plastic skull (lifesize)

1 pool noodle

1 roll duck tape (preferably black)

1 roll masking tape

25 feet 16 gauge steel wire

1 can black matte finish spray paint

1 bottle black acrylic paint

15 feet fishing line

5 packs of black "Halloween gauze" fabric (6'x30" wide) or cheese cloth 

5 feet of black light weight fabric or T-shirt

1 liter liquid starch (you'll actually use ~2 cups)

 paint brush

Hot glue gun + one 10" stick glue

Wire cutter tool


Additional tips and instructions:

  1. Follow Becca's video through building the shoulders. Instead of using one wire in the shoulders, cut 3 wires that are each 6-feet long and run them through the pool noodle shoulders (so the neck is in the middle of the wires). You'll use the 6-ft wires to build the arm bones and part of the fingers. It's much easier than trying to build the bones one-by-one and then attaching them. It's more durable too.

  2. When you get to the hands, cut two wires that are each about 18", fold in half for the remaining fingers and attach to the three wires. I had a hard time getting the proportion of the hands and fingers. It helped me to define the hand portion first. With the hand defined, I could better sculpt the fingers. I also didn't cut the finger wire until after I defined the hand portion (so I could more accurately gage length). 

  3. If you buy a white styrofoam skull, paint the entire thing with two coats of acrylic black paint (so there's no white showing). If you use spray paint it will eat away at the styrofoam. 

  4. Follow Becca's instructions until you get to the cheese cloth. This is the hardest part, imho. I drove to three stores and couldn't find cheese cloth so I bough this knit fabric and thought I could make it work. It was terrible –WAY too heavy and didn't have that airy look. I ended up pulling it off and starting over. 

    I eventually found black "Halloween gauze" from the Halloween section of Target. That worked MUCH better and I didn't have to dye it black. Dying white cheese cloth is certainly doable, but it made a big mess with black drips all over the garage floor and turned my hands grey for three days (even with latex gloves). 

  5. I had to construct a torso for the dementor so that I could hang it. I rolled a cardboard box around a stick that ran from its waist to neck under the black cloth. I attached fishing life around each end of the stick.

  6. I had a tough time getting my fabric to "flow" the way Becca's does. I cut the large pieces up to create more layers. To get that wind-swept look, I reserved a piece of black Halloween gauze to arrange on the dementor after it dried (for display). Since it wasn't drenched in liquid starch, I could create the swirls and wrinkles that make it look alive. 


Cost: $52 (I already had some of the items at home, so my cost was more like $30). 
Time: 10 hours
Difficulty: Medium
Environmental impact: minimal (I was able to reuse many items we had around the house. Also, this dementor will be sucking souls every Halloween and won't be thrown out).