Though not strictly based on descriptions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the original novel, the square-headed, green-skinned Frankenstein's monster of the 1931 movie is an iconic part of American horror tradition and is instantly recognizable.
A homemade Halloween decoration monster in this shape, lying still on a slab and waiting to be animated, will add a classic macabre touch to home Halloween decorating as well as to a Halloween party or amateur haunted houses, resulting in a very merry Frankenstein Halloween!
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Get your DIY Halloween journey started with this Frankenstein craft tutorial.
Things You'll Need
Empty duct tape roll
Large metal bolts
Rectangular wooden table
Large fitted men's black shirt, long-sleeved
Large black men's pants
Large black men's boots
Thick dishwashing gloves
Black permanent marker
Black duct tape or gaff tape
Making paper mache for Frankenstein’s monster
Combine flour and water
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time to 1 cup of hot tap water in a mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture briskly after each addition to remove lumps. Stir the flour and water mixture into the pot slowly when the water comes to a rolling boil. Blend thoroughly.
Cook the glue
Turn the heat down to medium but keep the pot boiling gently. Cook the glue for two or three minutes, stirring often. The mixture should be smooth in texture with the consistency of thick glue.
Cool the glue
Allow the glue to cool to room temperature before you try to use it on your papier mache Frankenstein project. You may thin it with a little hot water if it's too stiff to work with easily. Set this aside.
If you live in an area with high humidity, add a few tablespoons of salt to the glue to prevent mold from forming.
If the aroma of the finished glue offends you, add a few sprinkles of cinnamon or nutmeg to improve the smell. Frankie won't mind one way or the other.
Making the Frankenstein head
Shape the head
Inflate a balloon to roughly the size of a person's head. Wrap a strip of cardboard around the crown of the balloon (the thickest point) and affix it with masking tape; this will create the classic square head of the monster. Tape an empty duct tape roll to the bottom of the balloon over the nozzle. Tape a wide, U-shaped piece of cardboard with a thick bottom to the point where the bottom of the face would be to form the shape of a chin.
Apply the DIY papier mache
Coat the head in papier mache. Tear strips of newspaper, soak them in the glue and wrap them around the balloon shape. Stretch the strips across the ring of cardboard to make the box-shaped head and over the U piece for the chin. Use at least six full coats of papier mache strips. Let it dry in a ventilated area until it is hard and dry to the touch.
Paint the head
Paint the head. Apply two base coats of light green paint. Let it dry. Paint the top of the head black with ragged, triangular edges. Give the monster facial features, ears and a line of painted stitching across the forehead in black.
Glue on the neck bolts
Glue the large bolts to either side of the neck.
Making the DIY Frankenstein body
Stuff the clothes and boots
Lay out the clothes on the table and stuff them with newspaper. Wad the newspaper into balls to give the clothes a proper body shape. Stuff the boots up to the top. Use enough newspaper to make them fully stiff.
Make the hands
Make the monster's hands. Stuff two dishwashing gloves with wadded-up facial tissue. Paint the gloves with the same shade of green paint you used for the monster's head.
Dress Frankenstein in his Halloween costume
Pin the clothes and boots together. Stuff the hands inside the sleeves of the jacket.
Attach the head
Attach the head. Slide the neck of the papier-mache head into the neck of the shirt. Pin the head in place using thumbtacks, pressing them in from the outside through the clothing and into the papier mache. Color the heads of the tacks with black permanent marker.
Restrain the Frankenstein monster
Create restraints using long strips of black duct tape or gaff tape to strap the creature to the table. Stretch one strip across the monster's waist, one across the top of the head and one on each ankle and wrist.
- Family Cookbook Project: Papier Mache Glue Recipe
- How to Build It: How to Build a Life-Size Frankenstein for Your Yard
- YouTube: Midnight Crafts: DIY Frankenstein's Monster Halloween Display
- Easy Crafts for Kids: Halloween Frankenstein Craft
- The Guardian: How to Make a Monster – What's the Science Behind Shelley's Frankenstein?