BetsyBlueDragon -- Sustainable Art: feel the URGE! Upcycle, Recycle, Glean, Enjoy!


Demo: Frank-Ein-Stein (mashup of Frankenstein and Einstein)

Materials: 2 family-size saltine boxes, 2 sheets corrugated cardboard (~8x10"), 1-2 sheets brown paper, 1 sheet tissue paper, 2 TP rolls, enough shredded paper to fill a 5 gallon bucket, ~1 yard black yarn (plastic lacing would work too), 1 wooden dowel (~6" longer than head is wide), 1 giant tube beads, 2 ball ornaments, strapping tape, hot glue, silver paint marker, green and white paint, paint brush.

I was thinking about what big giant head masks to make next, wanting something that would be easily recognizable. First I thought of Frankenstein--boxy, green, with scars and electrodes. Next I thought of Einstein--wild hair, busy eyebraaws and mustache. Then it hit me--why not combine the two. So I did a concept drawing.

Basic head is made from two family-sized saltine boxes. Note: that cardboard was a little too flimsy--I had to reinforce it with corrugated cardboard in places. Lid was made separately and hinged at the back. The hair is made from shredded paper (old mail) glued individually, strip by strip. Crumple it by hand (after glueing) to get the desired fullness. The eyebrows and mustache are made from some microshredded crumpled paper that was packed around some nail polish I ordered.

Before painting the skin green, I used scraps of brown paper to add texture (like the bags under the eyes). I painted on the stitches at first, then went back and glued on pieces of yarn. I did have to brush modgepodge on over the yarn to keep it from unraveling. I painted the area above the scar black so it looks better when the lid is open.

I painted the inside of the lid with mottled greens and whites, then added quotes and equations from Einstein. I built the brain on a separate sheet of cardboard, sized to fit inside. Working from a photo of Einstein's brain (which was donated to science), I drew the pattern of the folds first. I used sections of TP rolls as supports for tissue paper molded into the brain shapes, Then covered that with brown paper for a firmer molded surface. Painted the brain in pinks (with lighter shades for highlighting) and painted the surrounding area black. I made a couple of ledges inside to support the brain--just cardboard and strapping tape. Padded the inside corners with bubble wrap to keep the mask from sliding around on my head.

I decided to put the electrodes on the temples instead of the neck for two reasons: they're more visible there, it makes more sense logically for them to be next to the brain. I realized people would be tempted to lift the mask by the electrodes, so I inserted a wooden dowel long enough to go through the entire head. On each side I put a large wooden tube bead from my old macrame supplies--had to pad the inside of the beads with cardboard scraps. Used a paint marker to color them silver, then inserted beveled silver Christmas ball ornaments in the ends.


contact: Betsy A. Riley,