Monsters from Recycled Materials

Russell with fur fabric for his Halloween costume

My son with fur fabric for his Halloween monster costume

Found objects and recycled materials can be a great inspiration for monster sculptures. This week I facilitated a workshop with high school students who were studying Frankenstein. Their assignment was to make their own monster from recycled materials. I shared examples of monster sculptures made by many artists, and then the students toured five stations where they learned how to manipulate different types of recycled materials.

Five Stations Offered in Trashmagination’s Monster Making Workshop

  1. Take-apart – stuffed toys & electronics
  2. Plastic caps – drilling, making spines, sewing on a button
  3. Braiding and weaving plastic bags
  4. Ironing plastic bags with parchment paper
  5. Cutting plastic milk jugs

Sewing plastic cap "buttons" on cardboard - creative reuse station

Sewing plastic cap “buttons” on cardboard – creative reuse station


Braiding and weaving plastic bags - creative reuse learning station

Braiding and weaving plastic bags – creative reuse learning station


Fusing plastic bags - creative reuse learning station

Fusing plastic bags – creative reuse learning station


Plastic cap drilling - creative reuse learning station

Plastic cap drilling – creative reuse learning station


Milk jug prep - creative reuse learning station

Milk jug prep – creative reuse learning station

Artists Who Make Monster Sculptures from Recycled Materials

Lexy Ho-Tai makes monster costumes that are worn in performances and parades. She calls them the Kookers and they are from Kookerville. They are very colorful costumes. She often wraps fibers around long tubes which wrap around the body. She crochets plastic as well.

Callum Donovan Grujicich is 12 years old and his sculptures incorporate metal and other trash objects he finds. He uses a wire armature and clay to make the bodies and he hand-sews all the clothes.

Sandy Mastroni makes dolls with really big heads and zippers for mouths. Her work caught my attention because last week I did a podcast on what to do with broken zippers.

Florencia Salibián makes monster sculptures from plastic bottles which she called Guardadores Monstruosos or Monster Guardians. They look like a two-liter bottle which has a mouth cut out and then the whole thing is covered with papier-mache and painted in bright colors.

Jennifer Strunge is Cotton Monster and she sews her monsters from clothing she gets a thrift stores. She has sea monsters, space monsters and even just eye-balls.

Hiroshi Fuji makes dinosaur-like monsters from thousands of tiny plastic objects – I would guess mostly toys?

Hillary Goodwin has a family tradition where she makes a monster from a recycled stuffed animal or recycled clothing for her kids each birthday and Christmas.

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