Frankenstein Bolts - for Nearly Free!




About: I'm an engineer. I problem solve all day, problem solve all night. I LOVE learning, and I love teaching what I learn. I want to post more, but time constraints stop me.

I already had a costume this year, but I was asked to make some bolts for a Frankenstein costume. Seeing as I'm obsessed with Halloween costumes, I figured I'd put some time into it.

It only takes about 1 hour, depending on how hard you work on it. It should be ready to wear in about 2 hours after the paint dries.

Disclaimer: it's all your fault. All of it.

Step 1: First, Drink Juice.

I realize this is counter-intuitive, but this is where the bolts will come from.

I had some bottles sitting in the recycling bin, and thought they looked like excellent bolts, since they have the screw threads on them already.

you will also need:

  • preferably from juice or non-carbonated bottles. The carbonated bottles have channels cut for releasing pressure and don't look quite right.
  • I used square playroom foam (that I'd bought for another project) Less than $1.00
Silver paint
  • How else are you going to make it look like metal? I had this laying around from my other instructables. Maybe 5.00 a can...
Coat hanger wire
  • I think everyone has some of this laying around. The thicker stuff is the best.


Hobby knife
Hot glue
Super glue (i.e. Cyanoacrylate)
Needlenose pliers
Plastic nippers. some pliers have nippers, this is probably Ok.

Step 2: Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut, I'm a Kniiiiiiiiiife, Cut Cut Cut

Sorry, obligatory space ghost comment.

Rinse and dry the bottles - no need to get juice residue on all your tools and hands.

Cut the plastic bottle's top off. Leave some of the thicker plastic on it still, we need that.

If you hold it so the mouth is facing downward, you can start to see the shape of the bolt.

Random fact;

the bottle is formed by blow-molding, the plastic tube before blow-molding is called a parison. The parison is placed in the mold, and hot air is blown into it, until it fits the shape of the mold.

Cut two of them. Frankenstein did have 2 bolts/electrodes on his neck, so far as I remember.

Now, for the cap

The cap will act as the cushion as well as retainer for the wire to hold the whole contraption to your neck. In case you can't tell from the pictures, we're going to make the equivalent of a set of over-the-head headphones that will pinch the sides of your neck.

Cut the center of the cap, cutting the threads and sidewall of the cap. We want just the center.

Again, do this 2x.

Step 3: Bolts Have Hexes on Them!

We need something that can be easily cut into hexes for the top of the bolt.

I had foam laying around, so I used that. You can feel free to use whatever you want. However, use common sense though since this end of the bolt is going to be farthest away from the attach point - weight is key!

Draw a hex

Do this anyway you like, I was lazy so I freehanded this, and it was going to be shown to kindergarteners.

They don't really care about perfect hexes, and neither did we. If you're anal, remember that it has 6 sides, 120 degrees between the sides, and the sides are all the same length. If you really don't care like I did, a piece of paper and eyeballing will work.

Cut the hex

I marked the cut points on the foam by poking holes with my pencil. I then used the scissors to cut a straight line between them.

I should say a "straight enough" line.

Mount the hex

Here's where I used the left over bit that we didn't cut all the way down - press this against the foam and twist. This lets us figure out where the bolt will touch the foam.

Using my hobby knife, I cut a groove/channel in this to let the plastic fit into the foam and sit flush. This gave me surface area to hot glue to.

Step 4: Paint!

Pretty simple.

Paint it!

Spray it!

Color it!

Step 5: Bend the Wire

Using a coat hanger wire, I bent the wire around my neck to find the ideal location for the plugs. I had a coat hanger with thicker than usual gauge wire and it worked extremely well.

For some reason the curve of wire ended up smaller than I'd imagined my neck to be. If yours feels small, it's probably not.

Make sure that everything is how you want it before you start the next step!! There's no going back after this!

Well, you could just make a new set. But you'd have to go buy more juice!

Cut the caps

Using the nippers, cut a small triangle on the cap, and a small triangle on the bolt. This will allow the wire to pass thru and loop around your neck.

Glue the whole thing together

Glue the cap to the hanger, and use super glue on the cap to the bolt.

After that, put it on and enjoy! you're finished!

You can figure out the make up yourself.

Step 6: Lessons Learned Discussion (optional)

I'd actually tried gluing these directly to my skin. I tested it by gluing a bottle cap to my skin for 4 hours.

I don't recommend gluing them. The glue might have toxins in them.

One other reason - it doesn't work!

The weight is too great to be held by glue, even spirit gum. Thus, I settled for the wire.

What's my point?

Please, if you experiment and something doesn't work, please write about it! I'd like to see instructables with ideas that have failed! What did you do to work around it?

Thanks for your attention.



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    16 Discussions


    Question 7 months ago on Introduction

    Can you use something else other than foam for the top?

    These are ao perfect! ! Mine turned out awesome! I did use a silver sharpie which took more time but looks great! Thank you so much for this!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Love your idea. Gonna make me some neck bolts next month. Glad I found this.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    this looks pretty cool. instead of buying silver paint for $5 you could get a silver Sharpie marker. they have them at corner stores. they are like $1.25/each. just a thought.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I had it left over from prev projects. Thing about investing in projects, is that you have the materials left over for future projects.. as long as you can save them.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Or you could just create these without the jumper band, and spirit glue them to your neck. (Did this with foam pieces cut to size for a certain 7 year old girl who wanted to be Frankie for Halloween a few years ago. Very lightweight, very realistic, and she didn't mind the spirit gum.)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    go with the adhesive known as "pros-aid" or prosthetic adhesive. you'll have better luck if you are adhering to a flat surface rather than the edges as well, so an internal disk of the foam will help and make for a less painful attachment. n.b. when you get pros-aid, BUY THE REMOVER WITH IT. i usually aim for ~4x by volume remover on hand to adhesives for makeup.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I like the coat-hanger idea better - the thought of a drunk party-goer pulling on these without glue remover sounds painful. Besides, it's easier to change in and out of.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Random nit: couldn't find "parisol": I thought they were usually called "preforms"; they make great test tubes

    To get glue to work, you have to make them much lighter, like all-styrofoam with some paint. Crazy glue is not particularly recomended; it works fine, but getting it off make take some skin too.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Doh! memory failed me - it's a "parison"! Duly noted. I've forgotten all these years. Thanks for the catch. Styrofoam wasn't available, as well as probably needed to be meticulously sculpted to look like bolts. PET bottles already have screw threads on them, so that takes out most of the work. Glue, almost 100% of the time, isn't healthy for you, and I can guarantee you that crazy glue is NOT a good idea, unless you want to get sick from acetone to cleanly remove it from your neck without making dual hickey-marks on your neck the next day.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    that is just amazing. its too bad i found this instructable after halloween


    11 years ago on Introduction

    sweet! I tried and tried and TRIED, to make "electrodes" this year, but failed, thanks! great job, quality work!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    As a nerd I'm obliged to say that they are electrodes, not bolts. Other than that, great instructable.