Most of you know how much my hubby loves science and how involved he is in science communication. Recently he landed his first radio show in an online radio station called RadioReboot, where he talks about science trivia and interesting stories while playing metal music. He also writes science articles in a science site called openscience. But his first big accomplishment in science communication was winning last years FameLab competition and traveling to England to represent Greece.
Famelab is a science communication competition where the contestants have to present a scientific subject of their liking to an audience and critiques in under 3 minutes time. They are not allowed to have any computer backup but they are allowed to have props.
So, my sweet darling husband, decided to talk about a Geological phenomenon that had taken mythological proportions in the past eons. He talked about Lernea Hydra, a mythological beast with 12 regenerative (!!!!) heads that Hercules killed, not before destroying and killing villages and villagers. He prepared a brilliant presentation but was in desperate need of a prop. So, he asked me to make him a monster. A Lernea Hydra monster!
My first reaction was to laugh! I am not a toy maker, I didn't even owned a sewing machine back then! I looked at him incredulous and asked him "Are you kidding me? How can I make you a prop that has 9 heads and once you cut one two new emerge? I am not Geppetto, love!". He just shrugged and said, "Well, since I am not married to Geppeto, I'll take what you can give me" and left the room.
I am not one to let a challenge die so I started thinking about a possible way to make this prop. I decided to make a dinosaur-like body with lizard-like heads that would be attached to Velcro and could be detached from the body. For the life of me I couldn't come up with a solution to have two new heads emerge for the cut one so my science torturer would have to live with that!
I took some green fabric from an old skirt ( I love to recycle!) and started to make the body. First I cut a long rectangular piece of fabric that started of at ~15cm width and ended at ~ 5cm width in order to make the body with the long tail. I sew that length wise to form a cylinder that ends to a tail. I didn't have a sewing machine at the time so it took some time to sew it by hand. Mind you this had to be really well sew cause my baby was going to be throwing it over his shoulder at some point so we didn't want the seams breaking open!
I filled the body with cotton and rice to make pliable and give it weight. It turned out great!
I really had no real plan as to what to do with the top of the monster's body so I just sew it the best I could and then added a little more fabric on top to hide the seams.
Then it was time to make the feet! I made 4 fabric pipes and cut 4 pieces of light brown leather and formed them into nails. I saw each nail into each foot and filled them with cotton. Then I added a piece of wire so I could bend the feet to make them more realistic. Lastly I attached the feet to the bottom of the body.
Making the 9 heads was tricky! I wanted them to be able to be attached to the body by Velcro so that when the time came Niko could pull them from the body and throw them down. He said he didn't have time to pull of 9 heads so I had to cluster them into groups.
I used another type of fabric for the heads. I made fabric pipes and then used hot glue to glue the horn/mane/things in their backs to make them look dinosaur-like. Using hot glue in this project seemed like a cheat but I honestly didn't have the strength to sew on 9 horn/mane/things!
I used a red fabric to make their tongues and plastic buttons for their eyes. Those were also hot glued thankfully for my hands! You should note that it took me almost 3 days to complete this project it was not easy!!!
At the end of each head I added some Velcro and then added it's opposite in the end of the monster's body.
It turned out better than I hoped for, my hubby was really pleased and he did very good in his final presentation. He didn't win the competition but he was brilliant and our little monster got many compliments!
You can watch his presentation to the FameLab International here.
Here is my hubby's blog (for Greek readers) and his Facebook page where he shares brilliant science knowledge!
Lernea Hydra has a special place in our house and an even more special in our heart. After that I begun to make more stuffed animals for my hubby and he uses them as props in his presentations. In another post I am going to show you how to make a Mike Wasovski from Monsters Inc! Stay tuned!