We used a food-grade alginate, a water-based skin-safe molding powder, to cast hand molds. (Don't put your hands in the plaster of Paris; it can cause burns.)
Tools and Materials
Alginate powder, by Alja-Safe, from ;sculpt.com
2 1/2-quart plastic container
Plaster of Paris powder, by DAP, from truevalue.com
3/4- to 1-inch drill bit and Surform planer if needed
Plaster Hands How-To
- Stir alginate with water in a 1-to-1 ratio, nearly filling the 2 1/2-quart container.
- Position hand how you would like it to be cast (if you want the sculpture to function as a candleholder, hold a candle in your hand, keeping it straight; then carefully remove candle), and insert hand into alginate mixture. Hold still 3 to 5 minutes, until the mold is set.
- Pull hand out (this won’t affect the mold). Mix plaster of Paris according to package directions, and pour into mold to fill. Let set for several hours.
- Remove entire mold from container. Use craft knife to cut the mold in half neatly, and remove plaster hand. Set aside to dry completely (this may take a few days). You can reuse the same mold several times over the course of a day or so. Just reassemble the pieces, securing with masking tape, then put it back into the container. Stop using the mold once it dries out.
- If making a candleholder, you may need to widen the opening between fingers and thumb a bit with a drill bit, to accommodate the candle. If necessary, use Surform planer to smooth the surface.
- Brush with gouache for a gray pallor; let dry, and arrange on a table.