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Plaster Hands




<p>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.)</p>


  • Alginate powder
  • 2 1/2-quart plastic container
  • Plaster of Paris powder
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape
  • 3/4- to 1-inch drill bit and Surform planer, if needed
  • Paintbrush
  • Black gouache


  1. Step 1


    Stir alginate with water in a 1-to-1 ratio, nearly filling the 2-quart container.

  2. Step 2

    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.

  3. Step 3

    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.

  4. Step 4


    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.

  5. Step 5

    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.

  6. Step 6

    Brush with gouache for a gray pallor; let dry, and arrange on a table.



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