Those wiggling, groping appendages at the end of your arms seem to have a life of their own, and the sight of other people's hands causes you to break out in a sweat. On Halloween, consider taking your fear in hand and making five-fingered candleholders and tabletop decorations. These are made of plaster and get a ghoulish gray cast from a brush with black gouache.

Updated July 29, 2019

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.)

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What you need

Materials
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How to do it

Step 1

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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