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Making Hands

By Trisha

With the opening of the Puppet A Go Go show less than a month away and so many wonderful submissions rolling in, I felt it was time for me to get pro-active about thinking about display methods and executing them.

One of the first great suggestions I was given was making or some how acquiring model hands to use for the finger puppets. After doing a bit of brainstorming and a bit of research, I recruited the help of my pal Leah, who has experience in mold and cast making.

While it would have been fun to actually make molds of our hands, we went for the quick and dirty version – pouring plaster into disposable cleaning gloves. The gloves I had purchased (which I believe were Arm & Hammer) had a textured, almost fabric like interior, thus step one was turning them inside out to so that the “lining” would face outward and the plaster would be poured into the smooth more rubberized side of the glove. As an extra precaution, we covered the gloves in Vaseline before turning them inside out to ensure the glove would remove itself easily from the plaster hand.

Next we propped open the wrist part of the gloves with mason jar rims and needle point hoops. For the record, the rims from antique glass lidded jars worked best, so if you plan on doing this at home and have an old Crown jar lying around, that’s your best option. At this juncture we also took the time to figure out how to we would suspend the jars and came up with so pretty simple techniques of bending wire coat hangers and using a bungee cord.

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Having sorted that out we moved along to mixing the plaster. The traditional proportions are 2:1 plaster to water, but we found that mix a little thick for easy pouring into the gloves and opted for a slightly higher water ratio. We used 5 cups of water to 8 cups of plaster.

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Because the goal is to use these for finger puppet display, I wanted to splay the fingers out a bit, which was easy enough to do with a bit of cardboard as seen here:

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After that it was simply a matter of putting cut pieces of dowel in to the gloves like you would a popsicle so that later I can attach them easily to a base.

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Plaster of Paris sets up rather rapidly so it seemed like in no time (well about an hour) we were ready to (carefully) remove the gloves and test out their display potential.

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