Picture of DIY Climbing Hand Holds
Eastern Mountain SportsThere are plans all over the internet on how to build your own indoor climbing wall like over at Eastern Mountain Sports. But there's only a few well documented ways to make your own holds and well buying them can be expensive! Plus it's more fun to make your own unique holds that no one actually makes giving you new challenges to your own wall.

I would like to thank my buddy Dave for first showing this to me and taking the photos.

There is all sorts of ways to make handholds from wood to bondo to silicone with fiberglass resin and while they all work none of them work well without lots of time lotss of practice and a ton of money spent in materials getting that practice time in.

The Bondo Fiberglass resin + sand yields the best results and is real close to commercial climbing holds you would buy in texture and feel. Silicone holds are extremely expensive to make, it will run you about $5+ to make a mold and then take a few hours to make then cover in silicone. To add insult to injury it will take a few days to dry and at that point you are ready to take a sledge hammer to the work you all ready did and head to the local climbing shop to buy holds.

Don't let my frustration as well as others fool you there is light at the end of the tunnel. What im about to show you is probably the easiest way to duplicate commercial holds or making your own free form holds without a "prototype".
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What is the best way to get a good texture if you do not have a professional hold to base the mold off of? I was thinking sandpaper would work, but it might be hard to reach certain areas in the mold.
Niidal made it!11 months ago

Here the first one! Very excited and it was from the first try :D

I was afraid that I would have mixed things. BUT! All went right and it was exciting.

Just going to make a lot of :D

rrangelo1 year ago

You can pick up professional (everything form shaping foam to plastic) supplies at CWS http://climbingholdsupply.com/

dannygam2 years ago
Where can I buy inexpensive clay in bulk?!
Mooch072 years ago
Nice! I might have to try this myself. On your rocks, did you notice any irregularities like bubbles or inconsistencies?
And are these as sturdy as the ones you might buy?
The main reason I'm interested is the ability to customize the holds to any shape. How much money do you save doing this?
Hawks_782 years ago
I found you can get a pre-made mug at www.cruxmugs.com.
switch55 years ago
is there maybe another name for this 'Fibreglass Resin Fixer'? I can't find anyplace to buy it on its own under that name... that includes Home Depot and Canadian Tire. thanks in advance.
camlrnz switch53 years ago
The hardener usually is included with the resin. It comes under the white cap that is on the 1 gal.
the home depot website didn't return any search results, so I would recommend just doing a google shopping search.
Typically, it's called "Resin hardener", or "Liquid Hardener". If you go to home depot in the paint department, you'll find the hardener right there with the Bondo Fiberglass resin.
mgalyean4 years ago
Wear gloves and an old long sleeve shirt in addition to eye protection. This stuff can cause some interesting skin reactions that can vary by individual. And its just a pain to get off. Use acetone for cleanup prior to it setting up. After it sets up only time and/or chipping work.
Does anyone know if you can coat your climbing wall with bondo resin? Sounds like that would be just as good as a spray-on concrete coating they use to make "real" rock walls. Your climbing wall would be one big hold, imagine the friction.
I am looking into creating wooden holds mainly, some of the advice on wooden holds is to use a glue and sand finish at the end.

This could potentially create the grip on the wall?
Z.Backas4 years ago
I feel like it would be cheaper to use drilled out nickels as your washers instead of 50 cent ones, about 45 cents cheaper.
It might not be the best though I guess, especially for something semi-crucial to your well being on the wall like that...
Very amusing comment. or quarters too, still cheaper
Depends on what kind of resin you got... Polyester,Epoxide,Urethane,Acrylic...

I assume polyester resin has been used here as it's cheapest and generally suitable for casting,laminating,fibreglass,pouring,hand lay up etc.

"hardener" is also called catalyst and for polyester resin its name is MEKP - MethylEthylKeton Peroxide, mixing ratio is usually 100:2 -100parts of poly resin and 2 parts of MEKP BY WEIGHT,this is important when mixing bigger batch ,I am using ratio of 100:1 - 100:5, 100:1 when working on hot day with pure resin /no fillers,no sand,no pigments/ 100:5 when working on cold day,resin filled with lot of pigments+fillers...
MEKP is strong oxidizer so please wear eye protection,it can cause instant blindness.
i made my holds out of clay and put %100 silicon all over them, now i have about 40 moulds. also im tryin out a new hard rubber resin called Polyurethane. hope it works nice. 
wingman3585 years ago
I gotta get back into climbing!

Polyester resins are very durable (good idea on your part!) but have you experienced any failures or breakages? I'd be worried about setting a bolt too shallow or in the wrong spot. Then again, that could make for a really challenging, albeit more realistic route!
LVLaserTech5 years ago
You can save the work of drilling the bolt hole later if you use an appropriately sized piece of plastic tube to stick up out of the washer and well above the top of the mold. You might have to slide a dowel inside it to keep it straight, but it's minimal effort.
Better yet, just put the bolt in with the point up and the head embedded in  the clay. Make sure you spray it with the WD40.
micha3l875 years ago
I can't find any stores that sell blocks of clay that large. everything here is in small packs and i twould take over 50 small packs to make that size block
Try digging, I'm serious. Clay is everywhere, you just have to dig it up, you need a shovel and the will to dig a hole at six feet, sometimes less, there you'll find as much clay as you want. Not very pure but you can work with it. 
quesoman6 years ago
nice ible. i gonna try to get my dad to let me turn the side of my house into a climbing wall.
bazookazuz7 years ago
I build my holds our of real rock (limestone). i found the easiest way to flatten the back is to use an angle grinder with a 7" masonry grinding wheel (<$10). If you go this route, I would wait for the hold to completely harden so you don't gunk up your wheel. Great article! I'm gonna start building my hold this way once I exhaust my supply of real rocks.
Corvidae7 years ago
I found this site the other day. Its a company that sells the stuff to make holds, so if your willing to throw a bit of money into it, you can do it this way.
Nice to see the interest in making climbing holds. We have been making them for about 5 years now. Started for ourselves, now we sell worldwide and on every auction site we can find. Most hold companies wont share info...I dont mind. If you have any specific questions, let me know. I contributed to an article that answers some basics - http://www.stephenwilliamson.com/Climbing/climbingholds.htm.

big assortment flat 1.jpgcoffee mug.jpgbeetle hold black.jpg
andresm8 years ago
WOW! great instructable.... i wanna cover my room wall in these... lol i know it dangearous (im mexican so pardon my spelling)
J_SCAP andresm7 years ago
no man ur speling is fine dont need to wory if we here at instructables can read it your fine
bethehammer8 years ago
This is great! I was planning to build a backyard playground set for my kid. She loves the climbing walls on the big sets at the park. This is going to be fun, now I can add a climbing wall to the set and make the holds any color she wants. Thanks for sharing. What did you mean by tendon-friendly?
(I'm taking this one; since I used the phrase...) Tendon-friendly holds just don't stress a particular tendon or tendon group. Think of a natural grip, following the curvature of your hand--like a handle. One test: they feel comfortable. For instance, I need to avoid too much stress on my ring fingers (not uncommon--I know climbers who've had 'pulley' injuries on that finger...both hands!) Of course, more advanced climbers tend to work hard on the weakest aspects of their climbing. Train hard on a group of holds that cause too much unnatural stress on those connections and you've got an injury...
hedgiehog8 years ago
I've been thinking of making my own climbing wall, but i got membership to a climbing gym, so i'd rather go there. Nice holds
admanrocks8 years ago
Excellent instructable, very very nice. Is there a criterion to "design" the shape for a hold? (I'd like to create my own without having to mold/copy them).
There are many criterion for hold design. Some mimic natural features (flake, crack, crimp, sloper, pinch, pocket, etc.) Some are huge buckets for roofs. Some are wacky (skulls, animals, etc.) Some (jibs) are designed mainly for feet. The best (IMHO) are tendon-friendly. But rock isn't always friendly, so anything goes.
lemonie8 years ago
Are you grinding these flat afterwards (how)? Do you think it possible to add the hole to the mould instead of drilling it out afterwards? I'm thinking that the sand would be harsh on your drill-bit.
not at all thats why you use the masonry bit
Quiznak lemonie8 years ago
This sounds like a great project. You could probably stick dowel into the clay and have it extend up through the Bondo/sand mix to do what lemonie suggested.
Better yet, put a dowel through the original hold, before you shape the clay around it.
royalestel8 years ago
This is great. I've been missing my rock climbing days . . .
Ferrite8 years ago
I made climbing holds once out of cement. I made a shape out of clay and covered it with several layers of silicone caulk and let the caulk dry. I then poured cement in and let it set. They turned out fairly well but there were a lot of air bubbles on the outside when i took them out form the mold.
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