Introduction: Plaster Alginate Casts of My Hand DIY

In art and design school this past fall, I did some experimenting with dental-grade alginate, clay, plaster, and color additives. This is not a step-by-step I-ble. I just wanted to share pics of three separate plaster casts, all of my hand. The white hand w/ my mouth was an actual assignment. The other two hands were just for fun, experimenting with fabric dye and concrete coloring mixed in the plaster. One of the hands came in "handy" for a wood carving I did that semester.

If you can't get alginate and plaster through school, it is available on amazon or many suppliers. The entire process requires two mixes: 1)alginate/water to make the negative mold of your hand or chosen object, 2)plaster/water to make the replica of your hand from the alginate mold (coloring added to the white plaster optional).

The mixing ratios for the alginate and plaster varies from manufacturers, but it is important to follow the recommended mix ratios using an accurate weighing scale. It may take trial and error. Expect to make a few mistakes, part of learning. The finished results are impressive.

Step 1: Hand #1

The first of the three, it was an assignment in plaster Class. This one was done with modelling clay to support the alginate. Unlike a fixed shape container, using the clay and contouring fairly close to the hand minimizes the amount of alginate needed because it reduces the deadspace of air. To challenge myself, I added my lower face and made the sculpture in one pour!

Step 2: Hand #2

The glass vase was purchased for $10 from Target. Dental alginate from the Dental school. It looks creeeepy and cool! notice the flaws on the finger tips... I was still learning. I used Ritz fabric dye but the color faded when it dried. I learned NOT to use a glass container because it is difficult to remove alginate.

Step 3: Hand #3

This was the better of the two colored hands. I used cardboard and clay instead of a glass vase. My experience resulted in a better pour, with much better detail. I used concrete colorant. although the colorant was more stable, I need to work on achieving a better skintone. Overall, I was pleased with the entire process.

Step 4: *Edited: More Hands

I did a cast of my ma's hand over the Holiday. I also casted a base at the same time. I discovered it is easier to paint the hand AFTER it is cast and dried for at least a 3 days.

Step 5: Edited: More Hands

I made a "hand sculpture" by adding coiled rebar to my friend's cast hand.