Introduction: Zombie Severed Arm

Severed Zombie Hand

I am a big fan of do it yourself (DIY) Halloween props. In a lot of the zombie movies, a zombie arm usually gets cut off or ripped off. I am a big fan of zombie movies and I think it would be cool to recreate one of the special effects props they use. So this year I have decided to make a fake severed arm from the elbow down. So, using inspiration from many of the classics such as, “Night Of The Living Dead”, I put together a design that’ll make your Halloween truly terrifying. Now, I’m not someone who makes special effects for a living, so I had to think of a cheap, interesting way to make a severed arm. I decided upon two PVC pipes as the two base bones, with cardboard supports and a wire mesh to hold the flesh like Glycerin covering and the Great Stuff inner mold. In this instructable I’ll show you how to put together a cheap and easy zombie severed hand prop. I hope you’ll find this very helpful and I will update this as needed.

Step 1: What You Need


  • 2 - 12 1/2 x 1/2 in PVC pipe
  • 2 - 6 oz bottles of pure glycerin
  • 14 packets of unflavored gelatine
  • 1 bottle skin tone makeup
  • 3 ft x 2 ft wire mesh
  • 1 latex glove
  • 1 can “great stuff” foam insulation
  • 4 ft section of cardboard
  • 1 paper towel roll
  • 1 bottle krazy glue
  • 1 tube red acrylic paint
  • 1 tube burnt umber acrylic paint


  • 1 craft knife
  • 1 small wire cutters
  • 1 small paint brush
  • 1 small saw
  • craft sticks for spreading gel mixture
  • 1 glass container (measuring cup) for mixing gel
  • rubber bands or long pipe cleaners for holding parts together when glueing

Step 2: Cutting the Disks, Bracers, and PVC Pipes

First off, if you're going to build a severed arm from the ground up, you're going to need to start with the bare bone structure that will give your prop its shape. Start with cutting the PVC pipe into two 12 1/2 inch sections, these will be the arm bones. Now comes the cardboard disks that give the arm its shape and the bracers that will keep them in place

Cut cardboard into the following shapes

  1. one 2 ¾ in. x 1 ⅝ in. oval , this is oval #1
  2. one 2 ⅝ in. x 1 ¾ in. oval, this is oval #2
  3. one 3 ⅛ in. x 2 ½ in. oval, this is oval #3
  4. one 3 ¾ in. x 3 2/8 in. oval, this is oval #4
  5. one 4 ⅛ in x 4 in. oval, this is oval #5
  6. one 4 in. x 4 in. oval, this is oval #6
  7. two 1 ½ in. x 2 in. rectangle
  8. two 1 ⅝ in. x 2 in. rectangle
  9. six 2 in. x 2 in. square

You will also need to cut two holes in each oval as shown in the picture. The holes should be just large enough to allow the PVC pipe to slide through.

Step 3: Gluing the Disks and Bracers to the PVC Pipes

Now, starting with oval # 1, slide the oval onto the PVC pipes 1 ¼ in. from the end of the pipes and glue in place. Next place one 1 ½ in. rectangle spacer on each side and slide oval #2 flush against the spacers and glue in place. Now place one 2 in. square spacer on each side between oval #2 and oval #3 and glue in place. Repeat this for ovals #4 and #5. Finally, place the 1 ⅝ in. spacer on each side between ovals #5 and #6 and glue in place.

Step 4: Making the Hand

Fill the latex glove ¾ full with the foam making sure to fill each finger. Do not overfill the palm section of the glove. Try to keep it close to the normal thickness of a hand. Now attach the hand to the arm by sliding the end of the glove over oval #1 and glue in place to the back of oval #1. Use a pipe cleaner to hold the glove in place until the glue dries.

Step 5: Shaping the Arm

Now glue one half of the paper towel roll on top on the disks and the other half to the bottom of the disks. This will help support the wire mess and it gives additional surface area for gluing. Wrap the wire mesh around the arm starting from the wrist. Pull the wire tight as you wind it around the structure. Glue in place.

Step 6: Filling the Arm

Cut a small hole in the wire mesh in between each section between the oval disks. Make the hole large enough to insert the foam nozzle. Fill each section with foam and scrape off any excess foam. Let the foam set for approximately 30 minutes. Next, fill the ends of the PVC pipes and the end of the arm with foam. Make sure to leave some of the PVC pipe showing. This will give the appearance of arm bones sticking out of the end of the arm.

Step 7: Mixing the Gelatin

Pour one 6 oz. bottle of glycerin into a glass measuring cup and heat it up in a microwave for 2 minutes. Now mix in 7 packets of gelatin into the warmed glycerin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Let the mixture set for a minimum of 20 minutes. Next, put the mixture back into the microwave for another 2 minutes to liquify. This should help get rid of any lumps of gelatin. Finally, add flesh tone makeup to the mixture and stir until the makeup is fully mixed in.

Step 8: Adding Flesh to the Arm

Once the makeup has been mixed in, spread the gelatin mixture over the top half of the arm and let dry. Keep the foam on the end of the arm bare.

Once the gelatin has dried, flip the arm over and apply the gelatin mixture to the bottom half of the arm, again keeping the end of the arm bare. To heat up the gelatin mixture in the glass container, just put it in a microwave for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

After the bottom half has dried, add a second layer to the arm and try to smooth out the covering. You may need to make a second batch of gelatin to complete this process.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Now mix up some red and burnt umber acrylic paint. A good mixture is two parts red to one part burnt umber.
Paint the end of the arm with the paint mixture trying to cover as much of the foam as possible. Add paint to the side of the arm and the hand to make it look like scratch marks or bite marks. Let dry.

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