How to Make a Hand V.1

Introduction: How to Make a Hand V.1

About: art director at Teatro e Marionetas de Mandragora random stuff collector / programmer wannabe / open source

Let's try to make and old man crocked hand, ... really old.

Whenever I try a new material I like to test it on microwave. And guess what, ... almost all the water based doughs tend to increase in size and the other doughs also have a strange reaction. The idea is to test the materials to their limits, know where they fail and try to use it to your own advantage.
On my last how to make an ear v.3 I've talked briefly about water based microwave baked dough. So, I'll explain it clearly this time and make an instructable only about it..
Please do try with different doughs and post them out for all of us to learn.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I'll be using here a dough called Flocky by darwi. Since it has a puppet printed on the package and since I'm creating puppets, ... well, nothing can go wrong here, right?
Flocky is basically paper fibres, so you can make your own dough with toilet paper or other paper with those kind of big fibres.

Read the instructions on the package to learn the recipe. I tend to use half the water they say and use white glue to fill the other 50%.

Generally I mix a lot of this Flocky bags and store them in 1Kg plastic buckets. This one that you can see in the picture has something around 1 year old and still looks and smells great. That's the difference when using distilled water instead of regular tap one.

There's so many tools you can use for modelling your dough but a pencil and your own hands keeps to be the best ever. Here are a few other that I use with nylon and metal tips.

Step 2: Preparing Cilinders

Roll small amounts of dough on a table. Lay them side by side and cut into the length. Create both hands at the same time in order to achieve same measurements.

Step 3: Shaping Your Fingers

Don't worry to much with details. Yes, it's hard to shape anything with this kind of doughs. They are really soft and wet and can't sustain themselves in complex forms. So, just go with it and don't stress to much.
Next comes to fun part.

Step 4: Microwave Action

Ever tried to heat up some bread on your microwave? Ever noticed in the amount of humidity retained between the bottom of the bread and your plate? So, do put the fingers on top of a paper towel to absorb that humidity excess. You may also use the paper towel to sustain the finger on the shape you want as the picture presents.

You should do some tests before trying to do the real thing. On my microwave I ended up with the following numbers.
Cook it for 60 seconds on high mode and as you can see the finger swells a lot and it may even present some cracks. While the outside is cooked the inner dough is still wet so you must be quick (that's why I only cook around 2 or 3 fingers at a time).
While it's hot, try to squeeze it to the original shape. The outer 'skin' is bigger now and wend compressed, to the original shape, it will create those wrinkles.
When happy with this random result, let it cool and cook it again for 120 seconds more.

Step 5: Close-up and Thin Details

At this moment the fingers are hard enough for you to use sandpaper or an assortment of blades to sculpt it a little.

Step 6: Putting the Fingers Together

You now can use some more dough to weld the fingers together. One at a time or in pairs... as you wish. After each 'weld' take it back into the microwave for a 60 seconds session.

Step 7: Finalizing

And there you are! A real scale old man light weight hand, ideal for a puppet. Paint it as you fancy and share with us the result. I use this microwave technique for ages since I discovered it by accident. You can apply it to anything else such as puppet heads or entire torsos. You may even use a 1cm dough thickness, or less, around another material to create this old skin look on it.

Try it on and have fun!

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