Main List of Ingredients:
1 roll plaster gauze.
(You should be able to buy this at any good art store or online.)
One 1lb. container of Alginate.
(We used "Algiform" brand "slow set" alginate.)
4-5 (1oz.) boxes of Knox Gelatin.
(We actually made 8 boxes worth and had way too much left over.)
Red food coloring.
(You should always have some of this on hand. Whenever I go to the grocery store I clean them out of Red food coloring!)
(Flesh tone, not clear.)
1 pair of panty hose.
(A cheap flesh tone is good. Even an old pair would do.)
3 feet of tubing.
(I would recommend soft rubber tubing for this application.)
1 non-lubricated condom.
(You can get free condoms in lots of places like health centers and often school.)
Basic makeup kit.
(Some reds and whites to add detailed shading to your fake hand.)
(Red food coloring, corn syrup and water.)
Step 1: Making Ballistics Gel
I'm going to gloss over this subject because we have covered it many times. You carefully mix your Knox powder with water at a ratio of 1oz (one box) of Knox for every cup of water in a large cooking pot. Once you have the desired volume, I'd suggest 4-5 cups for this job, refrigerate the whole thing for an hour. This is called the "blooming" process and has something to do with hydrating the mix. While you wait I would move on to the molding process described below. However when the gel is done blooming take it out of the fridge and break it up with a spoon. The gel mix should be hard like jello already, but it's not done yet. Once you've broken it up, apply to low heat on your stove top. Slowly bring the gel to around 130 degrees (F) as you constantly stir. By now it should be a liquid and it is ready to pour into whatever mold you have made. Once it is in the mold it needs 36 hours in the fridge to set properly.
Step 2: The Alginate Mold Process
This time around we wanted to work with something better then plaster, so it's Alginate time! Every brand of alginate will have slightly different directions, but the basics are as follows: Mix alginate powder with warm water (approx. 70(F)) at a 1 to 1 ratio by volume. This stuff is going to get pretty thick so we used a drill to mix it because it is so much more powerful then a commercial mixer. You can buy fancy mixing attachments for a drill, or you can just stick in the mixer arm from your electric mixer into a standard drill. It should fit right in the chuck.
Once the alginate is completely mixed you can start applying it to your subjects dry hand and arm. Alginate doesn't need a release agent. If anything I would have the person applying the alginate to the subject put some petrolum jelly on their hands, because this stuff sticks to everything! Cover the entire area and double check there are no air bubbles in your alginate or that it isn't too thin in any areas. The alginate should start to set in 5-6 minutes at which point you can start applying your plaster gauze.
Step 3: The Plaster Gauze
Cut all the gauze into strips about 6-8 inches long. Fill a bowl with warm water. It's a good idea to prepare these items before you start the alginate process. This part is really easy. The plaster gauze acts as a firm outer shell to the semi-pliable alginate. Just dip the gauze in the warm water and evenly apply to the now (mostly) firm alginate. Run your hands along the wet gauze to make sure the plaster embedded in it's fibers sticks to everything else. One roll should be more then enough for a hand mold and should yield 2-3 layers of gauze around the entire mold. As everything firms up and begins to set your subject should be able to wiggle his hand free from the mold.
Step 4: Filling the Mold
Place your empty mold in one of those long "fridge friendly" soda 12-packs so that the open end of the mold is facing up. Fill the non-lubricated condom about a quarter full with dark red blood. Tie off the end and add some clear tape to help it keep it's cylindrical shape while being hanged vertically. Now tie a string to the end and place the condom inside the mold in around the area you want to chop this baby in half! Tape the other end of the string to a stick or pen that you can attach to the top of the box. Next take some strips of cut up pantie hose and hang them from the pen and into the mold. Do the same for the rubber hose (with the end tied off) and 2 fake bones I made by rolling up 2 strips of the plaster gauze. Once everything is on place you can heat up your ballistics gel and pour into the mold. Put the whole thing in the fridge for 36 hours.
Step 5: De-Molding
So you've waited the 36 hours and you want to see what you've got. Don't get to crazy. You still have to very carefully remove you NEW fake hand from the mold. Use scissors to cut through the plaster gauze and remove it. Now you can carefully tear off the alginate. We were able to find a kind of seam at the bottom, then peal off chunks like an orange. Bottom line you want to be very cautious and not rip or tear your ballistics gel hand. One your new hand is free from the mold, gently wipe it down with a moist paper towel and pad dry.
Step 6: The Fake Skin
This step is also pretty simple, but a bit time consuming. Apply several THIN layers of flesh tone liquid latex to the hand until the color looks about right. I only had a small amount of flesh tone latex, so my first few layers where of a white/clear latex. Once you are happy with the color and amount of skin, apply a small amount of flesh tone powder to remove the shine of latex. Lastly add detail with a make-up kit. Like white around the fingernail and red around the knuckles. Just look at your own hand and try and copy the shading and color.
Step 7: Conclusion
I was really happy with how this project turned out. The alginate was WAY better at capturing the detail of the hand down to fingernail detail and skin wrinkles. The addition of the plaster bones added some much needed rigidity to the wrist. The next fake hand I make will probably include some "bones" in the fingers as well. It the end I was so happy with the hand I was almost sad to see it get chopped in half. But that was it's destiny. Good luck!