Giant Steel Skeleton Hand (and Coat Rack)




About: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.

Bulid your own giant steel anatomic skeleton hand out of junky nuts and bolts! It makes a nice coat & towel rack too.

This is a perfect first welding project because you can make lots of mistakes and it will still come out fine.

Step 1: Find Some Scrap Nuts and Bults

This project was inspired by finding a couple buckets of large nuts and bolts at a junk yard, and then deciding that i wanted to learn to weld. This project is great for your first welding project because if the welds are a mess it won't ruin the piece. There is not much measuring to do and if you make mistakes they are easy to fix or else they don't matter. You have a lot of flexibility on your choice of parts and you can easily build the hand at whatever size you want.

note: do not use galvanized nuts and bolts because they give off poisonous fumes when you weld them.

all the parts you need are shown below:

Step 2: Make the Fingers and Thumb

Start by making the individual fingers and thumb. If you mess one up badly you can just make more! Use a vise or a locking plier to hold the fingertip, and hold the middle joint with the ground clamp. Choose the curve angle of your finger joint and then weld the two bolts together. Repeat to add the third finger joint. I made each finger with a different curve because I think it makes the hand look more alive.

The photos show the fingers already attached to the hand, but that's just because i forgot to take a photo before I attached them. At the end of this step you just have 5 loose fingers.

The carriage bolts are nice because you can choose the curve of the finger joint more easily and they look a little better. You can still choose your finger curve with a normal bolt but it is not quite as nice looking.

Step 3: Make the Palm of the Hand

I made the palm slightly curved for looks. This was a little trickier than a totally flat palm. First line up the hex nuts in rows as shown. Weld together each row flat. Then weld one row to the next while holding at a slight angle to get a curved palm.

Step 4: Attach the Arm to the Palm

First attach the head of the large bolt as shown. Then position the small bolt next to it and attach as shown.

Step 5: Attach the Fingers and Thumb to the Palm

Hold each finger at an angle you like and then weld to the palm. I used this size of hex nut in the palm because it made a good spacing and recessed attachment point for the fingers which makes the knuckles look more realistic.

Look at the various photos throughout the project to see the angle and spacing for the fingers and thumb. Of course you can choose your own finger layout!

Step 6: Welding Completed!

Some of your welds might be a bit sharp and pokey. you can use an angle-grinder or grinding wheel to grind them down a bit. I did this just on the palm a bit. use a wire brush wheel to clean up the surface of the metal so it will look better if you leave it as is, or so the paint will stick if you decide to paint it.

Enterprising medical students will notice that my anatomy is not entirely accurate. Real fingers have 4 segments, the first of which is inside the palm. Isn't it funny when fake reality looks more real than the real thing?

Step 7: Mount on Wall

If you want to hang coats or hats or towels, you can use the free end of the arm bolt to attach this to a wall. Here i just used a 3/4" pipe hanger to screw this to a wood post.

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest

2 People Made This Project!


  • Fandom Contest

    Fandom Contest
  • Classroom Science Contest

    Classroom Science Contest
  • Backyard Contest

    Backyard Contest

84 Discussions


1 year ago

I made it and it looks beautiful great for halloween


2 years ago

would this be good for a school project??


3 years ago

you can strip the galvanize off with apple cider vinegar or 50/50 muriatic acid, following precautions on bottle.


3 years ago

What was the size of the nuts you used on yours?


7 years ago on Step 3

As a experience welder myself I would suggest you get a nice thick slab of steel to weld on and various steel bars, especially if you plan to move up to a welding process that takes both hands (i.e. oxy-acetylene or TIG). Ground to the slab and use the heavy bars to hold your pieces in place. Yes I know htat there are situations where this is very inconvenient but knowing what to use when is how to do anything properly


7 years ago on Introduction

Really cool, I wish my welder would come sooner!


7 years ago on Introduction

Nice project. I made a hand a few years ago and this reminded me of it. Probably right around the same time you first published this lol. I used steel wire for tendons. It was all scrap metal I had. Made it for the garden.


Love your kitty,so I made one too. Along with a few boltbugs. Welding in the "eyes" was difficult, so I attached them with a nut and washers on the back. The eyes would shift during the weld. By the way, I got one of those $50 Harbor Freight A/D helmets and it works great.


AWESOME! Great job, it looks sweet! What'd you use for the tail? I had problems with burnthrough on that one.