Make a Halloween Hand of Glory




Introduction: Make a Halloween Hand of Glory

Here is a neat and fun way of making a Hand Of Glory for that spooky night. Or just to put in your pumpkin for an extra creepy effect. Now history states that a hand of glory and I quote from wikipedia is a candle made of the fat from a malefactor who died on the gallows, virgin wax, and Lapland sesame oil (the candle could only be put out with milk), and the hand having come from the said hanged criminal, lighted and placed in the Hand of Glory (as in a candlestick) would have rendered motionless all persons to whom it was presented. (In another version the hair of the dead man is used as a wick, also the candle is said to give light only to the holder.) The Hand of Glory also purportedly had the power to unlock any door it came across.

Now your hand of glory does not have to be that macabre, but whatever tickles your fancy. THis particular hand will bleed when lit making for a very cool effect.

Step 1: Supplies and Parts

For this step you will need,

A large tub, preferably stainless steel, that is graduated up and out. for clean up reasons.

Some large white candles. You will likely need a few pounds worth.

Some of those Red dinner table candles. The kind you use for a romantic place setting.

A candy thermometer.

A ladle.

A second pot with cold water. I MEAN COLD. ADD ICE TO IT , because this is gonna get warm.

Some lotion or vaseline.

A SHARP Knife.

Your own hand. YES, yours and no you don't have to cut it off.

You can use any color candles you want or have but this is how I did it and it makes bleeding fingers this way.

Step 2: Melting Your Wax

Here is where some people will vary on how you melt wax. I simply put the wax in to the bowl in chunks. Be careful when cutting with the knife because it can slip ,because wax breaks funny. Then I put on a low flame until melted.

Professionals will tell you to use a double boiler to avoid scorching and heat problems. But I have not found that to be a major problem yet. I use a candy thermometer to check the temp and don't touch it until it is back to down to under a 120 degrees. This is the point at which my wax starts to solidify again and is usable.

Note: if your wax gets too cold you can hit it with a blast of heat for a few seconds and then it should be a liquid again

Step 3: Forming the Hand Part One

I know this is a picture of my cooled wax, but I was doing my Instructable as an after thought.

When you have you wax at a cool enough temp, and remember to check with a thermometer. You can then start to form your hand.

This is where you need to have your cold bowl of water next to your wax either on the stove or next to it, but make sure it is close by . Please have your water cold you can even add ice to it but keep it cold it sets the wax and keeps you from getting burned.


You are now going to put your hand in hot wax, SO BE CAREFUL. Test your wax first on your finger tip and see if you can handle it. The human body can accept temps up to 130 degrees before a real burn can set in but that does not mean that is your pain threshold. Simply place your finger about an inch into the water. Don't dunk your hand in and splash or slap the surface, just touch it, and then put your finger into the cold water. If you feel brave and know your limits you can let the first layer air cool but the water makes it set faster.

After the first layer this should be easier because the wax will give you some protection. If you feel safe enough to continue and feel that you are ready for your full hand then remove the finger case you have just made. break it up into the wax and let it melt.
Then get prepared for your whole hand.

Step 4: Forming the Hand Part Two

This is where the lotion or vaseline comes into play. Coat your hand.

In the legend of the glory hand it was the left hand cut off. I am left handed so that is the one I used but it can be either.

What you want to do is get your the hairs on your hand to stick down and give a releasing agent to the wax after everything is said and done. You could probably shave your hand to get rid of all the little hairs but that might look funny later and you would still need a releasing agent. Trust me on this I didn't use any thing and it got a little painful. Oh and I broke my mold a little too.

Now gently slide your hand into the wax up to your wrist. It doesn't have to be perfect but try to get it in one even coat. and don't move your fingers. have them spread to a comfortable distance first. You can get creative and twist your hand in strange ways but remember you are going to have to hold it that way for a while, and it may get cramped.

Take your hand out and place it in the cold water. This may be a little hot but if you tested it, it shouldn't burn you. The water will cool you and it is OK if water gets inside of the wax. Once cool take out your hand and gently shake off the excess water.

Now it is like the shampoo
Rinse, lather ,repeat err , or in this case layer and repeat.

You may have to do this on different sides, I had to do the back and sides of my hand alternately, because the bottom was thicker than the the top. The top of my hand was more sensitive to heat also.

Once you have a thick enough wall , between 1/4 and 1/2 inch or just until you are comfortable that it is not going to crack. Keep your hand in the water until cool to move. Then go find some place to sit. You need to let this cool almost completely. As it cools it will expand from your hand, it may have done so already and if you can get your hand out , great then go for it.
The base of the hand may crack a little too. It's ok if you went far enough then you will have a little flare to remove anyways. Don't remove the flare at the end yet. But just let it cool

Step 5: Making Bloody Fingers

You should have your hand removed by now and dry. Let the casing continue to cool and get your candlesticks. What you want is for them to fit down into your hollow finger tips. What I did was break about half off and break those, "but not breaking the wick or pull it out of the top " where you knuckles are. Then when you feel it is safe to mess with the casing you can put the candles in to the fingers.

You can use the base of the candles for the thumb but you want the wick. This is what lights later on of course.

Sorry I don't have better pics. Like I said this was done as an after thought.

Step 6: Filling the Hand.

Get your ladle and hold the hand upside down over you wax pot. Carefully ladle wax into the void of the fingers and the casing and shake a little to get the air bubbles out.

You are going to have to hold this a little while as the shell will soften a little and may deform. Let this harden.

Step 7: Finishing Everything Up

Once this has come to a completely hardened case. Which may take a few hours. You can clean up the ends with a hot knife or exacto blade. You want it to be able to sit flat on a surface.

Now you can turn it over and cut the tips off with your knife and dig the little wicks out. My thumb one was short so I had to burn the finger down quite a bit to get the wick.

Now you can put it in a lantern or pumpkin or just light for everyone to see. After a while the fingers should drip and the red wax will look like blood.

Hope you enjoy this is my first submission and not my last.

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    8 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What if, instead of holding the hand to keep the hot "fill wax" from deforming it, you just supported it somehow in a bowl of ice water? Then the hot wax wouldn't heat up the molded hand so much. Great idea, btw.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea. Never thought about it. The hand was so thick that when i poured it it didn't need any other cooling. But this would definately speed up the process.

    Senorita Pi
    Senorita Pi

    11 years ago on Step 7

    I really like this idea, but I'm going to try a different method of molding. Instead of dipping my hand in wax over and over, I'm going to try to make a mold out of plaster (or something of the sort). That way the fingers won't be as thick. Still, your idea is really cool! I LOVE the detail of putting in the red candles so it looks like it's bleeding! Genius!


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 7

    A plaster hand might work. I used my hand because of the spooky factor that this was once a real hand, and the legend had used a real hand. However after thinking, I realized using your own hand is preferable because it shrinks with the cold water while the wax expands allowing your hand to come out of the mold rather easily. I am not sure if such a rigid master made out of plaster is going to give you the release you need. One because plaster is porous it might suck the wax in, so you may need to seal the plaster first. Maybe just put on a rubber glove. The second reason may be because the plaster will not give you any wiggle room to slide and flex without cracking. A gelatin hand like the ones seen on Mythbusters might do that, the ones made out of ballistic gel or even an RTV silicone. By all means experiment though. I am glad you like the 'ible. Oh' and please let me know how yours come out as well.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe you could use alginate? We used that when using life casting in my plaster class. Really cool, I can't wait to try this myself.

    make it hold a black candle that drips red but make it a short candle so when it get to short it makes the hand bleed


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    what you could do would be to make the hand smaller and with red then dip it in black wax. then the red would drip.