A severed hand that twitches and grabs at those who come near! Make a convincingly gruesome addition to your Halloween costume or a tool for the perfect April Fools prank:
Of course, it isn't really severed, it's just an illusion! What you are going to make is a special glove that will make it look like you are holding a living, moving, human arm. In actuality, what people are seeing is your hand, passing straight through a "dummy" glove with an attached fake stump of an arm.
While the project takes a few hours to make (or more, depending on your attention to detail), it is silly-cheap and has a great effect!
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Step 1: Material List
Things you are going to need for this project:
*a pair of heavy gloves (I opted for dollar store work gloves)
*fabric (to be your "shirt" on the limb)
*a sheet of white paper
*some nice squishy foam
*a wire coat hanger
*blood colored paint
*some nice sharp scissors
*hot glue gun
*"Sculpey" or other clay that you can bake in your oven
The gloves that you pick are going to be the most important part of the project. Theoretically, you only need one glove- but the effect is best if you are wearing two matching gloves. You'll want to buy or find some that are thick, sturdy, and have longish cuffs. Having no extra gloves laying around, I bought mine for only a buck and they worked pretty well.
Every item besides the gloves I had around the house already, meaning a total cost of $1. If you already have some gloves that you could use, the project could be practically free!
Total time spent on this project was in excess of 10 hours, over the course of several days. This includes all the trial and error that you will be able to avoid, thanks to this Instructable, however! More than one day will be needed, to allow for the paint to dry. Time that you will require depends on how much attention to detail you take.
Step 2: Prepare the Glove
First you're going to have to choose the hand that you are going to be sacrificing. This is important since you won't really be able to use that hand for the rest of the evening while wearing the "fake arm" glove. I arbitrarily chose the right glove.
You are then going to begin to cut the glove. Lay the glove palm-up on your workspace, and make a cut up the middle of the palm. You will then continue to cut in a "V", as indicated by the pattern in the second picture.
Cut away any unnecessary linings in the glove that might get in the way.
Step 3: Filling Out the Glove
Since you aren't going to have your hand in the glove, something needs to be inside of it, allowing it to maintain its shape and look realistic. I opted to use some nice squishy foam that came with some electronics I bought. It was about 1 cm thick.
I cut the foam into 1 cm wide strips, each slightly longer than the length of each finger except for the thumb. A fifth strip was cut to the length across the knuckles of the glove.
Using wire cutters, cut a piece of a wire coat hanger a little bit shorter than the length of the index finger's foam.
Push the section of hanger carefully into the center of the foam, this will be the "skeleton" of the finger, allowing it to hold its shape.
Next, you are going to bulk up the finger and give it some more shape using fill. I did this by arranging the fill on the top of the foam, and then unceremoniously wrapping packing tape around the entire thing, being sure to get tape on the ends in order to prevent the hanger from potentially poking through.
All pieces are then put into their appropriate places inside of the glove. Arrange the piece of foam that you cut to the length of the knuckles below the foam for the fingers and when you are happy with the location, hold it in place using dots of hot glue. The foam in the fingers shouldn't slip, so you won't need to glue them.
Stuff the thumb with some fill. You won't need to worry about it coming out, we'll deal with that later.
Finally, bend the index finger of the glove to a "C" shape for grasping your wrist when you wear the glove.
Step 4: Begin the Stump
For the arm "stump," I used a shampoo bottle that was approximately the same shape as my forearm.
Cut off the top at an angle, such that the front of the bottle is slightly higher than the back, and the left of the bottle is about 1.5 cm taller than the right (this is for the "right hand" glove, reverse this if you are choosing to make a left handed glove).
Next, I put a thin layer of pillow fill around the bottle to change the shape of it slightly, to make it more like an arm.
I wrapped the bottle, encased in a thin layer of polyester fill, with a sheet of white paper that was cut to the correct width, and then wrapped around and taped into place.
Note how it is beginning to look a bit more like an arm's shape now. The white paper will also prevent the labeling of the bottle from showing through if your fabric that you use in the next step is too sheer. The fill will also give the arm a nice "give" when squeezed, making it that much more realistic.
Step 5: Dressing the Stump
For the "sleeve" that of your arm stump, you are going to need a section of fabric and a hot glue gun. I chose an old pillow case for my fabric, because of the nice wide hem that was already stitched in, looking like a cuff on a sleeve. I aligned the hem on the cut side of the bottle.
The section of fabric will need to be at least 3 inches or so wider than the bottle is tall (see the first picture) and long enough so that it can wrap completely around the bottle.
I affixed the fabric to the paper outside of the bottle with dots of hot glue as I rolled it around the outside. Be careful to not use too much glue or it may be visible on the outside of the fabric. Pay special attention to the edges, so that they cannot pull away, revealing the bottle.
Finally, you are going to shred the fabric hanging off of the bottom of the bottle. This will further the effect that the limb was viciously torn from someone's body. I made cuts with scissors and then pulled out the threads with my fingers.
Don't worry about the bottom of the bottle- we'll be taking care of that in the next step.
Step 6: Bloody the Stump
For the fleshy bottom of the stump, we are going to use some more of that great polyester fill, red paint, and my favorite tool: the hot glue gun.
Glue on patches of fill onto the exposed bottom of the bottle using dots of hot glue. I used extra dabs of hot glue to make a chunky texture out of the fill, making it look that much more like the texture of torn muscle. I left a little bit of space in the middle so that I could have some nasty bones sticking out.
Once you are happy with the coverage of the fill, you are going to paint it using a nice, blood-colored paint. I used some red enamel that I had lying around. It took a while to dry, but it worked nicely.
When you are satisfied with the look of the flesh itself, give some love to the rest of the sleeve: let some of the paint soak through the torn fabric and put little splattered dots of blood elsewhere. Also paint some blood on both of the gloves. Let the paint dry overnight.
In the meantime, I chose to make some chunks of bone to have sticking out of the arm using Sculpey brand clay. I sculpted two, baked them in the oven according to the instructions on the box, and let them cool. I then painted them to look bloody as well.
The next morning, the bones fragments were glued to the space left in the middle of the fill using a dot of super glue for each piece.
Step 7: It Starts Coming Together
Now that we have the two main components of the glove, it's time to begin the assembly!
First, glue the last three fingers of the glove together using hot glue (pinky, ring, and middle finger). You are going to want to avoid glue being seen on the outside (knuckle side) of the glove.
Next, you are going to lay down a line of hot glue just below the fingers on the palm of the glove and affix the stump. Be careful! You only have one shot at this! With the palm of the glove, the fleshy end of the stump should be facing outwards (the side of the pinky of the glove). The open end of bottle should line up with about the center of the middle finger.
After you have done, hot glue the fingers (only the 3 that are glued together!) to the stump.
As a final shaping structure, we then cut a piece of scrap cardboard, such as a cereal box. I folded the cardboard so that it was doubly-thick, and then cut it at an angle roughly the same as the slant of the knuckle-line on the glove.
The piece of cardboard is inserted into the glove, on TOP of the foam chunks, but below the flaps of your glove's palm. It is then glued into place. Remember the fill in the thumb of the glove? This will also prevent that from coming out. If you really want to go above and beyond- you could cover the cardboard in fabric.
Step 8: Velcro Patches and Loose Ends
The final step is attaching the Velcro patches that will hold the glove on your arm and in its proper shape.
The Velcro that I used was intended for keeping toddlers out of cabinets, and therefore had VERY strong adhesive backing- meaning that I did not have use anything else to hold the patches on. You may, however, need to use additional glue (or stitching) to keep the Velcro from pulling off.
First, you are going to affix the largest piece of Velcro, which will do the brunt of the holding- I recommend a 1" x 2" piece. The "furry" side of the piece went on the inside of the left part of the glove, and the "catchy" on the outside, located on the right side of the palm. This allows for minimum visibility of the patches. A smaller strip was used on the wrist of the glove just to keep it from flopping open.
Also on the palm is a triangle of Velcro, placed on the triangular flap that you cut on the palm of the glove (see picture).
For the "sleeve" of your stump, you are going to remove a triangle of fabric, with the bottom of the triangle measuring approximately 2" and facing the palm of the glove. Fold the remaining flap of fabric upward and glue it in place. Affix the the other side of the triangle-shaped piece of Velcro on the inside of this glued flap, facing inward.
Glue any seams that appear to be falling apart on the glove, and survey your work... you're done!
Step 9: Wear Your Work, Enjoy the Reactions
Congratulations! You can now freak out trick-or-treaters, family, and friends with your seemingly-living severed arm!
To wear your glove takes a little bit of technique. Put your hand into the glove, and put your wrist at a right angle. Your hand should be grasped between the thumb and forefinger of the glove. Velcro relevant patches together, including the triangle piece that you glued to the "sleeve" of your limb.
For the best effect, you will need to keep your wrist at this right angle. Take a break every once in a while if it starts to get sore (I never really had any problems). Put on the other matching glove, and a long sleeved shirt to really have a strong effect. Try applying some makeup to your hand to make it look more "fake" and therefore scare people that much more when you move it.
Have fun with it! Have your arm hold a drink at parties, grab peoples wrists when they touch it, or point at its supposed murderer!