I could use a hand!

I have made hands before for a few different puppets using various techniques, so I decided to use the one I have found most effective and with the best results...........but this time it didnt go exactly as planned

I began with hand armatures I made in a previous post

I then sculpted the hands with plasticine over the armature to get the hands I wanted to cast

Here they are on my armature to make sure look and size was good

I decided the method in which I was going to make my hands was to make a two part plaster mold of the original  hand and then use latex to make the final product from the molds.

To make the two part mould  I started off by  building clay half way around each hand leaving the top half uncovered

I added keys in each corner using a sculpting tool, these are to help the two parts of the mould lock together once complete. I also put a layer of vaseline over it so as it will release from the mould once set.

Then the same way as I done for the head in the previous post, I make a wall around clay and hot glued it all together making sure there were no gaps. I then mixed the plaster and poured it in a corner allowing it to cover sculpt 

Once the plaster was set i removed the clay exposing the hands. I cleaned off the remaining clay, covered hands and mould with more vaseline and then repeated the same process above giving me a two part mould of my hands which I could then use to cast the final hands needed.

I decided to used latex to make the final hands. Latex is strong, flexible and good for animating also it is a lot cheaper then silicone and as a student every little helps 

I mixed a small bit of paint with the latex to get the colour I wanted. One problem with latex is that it dries nearly twice as dark as the colour you mix so often it is a guessing game with getting it right! I also added a small bit of latex thickener to help it set

I then applied the latex into the mould to form a skin. I do this to help avoid air bubbles and also so the armature doesnt come through.

as you can see the latex begins to change colour as it sets

I then placed my hand armatures back in the mold and added more latex to cover. I put both sides of the mold together and added a clamp to keep them secure.

Here is where things went wrong!!!

When I opened my mold my hands looked like this covered in dirty looking spots. This had not happened me when I done this before so it surprised me. I thought at first it might be something it the molds so I gave them a good clean and tried again.....same result.
I then thought perhaps it was the latex as it was an old enough bottle so tried with some newer latex instead.......again same spotty result. I figured then that it was probably the armature reacting with the latex.


So to help prevent this I first dipped the armatures in latex to give them a skin and let them dry I figured this might stop whatever reaction that was happening to stop

Hurraahhhhh It worked!!!!! 

.........well for a while

After the mould is opened the latex still isnt fully dry it needs more air to fully cure and as it did the hand colour turned nasty and the dirty spot once again began to appear (It got worse after these pictures)

I realized then that it was the K&S brass tubing which was causing all my trouble so I had to fix it.
To do this i decided to wrap the armature with plumers thread tape

I covered all the metal on fingers and then the rest of the hand so as to make sure no area was exposed to latex 


After many tries and fails I finally had a nice pair of hands for my puppet.

As you can see they are a much nicer colour and spot free. Although it was a pain in the ass to finally get them it was a good learning curve and will have learned from my mistakes for the future

There were one or two holes where there must have been air bubbles but they were easily filled with small drops of the latex mixture.

Finally I trimmed the seem line around the hand and had a nice pair of hands for my puppet.

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