Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hand Cast

Sweet William from the PFM.

Today's post is totally not sewing related, but creative in another way and I thought it might be interesting to share.

Last week I participated in a work retreat at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ.    We knew there would also be a group activity, but didn't know what it would be.  We were told we should bring something to fit in the palm of our hand to be used for inspiration.    At this point I was thinking we would be in teams and sketch amongst the sculptures, maybe a la Project Runway when they go to a park/museum/natural setting and sketch.    I was totally wrong.  We were going to cast our hands.

The idea was to hold something small in our hands and then leave it in the mold so that the resulting cast would be holding it,  but I didn't trust my object (a plumeria hair clip from Hawaii) to hold up to the treatment.  I didn't trust my ring either, so I took it off and put it on my other hand.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I had left my ring on!

They gave us green aprons, a bucket, and name tags for our buckets.  First we mixed the material for the mold in a little bucket in an up-and-down motion; we were told this is the same material dentists use to make molds of teeth. Then we plunged our hands into the bucket; whatever gesture you made with your hand, you had to hold the gesture for 3 minutes while the mold set, like I'm doing above.
After 3 minutes, and making sure the material felt firm from the top, you then wiggled your fingers a bit.  I could feel the material separating from my skin, and then I was able to pull my hand out.  Above is the aerial view of the bucket after removing my hand.

We then mixed, er, maybe it was plaster of paris?  with water, kind of like mixing cake batter...mix round and round til it's totally smooth while not introducing a lot of air bubbles.

Poured that mixture into the bucket and tamped the bucket several times to get the cake batter to really fill up the mold.

Then we went for our tour of the grounds and when we came back, we extracted our cast from the mold.
On the left of the picture you can see some of the material that I cut away using a razor. It felt very spongey and quite cold.  And then there was the cast of my hand!  I am making the "shaka" sign, aka "hang loose" in Hawaii.  I couldn't get the full wingspan I normally get on the shaka because the bucket wasn't wide enough for that.  But you can see the detail of my hand pretty well, the lines in my fingers, though it looks like I have a wart, which I don't--I will see if I can sandpaper that off. I should have taken a picture from the other side too, but it's currently on my desk at work and I am at home.  Next week I'll take a picture from the other side and post it here.

I would love love love to do this activity again, to try posing my hand in different positions.  One of my coworkers had the "thumbs up", another held her hand like a claw so she could use it as a ring holder, and I think it would be pretty neat to do the "OK" sign.  I would also let my hand be in a more natural state and cast it.   I googled it and there are plenty of kits online; maybe an activity for my vacation week?

I have been sewing!  Sneak peek of upcoming posts...I currently have gingham fever.
20150703_172356 \
Lots and lots of gingham fever...

So, have you ever cast your hand?  If yes, what gesture did you make?
Do you have gingham fever too??

Be well!


  1. Gingham fever can never run too high imo. Great hand cast!

  2. I've never casted my hand but it sure looks like lots of fun! Gingham fabrics are such fun!

  3. I guessed it before I saw the picture. In my mind I thought, "I'll bet she is making the shaka hand". I was right! That is a super cool activity. I love your sneak peeks too Kyle. They look so professional! And I agree, I think the skirt in gingham would be great!

  4. Oh great cast! Will you paint or finish it in some way or leave it "au natural"? I love gingham and I particularly like your colour. I have two other ginghams - black and white vintage rayon and a purple and white fine satin/sateen finish - both of which I love. Looking forward to seeing your stuff.

  5. That hand cast looks eerily real - I can see it coming in handy at Halloween?

  6. Wow that is amazing! So detailed.

  7. I had my arm in a cast (of some sort) when I was younger, but it was not pleasant. =) Gingham fever? Nah, not for me.

  8. I would like to see Mushy's skirt in gingham. The one-inch kind.
    Maybe you could make a gingham ring for your hand?

  9. I have to tell you that when I saw that blog post title I thought you were going to be writing that you broke your hand and had it in cast! thankfully not !!!

  10. I'm with Beth! I breathed a sigh of relief when your post wasn't about breaking your hand. Super cool project. I have to admit that my first thought for hand pose was flipping the bird (please don't judge me). ;-P


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