I wanted some skeleton hands for a couple of last year’s props. This is the technique that I came up with, and hopefully you will find it useful.

Materials required:

Sheet plain paper
Pencil or marker
Air drying clay (DAS or similar)
28 Wood or plastic beads (I used ½ inch for the knuckles and 1/4 inch for the joints)
Masking tape

Step 1. Place your hand on the sheet of paper and draw around it.

Mark either side of the finger joints. Remove hand and draw lines across each mark on each finger where joints will be.

Step 2. Using the drawn hand as a template, make a wire frame for the fingers. Start by leaving an extra 3” to 6” from the wrist (to allow you to join the hand to the arm). Make sure the tips of the wire fingers are pinched together tight. Finish off by leaving another 3” to 6” past the wrist.

Step 3. Thread 3 beads on each finger and two on the thumbs. The red beads in the picture are ½ inch, the green beads ¼ inch.Place the beads where the knuckles and joints will be and wrap masking tape either side of the bead to keep in place.

Wrap masking tape around exposed wire as shown.

Bend the fingers into the desired positions.

Take a small piece of the clay and roll into a sausage shape.

The amount of clay will vary for each finger but a ball of clay around ½ to ¾ inch should be enough for bones on the hand and about ¼ to ½ inch for the finger segments. Wrap the clay around the wire form.

Remove surplus clay or add clay as required. Continue until the wire form is completed.

Add small amounts of clay for the wrist bones.

Leave to dry. (takes approx 48 hours to dry) When dry, paint or stain as required. The hands can then be attached to the arms.

Note: You can dampen the clay to smooth it out, and clay modeling tools will help with shaping.

This is what the hand looks like after the modelling

The hands after painting ...

... and aging ...

It took me just over 1 hour to make the hand for the how to. Obviously it will take longer if you want more detail. 1 pack of 500g DAS clay will make at least 2 pair of hands.

The completed hands can be seen on the picture of my ground breaker skeleton. (well one at least lol)

Hopefully, you may find this of some use, especially replacing blucky hands.


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