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Our Concrete Hand Sculptures

We've been inspired to try out a few sculpture ideas at home following our visits to the Elemental Sculpture Park and Abbey House Gardens.  Our first attempt was our Chicken Wire and Moss Living Sculpture, which turned out to be super easy to make, and looks fabulous - you can find our tutorial for it here.

 

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

 

This time, we decided to attempt to sculpt with concrete. It started with a visit to the builder's merchant. For those who don't normally visit builder's merchants they are fab. I buy various supplies there, such as PVA glue and brushes, at the fraction of the cost of craft stores, and they are always really helpful. This visit was no exception, the man helping me didn't show any sign of thinking I was bonkers, as I explained that I wanted to fill gloves full of concrete, and suggested a product that is usually used to set posts, can be used either wet or dry, and sets in about 15 minutes.

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

For our first attempt we simply filled our disposable gloves with the dry mix then added water. It became quickly obvious that the water was having difficulty making its way down to the fingers, and despite lots of massaging you can still see from the second photo above that some of the powder in the fingers is still dry.

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

For our next attempt, we filled the fingers of our gloves with water to start. This worked much better - the mix sunk down into the water displacing it, and the fingers filled up nicely. We left our gloves to set and cure (we gave them 24 hours) and removed our gloves. Handily (no pun intended!), the concrete didn't adhere to the gloves and they were really easy to peel off. Unfortunately, the fingers had proved too fragile, and had snapped during the setting process.

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

 

We clearly needed something to strengthen the fingers, and decided to try lengths of pipe cleaners. We popped them into the fingers, added the water and then our mix. This worked a treat! All our hands with pipe cleaners in their fingers were successful, and we now have a collection of slightly creepy looking hands dotted around our vegetable patch.

 

Cocnrete hand sculpture - pair

We are thinking through a few ideas of how we may decorate them in the future ( I quite fancy growing moss or lichen on them whereas the kids favour the zombie route!), but in the meantime they are staying in their natural state. We have had a mixed response from visitors, so they are clearly not everyone's idea of a garden sculpture, but the kids and I think they are pretty cool!

 

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

We make our own creepy hand sculptures using disposable gloves and quick set concrete - Click through to see our full tutorial

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20 Comments

  • Reply Mary A Jones

    Is there a way to make a base for the hand. My granddaughter for her birthday wanted a ring holder that looked like a hand, more zombie looking than a normal hand.
    I am thinking that the concrete hand might be the answer but it would have to be able to stand upright and look zombieish. Does that make sense?

    July 2, 2017 at 9:43 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Oh, what a good question Mary. They are quite heavy so the base would need to be really solid to stop them toppling over. I’d probably try sinking a screw/bolt/dowel into the wrist end before the concrete set so that you had a way to attach it to a base once made. Alternatively, if it was to be kept inside you could try making it out of plaster of Paris instead which would be much lighter and therefore much easier to attach to something. The plaster would be much softer but using something like acrylic paints to zombify it would give it a more robust surface – I think plaster would still need the pipe cleaners or something similar to reinforce the fingers. If you wanted to try and cast the hand and base all in one out of concrete you’d need a much more robust glove as the ones I used wouldn’t cope with the weight of the concrete if they were left to set hanging down without losing their shape. Do let me know what you go with in the end if you try it – I’d love to see it 🙂

      July 2, 2017 at 11:04 pm
  • Reply Catherine Williams

    Brilliant! What a great idea for Haloween ,hope i have time to make some , so much to do indoors and out i need two of me.

    July 2, 2017 at 1:36 pm
  • Reply Zoe at Splodz Blogz

    Ha ha these are brilliant! I remember making some just like it at Brownies when I was a kid, we painted ours but I love that you’ve put yours outside in the garden. It’s not too weird for a 36 year old to make some on a Sunday afternoon is it?! 😉

    February 9, 2017 at 9:23 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Not at all Zoe, but don’t tell anyone if you plan to plant them outside your garden as I had that idea and my hubby wouldn’t let me – apparently I’m not allowed to frighten the neighbours 🙁

      February 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Love this idea, another one that me and Fin can have a go at! I’m so bad at anything crafty or creative so storing up lots of ideas! Poor kid is never going to be bored that’s for sure!
    Lauren recently posted…What’s Your Everest?My Profile

    February 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Lauren, I bet once you start crafting with him you’ll find you’re much more creative than you realise 🙂

      February 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Helena

    Personally I feel that if your family love them that’s what matters. I like them too thanks for the frugal tips and showing us how to be successful at this art.

    February 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Fiona Cambouropoulos

    such a clever idea though they do slightly give me the creeps sticking out of the ground there. I think I’d have to go the Zombie route and use them as part of our Halloween farm transformation! I love how you share the process of getting things just right and the pipe cleaners sound a handy tip.

    Thank you for sharing with me over on #Trash2Treasure
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…Hop into the farm with Bunny JumpMy Profile

    June 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      They are a bit creepy 🙂 I like to share the real process so that people know what to expect at home. I know how frustrating it is to follow a tutorial and for it to seem impossible to achieve what is shown in the picture. I’m planning to try and grow moss on these hands at some point – there’s pins on pinterest with moss lettering growing on walls which I suspect aren’t as achievable as they suggest, but it will be fun giving the method a go 🙂

      June 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm
  • Reply Angie

    Superb! I love your creativity!

    May 31, 2016 at 11:43 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    You seriously are the best mom, ever! Your kids have to love it. I think the hands are magnificent and that they would look great in any garden. I always love a bit of the odd or strange to shake things up! Just wait till Halloween!!!
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…#WAYWOW 50 What are you up to? Inspire me!My Profile

    May 25, 2016 at 3:38 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      They were such fun to make, Nikki – we were really pleased when we got them to work 🙂

      May 30, 2016 at 12:06 am
  • Reply Debbie

    Hi Sarah, these are excellent fun for the garden and something I can see Mum and Dad having in their garden, Dad pride and joy are his garden ornaments and as a child I remember him making garden ornaments using our empty bubble bath bottles as moulds.

    You could even put some hair (as in an old wig) on the soil to make it look really creepy!

    Love it!

    xx

    May 21, 2016 at 6:37 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Oh I like that idea Debbie, and the using bubble bath bottles as molds is fab too – will check out the shapes next time I’m shopping x

      May 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm
  • Reply Lisa (BadMammy.com)

    Absolutely love the Zombie route idea – these actually look really simple to make, great idea.
    Lisa (BadMammy.com) recently posted…Learning To Manage Chronic PainMy Profile

    May 15, 2016 at 9:57 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      We have had lots of fun discussions of what we might do with them Lisa – turns out my kids have evil minds when they get going!

      May 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm

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