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This Incredibly Handy DIY Project Makes For Some Quirky, Personalized Home Decor

You might consider yourself handy, but do you want to do even more with your hands? This crafty hand project is a great way to immortalize kids’ ages and make a unique family portrait. Oh, and they can also double as the creepiest coatracks ever. They’re tons of fun to make, and are a lot less expensive than they look.

Creepy, disembodied hands reaching out from the walls? The perfect accent piece in any home!

Creepy, disembodied hands reaching out from the walls? The perfect accent piece in any home!

This DIY project uses two main materials: plaster of Paris and alginate. Alginate is the purple goop dentists use to make molds of teeth. It’s totally non-toxic, so don’t worry.

First, you’ll need to gather your materials:

  • A pitcher
  • 2 measuring cups, one for liquids and one for dry materials
  • A wooden spoon
  • A container deep enough to submerge a hand
  • Water
  • Alginate (available on Amazon)
  • Plaster of Paris (available at most hardware stores)
  • A small, sharp knife
  • Picture hangers with push-in pins (if hanging)

Mix your alginate and water according to the package. Stir to work out any lumps, but work quickly, as this stuff sets in only a few minutes.

Mix your alginate and water according to the package. Stir to work out any lumps, but work quickly, as this stuff sets in only a few minutes.

Once you’re happy with the consistency, pour it into your mold container. A mid-sized plastic storage tub works best.

Dip your hands or your model’s hands.

Dip your hands or your model's hands.

Make sure they’re not touching the bottom or sides. Dip the hand up to the widest part, around the base of the thumb. If you go up to your wrist, you may not be able to get the wider part of your hand out of the narrow opening without damaging the mold. Wiggle your fingers to work out any air pockets, then wait for 10 minutes for the alginate to harden. When the top feels firm, wiggle your fingers gently to loosen and slip your hand out.

Mix up your plaster as per the instructions on the package. Slowly pour into the mold, making sure the plaster is getting into all the small crevices. When finished filling, tap the sides of the container to release any air bubbles.

Mix up your plaster as per the instructions on the package. Slowly pour into the mold, making sure the plaster is getting into all the small crevices. When finished filling, tap the sides of the container to release any air bubbles.

Never, and we mean never, put your hand directly into plaster to make a mold. It won’t work, and you’ll have a heck of a time freeing your hand. Plaster also gets really, really hot when it’s drying (thanks to chemistry!), and it’ll be very uncomfortable.

Let your plaster harden for a few hours. The longer you wait, the harder the plaster will become. When the plaster is dry, take the whole mold out of the container and place on a work surface with the “wrist” side down and fingers up. The mold container can be washed.

Let your plaster harden for a few hours. The longer you wait, the harder the plaster will become. When the plaster is dry, take the whole mold out of the container and place on a work surface with the "wrist" side down and fingers up. The mold container can be washed.

If it spills over the top a bit, that’s okay. You can break it off later.

Slowly and carefully carve away the alginate using a small, sharp knife. You should be able to peel it away from the plaster to reveal the detailed hand beneath. Be very careful not to nick the surface of your plaster.

Slowly and carefully carve away the alginate using a small, sharp knife. You should be able to peel it away from the plaster to reveal the detailed hand beneath. Be very careful not to nick the surface of your plaster.

This process will take time, but you’ll be left with a perfect replica of the hand at the end. When the cast is free, leave it in a warm, dry place for a few days to dry completely.

To hang the hands on the wall, use these picture hangers. Even after drying, the hanger will be easily pushed into the plaster. Push firmly but gently.

To hang the hands on the wall, use these picture hangers. Even after drying, the hanger will be easily pushed into the plaster. Push firmly but gently.

If you don’t want to hang them, they also make great paperweights or really interesting sculptures.

Now you can hang them anywhere! Consider putting them by a door to hang lightweight items.

Now you can hang them anywhere! Consider putting them by a door to hang lightweight items.

It’s also a good idea to give them a protective coat, since plaster is porous. You can use a clear coating like Mod Podge, or white acrylic paint if you like the plain white look. You can even use colored acrylic paints to decorate them any way you like!

(source Mom Spark)

This project is time consuming and a bit messy, so you might want to save it for a weekend or when you have some time. Still, it’s a great way to create some easy, unique crafts or gifts. They’re also perfectly personalized, too — right down to your fingerprints!

And remember: never dump plaster into the sink! Dump it outside and spray it down with a hose.