Casting Hands in Alginate

Hand Casting

You will need:
– x1 empty  2 litter bottle
– Scissors
– Vaseline (Not a necessity)
– Access to water
– Power drill
– Squirrel piece to fit onto drill
– x2 Flexible bucket
– Alginate (roughly one and a half bags)
– Plaster
– Flexible bowl
– Metal filing tool


First we prepared the mould casing. To do this we cut the top off a 2 litter bottle using a pair of shape scissors (be careful! Keep your fingers well out of the way). We made sure there was no shape pointy bits as this could scratch our models arm during casting. If you want to cast both hands at a time you need to find a large mould casing so you can fit both hands in without touching the sides. Once we had cut the bottle to size we needed to place it correctly so that our models hand could hang freely into the bottle without touching the bottom.


Next we mixed a batch of alginate. As it was a large batch we used a flexible bucket and a power drill with a squirrel mechanism attached to the end to mix it better. To make sure we didn’t make too much alginate we measured the amount by filling up the cut up 2 litter bottle leaving around 1-2 inches at the top. We made sure the water was tepid and not hot as this would boost the curing time giving us a shorter working time. We added the water to the bucket and gradually sprinkled in the alginate whilst drilling. Once the mixture was similar to a lumpy custard texture it was ready to pour.

special effects creature desing1 019

We only have around 3minutes to pour the alginate before it starts to vulcanise (set/cure) so we had to pour it instantly after mixing.We asked our model to dangle her hand comfortably into the bottle so I was able to pour it down one side to eliminate bubbles. Hannah (our model) wriggled her hand ever so slightly to get rid of any air bubbles attached to her hands. The alginate set pretty quickly however we left it for a further 5 minutes to ensure it was completely vulcanized.

Tip! If your model had dry skin or suffers from eczema you can add a light layer of petroleum jelly to the hand and wrist prior to mixing the alginate, this may trap extra air bubbles however.

special effects creature desing1 022

Once cured, we then asked Hannah to gently wriggle her fingers to allow air into the mould. This is a really important stage as if the air didn’t gradually work its way down the cast the fingers would suction together resulting in tears in the alginate. We made sure to release Hannah’s hand slowly and steadily to prevent any tears as alginate is a flexible but fragile material.


Once Hannah’s hand was free this is what we were left with!

We then mixed up a batch of plaster to pour into the hand cast (the negative) to make the positive. To do this we began by adding a cup of cold water to a plastic (easy bendable) mixing bowl then gradually sieved handfuls of plaster on top of the water until the surface looked like wet cracked sand. We then left it to stand for a few seconds and then mixed it with our hands to make sure there were no lumps or air bubbles as this will affect the quality of the positive. (The plaster should be of a similar consistency to double cream).

combnination for plaster making

We didn’t pour all the plaster in at first as we wanted to do a light coating first to make sure we got as much of the detail caught by the alginate. To do this we poured plaster into the finger tips only and then picked up the mould and rolled the plaster around to make sure all the edges we covered (If anyone has ever rolled glazed pottery it is pretty much the same method). Once we had done that we then slowly filled up the rest of the mould. We continued to fill the mould up to the top to create a base so the hand could stand up once set.


We then left the plaster to cure for around half an hour. (If possible leave for longer as the plaster was still a little damp and fragile when we took it out). Once set we then began to remove the negative.


First we gently cut away the cup being careful not to dig the scissors into the alginate underneath.


Once the plastic bottle was removed we then began to chip away at the alginate piece by piece with a wooden tool. We had to make sure we were really careful when doing this as we don’t want to damage the plaster as this will eliminate vital details if scratched, details such as the small lines, creases and the texture of the skin is vital when creative a silicone hand for example as those little details make the piece look more realistic.


Once all the alginate it removed you then have your positive! If there is any air bubbles or imperfections they can easily be filed down gently with a metal tool. When filing away imperfections it is important that you try to follow the natural lines in the skin as this is more forgiving if you accidently scratch the plaster.


Then you’re done!

Evaluation / Reflection:
Overall I thought the process was quite straight forward and a lot easier than expected. If I was to do this process again I would perhaps make sure our model has all her fingers separated as Hannah’s little finger was touching her ring finger. However it is hard to judge the positioning of your hand when you can not see it due to the Alginate. A way of overcoming this problem is to use a larger container so our model doesn’t have to be so careful not to touch the edges of the bottle – this may result in using a larger amount of alginate however it will give a better result.

Thanks for visiting my blog! If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Katy x


Glatzan – Brow blocking Experiment (Gone wrong!)

Hello! Ok, so during yesterday’s lesson the full class was asked to demonstrate different ways in which to block out natural eye brows. we were all split into different groups and assigned different methods. Our group was assigned the Latex OR Cap Plastic (Glatzan) method. I have often experimented with covering my own natural eye brows using the glue stick method (There are plenty of tutorials for this method on YouTube) ~I did this for my ‘Drag Queen’ make-up I shall post a link bellow! I personally found it the easiest way to cover the eyebrows however it was time consuming as you have to wait for each coat of glue to dry completely before applying anything on top of it.

combineeeDrag Queen Make-up –

When researching into covering the eyebrows with Cap Plastic we could barely find anything! Our group had previously worked with both Cap Plastic and Latex however we had never used it so near the eyes before. So after revising the health and safety datasheets we then felt comfortable and safe to experiment with the products.

What is a product datasheet?
A datasheet is a document summarising the performance, and characteristics of a product. It also includes the properties of the product along with health and safety risks and first aid precautions.

We decided to only demonstrate the cap plastic method as in theory it would be more effective. We had previously used this material when making bald caps and remember it blending really well onto the skin with acetone. Latex however has a different texture to the skin completely and personally I find it really difficult into the natural skin as make-up products react differently on it. e.g. some foundations simply glide off and gather in the creases and edges of the latex.

Ideally I would have preferred to practice coving the brows with Glatzan Prior to demonstrating it in front of the class however we didn’t manage to have time to do it as each layer of cap plastic took longer than expected to dry.

You will need:
Glass tile
Plastic wrap (or a clear plastic bag)
Clear sticky tape
Marker pen
Glatzan (cap plastic)
Cheap Brush
Glue stick jelly
Translucent powder and blush brush
Spirit gum
cotton buds / cotton pads
Greasepaints (preferably rubber mask paints)
Brushes (to blend the greasepaint on)
Bond Off  (for removal process)


To ensure we made a piece that was the correct shape we took a pattern of our models eyebrows by using a plastic wrap method. To make the pattern we began by placing a square of plastic wrap over her eyebrow and used sticky tape to strengthen and mold the plastic to the shape of her face. As the plastic is see through we were able to see her natural brow shape on the top of the plastic. Once we had drawn on the brow we then were able to remove the plastic leaving us with a pattern.

We then placed the pattern under a class tile. The next step was to prepare the glass. First we added a light layer of petroleum jelly over the pattern and added translucent powder over the top with a light blush brush. This prevents the Glatzan from sticking to the glass surface. We then prepared for the next step – applying the Glatzan.

To make sure that the brushed don’t get permanently damaged we made sure to have a cup of acetone to drip the brush in after each coat. We added each coat in a cross hatch directions making sure each coat was completely dry before adding the next coat. We also added a light coat of powder in between each coat to make it easier to apply the next coat. We added around 4-5 layers gradually moving inwards to make sure we had a thinner bendable edge.

Once completely dry we then gradually peeled away the plastic, this left us with a small piece that we can blend over the eye brows.


Tip! There is a different method however.. Instead of layering the Glatzan onto a glass tile you can add it onto an orange as this provides a pour like texture and gives it a natural roundness.

First we cleansed and toned the eyebrow area to make sure the piece would adhere to the skin. Next we flattened the eye-brow down with a glue stick – simply running it along the brow. (I didn’t add enough layers of glue down during the demonstration so it unfortunately didn’t turn out as I had hoped however, I intend to have another go and perfect it!) We then added spirit gum around the eye brow and laid the Glatzan piece over the top and blended out the edges with a small brush loaded with acetone. If you choose to use water based spirit gum, you do have the option to stick the brow down with that as it can be removed from the brow hair easily.
Health and safety! Before using any runny substances such as Acetone near the eye – make sure you do not over load the brush as you want to prevent any drips around the eyes. Also, be sure to hold cotton pads over the eye just as a precaution (you can often asked you model to help you out with that).


Next we had to use the colour correction theory to further block out the brows as you were still able to see the underlying hairs as Glatzan is quite transparent. To do this we used a combination of white and red greasepaint to create a pink rose shade that would combat the dark undertones. It is best to use rubber mask greasepaint as these are more compatible as they do not slide or move. Once the dark tones were colour corrected we then moved on to building up the natural flesh tones over the top with greasepaint and foundation (MAC studio tech).  And that is pretty much it!
If you would like to know more on colour correction theory just click the following link:

Tip! If you do not have access to rubber mask greasepaint – add a few drops of caster oil to your pallet to make your very own rubber mask compatible paints! 

What we learned:

  • Always make sure to flatten the brows completely before applying Glatzan or latex pieces
  • Always colour correct the area first to eliminate any dark underlying hair
  • Only colour correct the area that needs it
  • Use a gental buffing motion on top of the Glatzan
  • Always follow the pattern made for your model
  • Applying Glatzan to a orange provides a curved shape and can imitate pour texture
  • Use rubber mask paints as they will not slide around and they also last longer
  • Always remember to look at the health and safety regulations before experimenting
  • And finally.. Practice makes perfect!

Evaluation / Reflection:
Although this was an unsuccessful attempt I now feel more confident to work with Glatzan again. I intend to experiment further with the product as I really like the way it blends seamlessly into the skin. If I was to use this technique again I would most definitly practice more, I would also stick the eyebrow down flatter before applying the piece as they did raise up slightly resulting in a blistered effect. I intend to keep trying this technique until I perfect it as I feel it will be a really effective way to cover over the brows. I would also have made a smaller piece therefore I wouldn’t have to eliminate the feathered out edges by cutting them down in order for them to fit better. Overall I think this task has been a really good learning curb which has encouraged me to experiment with more materials in my kit.

Let my know if you have any questions!
Thanks for visiting! 

Katy x