Making a hand using a hand armature
Using a hand armature is completely optional. I tend to find myself using them mostly when the hand needs extra strength, such as they are holding something. But to be honest although its an extra bit of work to use one, I do find they force me to create a better looking hand than when I don’t use one.
So if you want to have one then this is one way to achieve it. In the tutorial below I am working with a pre-made hand armature. If you haven’t got one of these already then you should view my tutorial here on how to make one.
Work out your finger sizing. You can work out the size of her hand using her face. If you press your palm against your chin you can see your fingers end on the forehead. So just do the same for the doll and get the right sizing.
I have marked on the hand where the wrist starts and the palm ends. I also marked the fingers before chopping them to size
I used the dark vivid for the sake of the camera, you don’t have to mark it with such a dark colour.
Gently bend the fingers into the pose you want. This is where having a hand armature really makes things a bit easier, as the pose is done first and it will hold well.
Don’t forget fingers have two bends.
Before moving on, a quick test with the prop to ensure everything is right, and tweaking if needed.
Start adding the clay. Flatten a piece and wrap around the wrist and up onto the palm area. Smooth the seams
Pinch some of the clay up and onto the thumb area.
Add an extra ball of clay to fill out the palm.
Keep turning the hand around and sculpt from all sides.
Flatten a bit of clay into a sausage shape. Press on one side of the finger and then wrap the clay around and smooth the seam
Here’s a tip – when adding the finger sausages add to the harder to reach side. So if the fingers curve in you can add the clay on the inside, and then wrap them around ending on the outside where its easier for you to smooth out the seam.
Having trouble holding that little hand without it swinging around all the time? No problem – use a pair of hemostatic forceps. They are the perfect way to hold these fiddly little things
Finish each finger before working on the next. When you have all fingers in place you can add in the detail – knuckles, fingernails, palm lines…
Carefully check the item looks right with the prop. You may choose to part-bake it for 10min at 275F or 130C before adding it to your sculpture. To add I place the hand wire alongside the arm wire (making sure the length is correct) and use making tape to join together.
That’s all for this tutorial, I hope you enjoyed it. Questions? Feel free to use the comments below.