Build the Hand

The inspiration for this project came from a really cool masking-tape hand a student brought to light up in our afterschool Halloween-themed CPX class. I found these instructions for making the hand and adapted them just a bit. Based on that experience, I have some tips to share:

  • Work on somebody else's hand if you can. The original instructions say it's easier to do this with a friend, and they are definitely right. Once you've got one of your own hand covered in masking tape, it's hard (though not impossible) to carry out the rest of the steps.
  • Get the biggest hand you can find for your model. If the fingers of your masking tape hand are too small, you'll have trouble getting LEDs inside.
  • Suggestion: Try a stuffed glove. If you don't have a friend with monster-sized mitts, try stuffing a winter glove (the stiffer the better) with crumpled-up paper and using that as your hand model!

Here's what to do:

Wrap the Masking Tape

Use a wooden tongue depressor, disposible straw, or a straw-sized paper tube to create a little space between the tape and your hand. 

For your first layer, wrap the masking tape sticky side out. You can anchor it to your stick/straw to help you get started.

Wrap your palm mummy-style. (Don't make it too tight.) Then move onto the first finger. Remember to curl up your fingers to give them that ominous look.

Spread your fingers apart before going onto the next finger. If you're having difficulty using one long piece of tape, it's fine to use shorter pieces. In fact, you can slather on multiple pieces, like paper mâché. Just make sure to attach the new pieces to the rest of the taped area.

Go back and cover some of your wrist as well. When you have completely covered your hand with tape, start the second layer with the sticky side in. You can cover any small gaps with this second layer, or leave them in if you like that effect. Just make sure all there aren't any large gluey areas uncovered.

Remove the Taped Hand

To remove the taped hand, carefully cut up along the tongue depressor or straw, as far as necessary. Gently extract your hand from inside.

Once the taped hand is off, you can fix any spots with additional tape -- but don't make too many layers so the light can shine through!

You will close the seam up later with more tape, but for now, leave it open.

You can also add more tape later, if needed, to even out the bottom so the hand can stand up on its own.

This guide was first published on Oct 28, 2019. It was last updated on Oct 28, 2019. This page (Build the Hand) was last updated on Jan 11, 2020.