Materials Used for Handprint Molds

By Diane Hill
Handprint molds can make a good gift.

There is nothing more unique than a person's handprint and making handprint molds can personalize just about anything. Handprint molds make a lasting impression and create a keepsake that can make a special gift. Handprint molds are used in important ceremonies to commemorate special events and places and can also be a fun and simple activity for children.

Plaster of Paris

Plaster of Paris is the same material used to make casts for broken bones and is readily available at arts and crafts stores. You can make a handprint mold by mixing the plaster and pouring it in a container. Place the hand on the plaster for 20 seconds and let dry. Plaster of Paris heats and shrinks and can burn skin, so never attempt to immerse or cast your hand or arm in plaster.

Cement

Cement handprints can be found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but you can easily make your own. Cement mixes are available at hardware stores and you can alter your mixture to your needs by adding sand. Pour the cement into the container of your choice and let it set. Add a thin layer of cement and place the hand in it for 30 seconds. If the cement is runny and the handprint won't set, let it rest longer and try again. Put vegetable oil or petroleum jelly on the hand before placing it in the cement so that it will not stick.

Clay

You can use clay to make a handprint and then fire and glaze it to make a keepsake or gift. Make a round ball of clay and press it into a disc. You can mold the clay into the shape of your choice as long as it has enough room for the handprint. Place the hand on the clay and press down without moving. The print is made with pressure instead of amount of time, so you can start over if you do not like the print. Fire the clay print and glaze. You can also use modeling clay that will air dry.

Alginate Gel

Alginate molding gel is a water-based gel made from kelp that is used often in making objects for special effects in films. The gel comes in a powder that you mix with water and gives you from four to eight minutes to make a cast. Pour the gel into a container and place the hand in it. After it is dry remove the hand. You can put oil on the hand before making the cast to remove it from the gel with ease. Alginate can be used to make a handprint or a 3-D mold of the entire hand. Pour plaster or wax in the mold to make a 3-D cast of the mold.