Zombie Hand How-To



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Tombstone Applique How-To 

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Baby Corpse  How-To


This is how I make my zombie arms too.

The supplies are few and simple. Here's a list. I'll expand on the list below.

  • wire
  • masking tape
  • styrofoam
  • latex floor/carpet adhesive
  • cotton batting
  • wire cutters
  • thick black sharpie pen
  • rubber/latex gloves (optional)
  • minwax stain
  • sponge brushes
  • wax paper to work on


  • WIRE. You can use plain wire hangers but I use 16 gauge wire (HomeDepot or Lowes) $5-7 will buy you a roll that will be enough to make hundreds of hands and arms.
  • STYROFOAM (any size can be cut to work)
    a. Can be replaced by rolling up balls of masking tape, It's just more time consuming and harder to force onto the wire and you risk stabbing your hand while trying to force it onto the wire.. Foam is much easier if you have it. This tutorial works with foam.
  • 1 CAN OF LATEX FLOOR/CARPET ADHESIVE (Walmart for about $5). It's low oder so you can work indoors and if you catch it before it dries on your hand or brush, washes with soap and water.
  • RUBBER OR LATEX GLOVES (if you don't want to have to rush to the sink and rinse your hands often. But not necessary).
  • COTTON BATTING (found in any store that has a fabric section. It's generally used as pillow stuffing)
    a. This tutorial uses batting, but cotton balls stretched out, white paper towels or bagged spider webbing will work as well. I happened to have a bag of batting on hand so that's what I use in this tutorial.
  • WIRE CUTTERS for cutting wire.
  • THICK POINT BLACK SHARPIE PEN for marking on the wire.
  • 2 FOAM BRUSHES (one for latex, the other for the stain that you will use to color your corpse). I use foam-sponge brushes as they're cheap...about 30 cents each. I've done 4 arms and one hand in latex with one 1" foam brush (washing often) and can probably get another hand out of the brush before having to toss it. Not bad for about 30 cents.
    a. Look for water rinsing stain if you want to make your life easier.
    b. Different people prefer different color stain. Wallnut works well, as does Mahagony. It's up to you and the final look you want.
  • WAX PAPER to work upon.


Cut 5 long pieces of wire and space them from the base using your wrist and hand as a guide and tape them in place. Then using your own hand as a guide again, mark with a sharpie where to cut the finger tip lengths. Then snip them to the proper length. I snip them at a sharp angle (this will help later on when you have to impail the foam knuckle joints). I also put a smaller piece of wire across the base of the wrist and tape it in place to steady the finger wires. This makes a total of 6 pieces of wire.

Mark your knuckle location on the wires with a thick Sharpie using your own hand as a guide. And using your own thumb as a guide, bend the thumb joint into the proper angle. Bend/pose the fingers any way you want at this point. I'm keeping the fingers flat on this hand so that you can better see my results in the photos.

Cut 14 small cubes of foam to use as knuckle knots. Aim for about 1/4" cubes. Some cubes will be larger than others because you can't be exact. So plan out where you want your foam knots (or tape balls) to go by size (with the larger ones being at the base of the fingers and the smaller ones at the tips).

Don't worry about the cubic shape of foam knots. The masking tape you add later on will round them out.

*NOTE* the pic below shows all the knuckle knots impailed onto the fingers as a demonstration.. Lay out your knots in the order you wish to place them aside. Do not impail them all on your armature at this time. They're easier to work with one at a time so just set them aside for now.

*NOTE* that I cut notches into the masking tape at the base of the hand towards the wrist. At this time, the armature can support itself and this will create a more realistic corpse hand.

One at a time, impail the foam knuckle knots onto the armature and using small pieces of masking tape, wrap in place. This is where you kinda round off the cubic shape of the foam knots. Continue adding/taping all the knuckle knots with tape. This step holds the knuckle knots in place and prevents sliding during the next step.

Now we form the finger bones with tape. Take a long piece of tape and lay it lengthwise over a finger bone. Then bend/wrap it around the armature and knuckles.

Fingers and knuckle knots taped and in place...(note the thumb angles and bends).

Now we work on the wrist. Make 6 balls of masking tape and arrange as shown.

Then take a strip of masking tape and adhear them in place...

...You now have a skeleton hand armature.

Now it's time to bring it to life (or ummm...death). Assemble your armature, cotton batting, latex floor/carpet adhesive, brush and wax paper together...

(At this point it would be wise to plan ahead and bend some wire into a hook for you to hang your hand on while the latex dries later and pick out a place to hang it. I use my diningroom chandelier.)

Lay down a strip of wax paper work upon.

Cut a piece of cotton batting that will fit the thumb and base of the hand.

Coat the thumb and base of hand with latex and wrap the cotton batting around and upon it. It should look something like this:

Then brush over the cotton with more latex and pull and wrap it here and there. I find that you need a good load of latex on your brush or else the brush will just stick to the cotton and pull it badly. Load the brush thick and anchor the edge of the cotton with adhesive first, then lightly pull it across the cotton.

You'll find that the cotton will stretch further then you anticaped, just add more latex and Shape it as you think it should look. The stretching gives the corpse hand a great rotted flesh look. Here is what I ended up with at this point...

You can build up latex/cotton to add flesh where you want here and there dependent on the amount of decay appearance you wish.

Below is a top and bottom view of my hand. I will finish it off by sponging on some redwood or oak colored minwax stain.

And remember that the armature is made of wire so you can pose them any way and time you want!

Top of hand...

Bottom of hand...

A big consideration is carpet/floor latex vs regular latex...regular latex is noxious...horrible stench and is uber expensive. Carpet/floor latex is much cheaper but dries slower. I used carpet latex. It dries to the touch with a day or so but stays tacky/sticky for weeks to months (Dependant on moisture conditions). Carpet latex requires a good safe place to store/hang but once it dries completely, it's good to go for years and looks just as good as the more expensive stinky latex.

If you brush it with talc, you don't have to worry about the tacky factor. I haven't tried that yet though but it sounds like it would work fine.

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