Thursday, March 14, 2013

An extra hand in the garden

by Debra Anchors

Image by Jacki Cammidge and Blue Fox Farm
I was inspired by an idea I found over on Blue Fox Farm. Jacki Cammidge created her hypertufa hands using Portland cement powder, peat moss and perlite.  I absolutely love this idea, but desired something sturdier in my Midwest garden, so I modified the instructions.

To create these, gather the following materials:
  1. The largest size (powder-free) surgical gloves you can find
  2. A fast-setting cement (Quikrete© Vinyl Concrete Patch works well)
  3. Play sand or an empty pot for use in forming the hands
  4. A razor blade
  5. Small pieces of cardboard
  6. Rubber band(s)

  • Mix the cement as the package directs, obtaining a putty-like consistency. 
  • Fill and then empty your gloves with water; be certain all water is drained. The goal is to dampen the inside of the gloves.
  • Fill your gloves with the prepared concrete product.
  • Make a pin-prick at the end of each finger of the glove and consistently and carefully push any air out of the gloves as you fill with the concrete.
  • Close the wrist end of the gloves with a rubber band
  • Form the filled, gloved fingers in a bed of wet play sand, or use a planter or dish to hold your ‘hand’ in the desired position. 
  • Before the cement begins to set, slip a piece of cardboard between the fingers (the gloves will be easier to remove with space separating the fingers).
  • Place your cement hands in the shade to dry (at least 48 hours).
  • Once the hands are dry enough to handle and can be easily removed from the gloves, cut the gloves with a razor blade and then carefully pull them loose from the cement.
  • Brush the outside of your cement hands with a wire brush to give them a rustic and aged look.  Once you have achieved the desired appearance, immerse your sculptures into a bucket of clean water for 3 or more days to fully cure the cement.
Note:  For convenience, I have embedded links into the text that will take you to the products used in this project.

Recycle, upcycle and do it yourself? Absolutely! Have you upcycled something unique for your garden from recycled materials? Please share it with me so I can feature your creation here.

If you enjoy this website, you might like my magazine, Gardening Life. AND, don’t miss my more traditional gardening website, Gardens Inspired.

I hope you found inspiration today. Remember to subscribe, so you won't miss a thing!

Until next time -


  1. Awesome and I can't wait to try for My gardens! Thank You <3

    1. Hello Elizabeth, I am happy you stopped in! When you finish your "extra hand in the garden", I would LOVE to see a picture if you can. -Debra

  2. I love this idea. Could you add color to the cement, and would you use a sealer on it? Thanks for a gteat idea.

    1. Hi Brenda! I'm happy you had some time to drop in. I see no reason why you could not add color to the cement if you want to. In regard to the sealer, I would not, but then that is my preference. I love the idea of moss covering the hand, so would not seal it. I'm happy you like the idea. If you decide to make one of your own, would you please send me a picture?

  3. on my way to the hardware store! so super excited. colored sand in the mix might give the rustic look too. oh so many ideas, crushed old brick would look awesome......hope my daughter is ready looks like we have multiple projects today. can't wait to share this with her teacher great charter school project!

    1. I am happy you like this project, Krystal! Please share a picture of the kids creating these; I will add it to the post!

  4. way cool! made a huge rhubarb leaf about 5 years ago. Awesome! Got a wedding reception in our yard and I would love to add this touch.

    1. Good luck Jacqueline! I love personal touches in the garden, especially during an event . . . like a WEDDING!

  5. Hi Debra, thanks so much for the callout, but just so you know, these images are copyrighted. I have no objection to you using this method to make your very own hands, but would appreciate you linking to my site, or don't use the images at all. Thanks for understanding.

    1. Hello, Jacki - This post has been linked to yours from the beginning; both to your "about" page and also to your Blue Fox Farm site. Please find the links under the photograph to which you are referring. -Debra

  6. Could you make a video of how this is done please?

  7. I love these hands--could be used in a "Rest in Peace Pet Garden"