How to Make a Poseable Hand

This air-dry clay tutorial from Minenko shows us how to model thin, delicate, but strong fingers.  It is loosely translated below from Russian to English.   Please go to her website for step by step photos and full hand modeling tutorial.

Minenko says the materials needed for this project are:
  1. Wire to build the frame of the hand (any thin: copper, floral,) 
  2. Floral tape (sticky paper tape in various colors, sold in florist shops) for covering wire
  3. Your choice of air-dry clay (LaDoll or Creative Paperclay suggested)
  4. Creative mood 
  • Get started to build skeleton fingers by wrapping wire with floral tape (see photo).  In this case she used green floral wire because it was convenient.
  • Combine 5 wires together and wrap wrist.  Cut wire into the required length for your dolls. Slowly, gently and firmly wrap each piece of wire which are supposed to be fingers and palm. Thus, five wires - five fingers, look at the picture of  what you should have.   Repeat this process for one more doll hand. 
  • Take the five ready wrapped fingers and collect them into a shape and tape palm and wrist.  
  • Tape again around thumb and palm.  The result is a very cute "bunch" of five thin wires with palm.  See photo.  Take care to create fingers and palm  proportionality.
  • At this point the fun begins.  Begin fanning out and shaping fingers into the hand gesture.  Adjust the length of fingers if needed.  
  • Apply the air-dry clay to cover the palm and fingers.  Do not forget that now is the time to position the hand you've conceived and to bend the fingers and wrist into their final pose.  
  • To add more clay to an area of dried clay, make a creamy slip by adding water to some clay and apply to dried area (apply slurry with brush).   It should easily adhere.  Wait til it dries and repeat the procedure until the desired thickness.   (In this case, she's working with Paperclay.) 
  • The same is repeated with a second hand.  With careful modeling you can bestow your character with two exquisite, thin hands. 

If you're afraid the floral tape will get displaced with further modeling, prime the wire frame with white glue.   This will add rigidity and allow the tape to adhere.

When modeling the hands, make use of  tools such as synthetic brushes, clay modeling tools or dental instruments. 

Continue to work, smoothing over carefully, adding small layers of clay.   Form appropriate thickening, bends, wrinkles on the fingers, etc,  to the taste and concept. 

When fully cured, polish the finished product with the help of fine sandpaper, synthetic brushes, water and/or wet wipes.

Wait for hands to dry completely and paint them a fleshtone (if you were not using a pre-tinted clay).   Do not forget to seal the finished product with a clear, matte spray.  It will protect clay from moisture and other adverse environments. 


  1. This is an incredible hand tutorial. Thank you so very much for posting it.
    Teresa in California

  2. beautiful hands, just wish you would have added more pictures for us dyslexic people who have a hard time understanding written instructions

    1. There's a link in the article to the original Russian tutorial with photos; this is an English translation to go with those pictures.

    2. Unfortunately, the link no longer works! But thank you for providing the instructions!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. Your hands have beautiful expression.


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