Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giant hands Part 2

To recap from Giant Hands part 1. I cut lengths of PVC, used the toggle nut from a toggle bolt as a spring hinge, and then screwed all of the fingers into my wooden base. From there I added a lauan cutout to the back of the hand to compete the shape between the fingers and wrist. 
I ended up having to go back and redo many of the joints to replace the screws. Especially at the joints closer to the hand, where they took much more stress, since the screws weren't locked into anything on the inside of the hinge they were loosening themselves. I replaced the bad ones with machine screws (or machine bolts, whichever you prefer to call them). I bought nylon lock nuts, and used them on the ends of the machine screws to make them hold tight. 
Next I started to skin the hands. I used a stretch lycra fabric I purchased at JoAnns (in with the dance and swimwear fabrics). I sewed long tubes and turned them inside out to cover the hands, then stretched the rest of the fabric around the palm and stapled it in place. I also used a little hot glue in places where I couldn't get a staple. 

I painted the handle black so it would disappear by the laws of theatre magic. I used heavy duty beading thread to stitch through the eye bolts in the tips of the fingers and then ran them through eye bolts in the center of the palm.
I've found this thread under the name "spider wire" before. This version was at Michaels under the name "Dandy Line." It looks and feels like button thread, but it is rated for up to 20 pounds.
I tied all five lines off to a clip. 
The clip hooked into a grommet on the actors belt. By pulling their hands away from their body, the actors were able to pull the hands into a fist.
Unfortunately the pictures of the giants in action aren't very good. They kept their heads down and often huddled in a circle, but you'll have to believe me that when they punched and pointed and scratched their heads they looked awesome.
Overall a success. If I had to do it again I would probably work in some foam or stuffing to shape the back of the hand, and I would look for a more rigid belt (the belts were wide elastic so sometimes they were the point of least resistance and would stretch instead of pulling the strings tight).

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