Casting custom gloves for those with disabilities

Arkham Asylum

New Member
Hi everyone, I work in employment for persons with disabilities and have an individual who is Ectrodactyly, which is also known as split hand/foot malformation. They are pursuing a career in hairdressing and will have to wear nitryl type gloves.

As of the shelf gloves won't work for their particular hand shape I was thinking it might be possible to create a mold and cast/ slush cast/ dip a silicone or similar material to create small batch custom PPE gloves for the individual.

Any feedback or solutions experience you might offer to assist this young individual pursue their dream career would be appreciated.


Latex would be pretty simple to do the gloves. Just dip the hand castings in the liquid and then wait for it to dry. It does smell of ammonia while drying.

It strikes me that silicone might be trickier. You'd need to use a type that is pretty tough and durable, and the cure time tends to be much longer when it is in a thin sheet. Most silicones I have used tear easily when thin.
Agreed with Duncanator. I've used silicone gloves before and they will tear real fast:( I know that the syndrome is different for a lot of people...that is the way the hand digits are placed. You could try dishwashing latex gloves and modify them by trying to fit your hands/digits.
If your hand is equally separated (thumb + one digit, then a space and then the remaining two digits) you could cut the useless digit on the store-bought glove and glue the hole with crazy glue.
If the hands are not in this form, then the way to do it would be to dip your hand in latex and let it dry, as Duncanator had proposed in the first place.
To make the custom castings of their hands, I would recommend using alginate to make the molds. It is totally skin safe and fast.
It is a powder that you mix with water. Put it in a bucket, stick your hands in it, and in a short while it solidifies into a tough jello-like material.
Wiggle your hands out, and you are ready to go.
Then you can immediately pour on hydrocal plaster to cast the hands. Hydrocal is much stronger than regular plaster of paris.

There have got to be some videos of using alginate to make molds on the YouTubes.
One thing about alginate is that is does not last long. You often only get one casting out of it because the mold can tear.
Also the mold has zero shelf life once made. As it dries out it shrinks and gets brittle, so get your casting done right after making the mold.
Vinyl is flexible, but few things stretch anywhere as effectively as natural latex rubber - polyisoprene.

you can buy plastisol and a variety of levels of firmness. This is vinyl used for making anything from soft and rubbery fishing lures up to hard rubber pocket combs or doorstops. These are sold by industrial suppliers, the kind that shop teachers purchase from such as IASCO. Plastic saw is a thermostat material, you would dip your positive in it and then heat it.

Another option would be a product such as Plasti-Dip, which solidifies through evaporation.

A wide variety of silicone products are available from Smooth-On, but these would be too likely to tear. Silicone is flexible and stretches but doesn't have any real elongation strength.

The disadvantage of many materials is that they can be difficult to get your hands on in quantities anything smaller than industrial levels. There are some things that a 50 gallon drum is considered a unit size.

The most reasonable priced way to get your hands on night trial is the rubber coating sold at home improvement stores for RV roof, but I don't think it would be quite flexible enough without adding some form of plasticizer.

Smooth-On sells urethane rubbers which might possibly work.

Neoprene became rather difficult to find reasonable quantities, but there is one company that sells it in quarts and gallons - Creature Cast Rubber. This is a synthetic rubber that was invented after natural latex rubber became widely used.

One final option would be the Michael Dave theatrical cosmetics product named "Watermelon." This is a water soluble vinyl product that was originally intended to make bald caps but works quite well as a replacement for liquid latex. It air dries.

It can be dissolved by isopropyl alcohol to achieve very thin edges and you can even do it to an actor by dissolving the lower surface with some alcohol. It's mostly used for very shallow wounds because the skin color of the actor shows through nicely. Check out

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