How to make your own custom-fit hockey glove
Be sure to read these instructions completely before beginning - if you already know how
to work with silicone caulk, you'll definitely want to read the advanced tips at the bottom!
Prefer video tutorial? Try these:
Step 1 (base-layer)
Step 2 (padding-layer)
- You will need the following: a string-knit glove or similar fabric glove that fits your
hand comfortably. Some thin vinyl, latex or similar gloves to protect your hand from the silicone
(make sure they fit snugly - if they bunch up a lot, they won't work nearly as
well). 1 tube of 100% silicone caulk, any color. Make sure it is 100% silicone - not
'siliconized latex' or anything like that. A caulking gun.
- Go outdoors! The fumes are awful in a closed space.
- Get comfortable - you'll be sitting around for at least 20
or 30 minutes while the glove dries on your hand.
- Put 2 (two) of the vinyl or latex gloves on your right
hand, one over the other, followed by the fabric glove.
- Put 1 vinyl or latex glove on your left hand
- Open the caulk tube by cutting off roughly 1/2 an inch (1 centimeter) of the plastic
tip and puncturing the foil seal with a long
nail or a piece of wire (it works better if you punch a whole
bunch of holes in the seal instead of just one).
- Squirt small amounts of caulk on several places around the string knit
glove and then, using your left hand, smear it into the fabric
of the glove, all over. The goal is to impregnate the fabric
with caulk everywhere - this drastically improves the longevity
of the glove and also helps the next layer of silicone stick
better. Continue smearing and adding silicone to the dry spots
until you've got it rubbed in everywhere - don't forget in
between your fingers, fingertips, etc.
- carefully apply silicone in a thicker layer everywhere
that you want the glove to protect you from impacts - Probably the backs of all your fingers and thumb,
and possibly also the side of your index finger, the back of your hand, etc. Generally, the more silicone
you add during this process, the better protected your hand will be, but this comes at the price of reduced dexterity, as the added bulk of the silicone will make your hand and fingers less maneuverable in the water.
- (the tricky part). Using your left hand (or a popsicle stick, etc.), carefully 'tool'
the thick silicone. There's lots of things you can do with the
silicone as far as shaping, smoothing, etc. and they all take a
bit of practice to get good at. Basically, you're trying to
get a smooth, uniform layer of caulk without any loose edges or
big dollops that are going to snag and get torn later. You
might want to practice before-hand to learn the tricks, or just
think of your first glove as a practice run and then make a
second one later. The picture below shows a partially-padded glove. The padding layer has been added to the thumb, index finger, and little finger.
- Put your hand in a comfortable stick-holding position
(some people even put a stick in their hand during this part)
and sit around trying not to breathe fumes for 30 or 40
minutes. Drying time depends on temperature and humidity
(humid air actually speeds up the curing process since silicone
cures by reacting with moisture in the air) and also on how
thick you made the protective layer (thicker takes longer).
Once the surface of the silicone is dry enough to not stick to
you finger when you poke it, you can probably take the glove
off. The picture below shows a glove with a white base-layer and a blue padding layer. The tooling process is finished and the glove is being held while the caulk dries.
- this part is tricky, too. You want to avoid crushing or
twisting the glove too much while removing it. The best way to
get it off is to blow forcefully (and repeatedly) into the
space between the two vinyl/latex gloves. It'll take several
good, hard blows (make sure you don't get a big lungful of
silicone fumes in between breaths or you'll pass out and whack
your head on the barbecue grill), but eventually, the whole
glove will sort of puff up and slide off your fingers.
- once it's off, you can usually just hang the glove by it's
cuff using a clothespin. If the caulk is still
wet enough that the glove won't hold it's shape, you'll want to
wrap the fingers around a railing our something similar so it
stays in the right shape while drying.
Advanced Glove-making Tricks
If you've made a glove or two and feel like you've gotten the hang of it, I recommend
- For a thinner, more maneuverable glove, use a very thin inspection glove (often made of stitched sheer cotton or nylon). These gloves have far less bulk in places like between your fingers and therefore result in a finished product that inhibits manual dexterity only a fraction as much as a bulkier string-knit glove. The picture below shows an inspection glove (left) and a string-knit glove (right).
- If you like having a snug cuff at the wrist, put a hair-tie or similar piece of elastic over the wrist of the glove after smearing caulk into it. Then fold the protruding end of the glove's cuff up and over the hair-tie and press it into the caulk further up on the glove, sandwiching the hair-tie between the two layers of fabric. The picture below shows an inspection glove with a hair-tie already sandwiched in place at the wrist.
- For added impact protection, try adding thin strips of dense, flexible foam rubber (available at many hobby and craft stores) to the inside surfaces of the glove in the places where you tend to get hit by sticks, pucks, etc. You can glue or stitch them to the inside of the glove, or just rely on the tightness of the glove around your fingers to hold the foam in.
- Use clear silicone, mixed with a few drops of water-based acrylic paint (you can buy
little bottles of it very cheaply from arts-and-crafts stores). Use a plastic cup and a
posicle stick or similar for mixing up the caulk and paint, then apply the mixture to the
glove using your fingers and/or the popsicle stick. There are two advantages to this method:
- Your color choices are now practically unlimited. Bright, neon colors are especially
- Even more importantly, from a practical perspective, the water in the acrylic paint, when
mixed uniformly into the caulk, drastically speeds up the drying process - so much so that
you'll want to work quickly once you start mixing or the mixture will be too stiff to work with
before you finish shaping your glove.
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