How to Make Cheap Clay Fangs

November 1, 2012 § 5 Comments

Halloween this year worried me in one way: I was going as my D&D character, a tiefling (human with part demon ancestry), and I had no idea how to make her characteristic pointy teeth and ugly tusks on the cheap.  A friend, T., said she’d had luck making vampire teeth out of Sculpey III – just moulding it to her tooth, baking it, and then sliding it on so it stayed all by itself.  Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I gave it a go, and here’s the result:

ImageIt’s a pretty self-explanatory process, but I’ve typed it up anyway.  I ran into a lot of folks at the party who were as surprised and excited as I was to learn that you could make cheap vampire teeth / fangs / monster teeth / ugly tusks / whatever nasty teeth you desire, my friends.  Hurrah!

Disclaimer:  Not for kids.  I take no responsibility for anyone choosing to put non-edible substances in their mouth. This method isn’t recommended so much as it is awesome.

1. Buy Supplies.  Any Michael’s will carry Sculpey III, although I recommend calling a locally-owned craft store if you have one and asking if they have it instead.

 I would have preferred the ‘translucent’, but they were out, so I bought pearl, which was kind of sparkly.  The shade of white mattered less than I thought – but that’s probably because I burnt it.  One little pack will be enough for an army of teeth.

2. Make ’em.  Form the Sculpey III into the shape you want (ie…a point), then push it over the tooth you want to cover.  You want to get clay on both sides of your actual tooth so it can get a good grip.  Slide it off once you have the tooth imprint, and gently plop it on tinfoil for baking.

3. Bake ’em.  I think Sculpey III is supposed to be baked in the oven (no microwaves, folks) at 375 degrees for a certain amount of time per 1/8 in., but I’m not so good at following directions.  What I learned was:  bake them for as little time as possible.  Check on them after a few minutes.  If you let them cool off and find they don’t harden, well, stick ’em back in.  Mine burned very quickly, leaving me with unsavory blackened fangs.  Sculpey III is best baked on a tray made of tinfoil.  Let them cool completely before trying them out to see if they fit.

4. Rinse mouth and Repeat.  It took me a number of tries to get each tooth right.  Out of my first batch, only one slid onto my tooth to my liking.  Others had moved before or during and didn’t fit, or broke when I tried them out.

What I found myself doing was sliding on the fang that I liked from the first batch, and then making several versions of the fang next to it.  You have to wear the one that already works, to make sure they’ll butt up against each other just right and fit together.  So I’d wear my left fang, and mould 4 different right fangs, bake them, let them cool, and usually one of those 4 would work perfectly.

I made 4 fangs for my top teeth, and two short tusks for my bottom teeth.  I’d burned most of them so badly that none of them matched the look I was going for, so I painted the front of them with acrylic paint and glazed them.  I can’t recommend this as you really shouldn’t put acrylic paint in your mouth…although, you should’t put Sculpey III in your mouth either.  If anyone has a mouth-approved solution for painting burnt fangs, let me know.  Whatever you do, *never* use oil paints in situations like this.

 5. Stick ’em.  Some fangs held onto my teeth pretty well on their own, but others would slip off the moment I took moved my mouth.

I stood in the pharmacy line at Walgreens, and brashly asked the lady at the window to recommend a strong denture glue.  Without batting an eye, she said Poligrip was the most popular.  I’d tried Fixodent once, and found it mealy – plus it had failed to hold on my plastic vampire fangs.  Whether it was medium or brand at work, the Poligrip worked excellently.  Just squirt a little bit into the part of the fang that touches your tooth, stick the fang on, and hold for a few seconds.  I’d bring the tube with you in case you need to reapply – or lend your fanged friends some.

Removing the fangs is easy, just wiggle them a touch and pull them off, totally painless.  The denture glue, it turns out, is more of a suggestive paste than something that forms a bond.  If I hadn’t been so lazy I could have easily taken out the fangs, rinsed the globs of denture glue out of my mouth, eaten tasty party treats, re-rinsed, and stuck them back in with another glob o’ glue.

Upsides to this method:
– It was cheap!   I’ve passed over expensive fangs time and time again – and finally I’ve found a method that fits my pocket along with my teeth.  One little pack of Sculpey III will last me for many experimental teeth to come.
– I was able to make unique short bottom-tooth tusks for my character.

Downsides to this method:
– You’re putting Sculpey III in your mouth.  It’s not edible, folks, don’t sue me.
– It can be hard to make fangs with a particular shape unless you’re good at shaping clay, and it can be hard to get the coloration you want.  I just wanted clunky monster fangs so I was perfectly happy.  If you want the look of professional fangs, there’s no shame in buying them.

A side note on making the horns: I couldn’t find ultralight sculpey to make the horns out of so I bought the silly-named “Pluffy” instead.  It worked great, as did the cheap paint-on glaze I finished it with. 

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