Make your own cruelty-free faux animal teeth to use as elements in tribal jewelry and accessories
I'm making costumes and accessories for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I want my fairies to look both beautiful and frightening, with tribal overtones.
I looked at buying real animal teeth (coyote teeth seem to be widely available online) but then I thought "I have lots of polymer clay kicking around -- I bet I can make these suckers myself, without buying bits of dead animals".
So I did, and so can you!
I had the polymer clay and acrylic paint at home, so these were pretty much free. Even if you have to buy the materials, this is a low cost project.
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Mix and temper your clay. You can use all of one colour if you like -- all white, off-white or beige/tan would work. You could also start with a dark color for older-looking teeth -- a dark brown or black would work for this.
I used up scraps of white, tan and translucent. I mixed the colours, but not perfectly, so there are still some variations. There should be a little yellow in bone or teeth, but I'm going to add that using paint. You could mix some yellow right into the clay, if you prefer.
On the other end, flatten the top of the cone, making it less thick, and push a toothpick or other hole-making thing through. Think about how you're going to use this tooth element -- if you're just going to string it, make sure you make the holes in the right direction and that the holes are going to be large enough to take your string or leather. If you're going to add a jump ring, then both the size and orientation of the hole is less critical.
If you made them from white or off white, and you're happy with the look, you can stop right here.
For the rest of us, the next step is paint.
I want a slightly aged look, so I'm going to darken the root of the tooth. If you look at photos of real teeth, sometimes the roots are pale and the pointy bit outside the gums is dark, and sometimes it's the other way around. I want to emphasise the curve and point, so I'm going to make the roots dark and the points light.
I used raw umber (and burnt umber, although you can use just one), diluted with water and washed on to darken the roots of the teeth. Let dry.
When it looks right, stop (this is always the hard part :)) You can varnish it -- either the whole thing or just the pointy part -- for extra realism, although I find just using artist's acrylics gives the teeth some sheen. You could also dilute your colour washes with gloss or semi gloss medium which will give more sheen.