It’s pretty easy to create custom fangs for your next cosplay. The cheap, simple method is to use acrylic nails and cut them into points. If you want to create more realistic teeth, you can use a non-toxic thermoplastic and mold your fangs from scratch. With this method, you can also create bottom fangs, a snaggle tooth, or even large tusks.
Warning: Do not eat anything while wearing fangs and it’s best to use a straw to drink. You don’t want them to get knocked loose and become a potential choking hazard. The fangs are, however, reusable. So you can remove them when you eat and then reapply the fangs afterward with denture adhesive.
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The simple method: Acrylic nail fangs
If you only have basic supplies or have a very tight budget, you can make some simple fangs using a cheap set of acrylic nails that you can find at your local store. These will be flat fangs that you paste to the front of your teeth, but they still look good enough unless someone is getting a very close look at your teeth.
This method is not ideal for creating tusks or fangs on the bottom teeth. It’s difficult to get the bottom tooth fangs to stay in place when you close your mouth since most people have a slight overbite. I was unable to get a bottom snaggle-tooth fang to stay in place, but you can try to see if you have better luck.
- A set of acrylic nails (do NOT use nail glue)
- Denture adhesive
- Choose the acrylic nail that fits your tooth. Place the different sizes of acrylic nails up against your teeth to see which ones fit best. For me, the pinky and ring fingernails fit, but everyone’s mouth and teeth are different sizes, so find what works best for you.
- Trim the acrylic nail into a point. Once you’ve picked out the best nails to turn into teeth, take a pair of scissors and trim them to a point. You may also want to trim the nailbed side slightly to help it fit around your tooth a little bit better.
- Use denture adhesive to attach the fangs to your teeth. Now all you have to do is apply a dot of denture adhesive to the back of the nail and press it onto your tooth. Denture adhesive will work best if you take a tissue and dry your tooth before applying it. NEVER use the glue that comes with your acrylic nails, since this is meant as a semi-permanent adhesive and you will not be able to get the fangs off easily.
The more realistic method: Thermoplastic fangs
To make fangs that go all the way around your tooth, you’ll want to use moldable thermoplastic. This is a type of material that looks like small bead dots to start. When you heat them, they melt into a putty-like material that you can use to mold into whatever shape you want. As the thermoplastic cools, it turns into a hard plastic again.
You can use this thermoplastic material to make a custom fang that molds around your tooth and fits your mouth perfectly. You can also use it to mold bottom teeth and tusks while still being able to close your mouth comfortably.
- Non-toxic thermoplastic (such as Polly Plastics or Instamorph)
- Denture adhesive
- A heatgun (or hot water)
- Optional: silicone beaker (to use when melting the plastic beads)
Before you start: safety with thermoplastic beads
Always make sure to test the thermoplastic material outside of your mouth and familiarize yourself with it before molding your fangs. You want to make sure you understand how it works so that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself or get anything stuck in your mouth. That being said, it’s a pretty easy and safe material to use, so it’s unlikely you will run into any problems.
When choosing a brand of thermoplastic, make sure it’s a non-toxic brand that’s safe to use for products that you would eat and drink with.
You will also notice the melting instructions on most types of thermoplastic beads recommend using hot water. I found that I had a lot more luck using a heatgun to melt the plastic beads together. However, this does produce a lot more heat, so be careful when you first touch the plastic after heating it up. You also might want to wait a moment until the clear putty cools just slightly before molding it in your mouth so that you don’t burn your gums.
Will the plastic fangs get stuck on your teeth?
I have never had a problem with getting the thermoplastic stuck on any of my teeth. It cools and hardens slowly, so it forms a hard-ish gel texture before cooling into a completely hard plastic. This gives you plenty of time to remove the tooth from your mouth before anything gets stuck.
However, if the thermoplastic fang does get stuck to your tooth while you are molding your fangs, swish a hot liquid in your mouth to soften the plastic. It doesn’t need to be scalding hot liquid (you don’t want to burn your mouth), but it should be the temperature of a warm cup of coffee or tea (about 150ºF or 65ºC).
How to make fangs
Since most people have a slight overbite, fangs on the upper teeth are a little easier to make. All you really have to do is form the putty over your canine teeth and form them into a point. If you want the fangs to easily show when your mouth is closed, all you need to do is make longer fangs.
- Heat up the thermoplastic. I prefer to use a heatgun to heat the thermoplastic since I find this works better, but you can use hot water and follow the package instructions if you want. I like to place the small beads in a silicone beaker so that they don’t all fly away because of the wind from the heatgun. As you heat the thermoplastic it will start to stick together and turn clear. As it cools, the plastic will become opaque and white again.
- Take a small section and shape it around your canine tooth. Once your thermoplastic is heated (but cool enough to touch), take a small section, and mold it into a little triangle. Then sink your tooth into it and start to form a point. Make sure to bite down so that it’s comfortable with your mouth closed and make the tooth longer if you want it to show outside of your mouth.
- Reheat the plastic as necessary until you are happy with the shape. If the plastic cools and begins to harden before you’re finished forming the tooth, you can simply reheat it and continue until you’re happy with how it looks.
- Trim the area around the gums if necessary. If the area around the gums is too wide or tall, you can also take a pair of scissors and trim it until it fits better.
- Allow the fangs to cool completely. Once you’re happy with the shape, set the tooth aside until it is completely white and opaque. You can work on the next fang while you wait.
- Apply the fangs using denture adhesive. You will probably have to use some denture adhesive to give the tooth better holding power, but sometimes the fang will be form-fitting enough that it can stay on its own. To use denture adhesive, dry your tooth with a tissue and a small dot of adhesive into the fang. Then press it against your tooth for 10 seconds. NEVER use glue that is not meant for use in the mouth.
How to make small tusks or a snaggle tooth
Adding fangs to the bottom jaw is a little more difficult than adding them to the top. This is because most people have a slight overbite, so a bottom tooth that stands straight up will poke into your top gums whenever you close your mouth. To make bottom fangs work, you have to form them on an angle and make sure to bite down while you are forming the tooth. Don’t forget, if you want a snaggle tooth to be visible with your mouth closed, you’ll have to make it fairly long.
- Heat up the thermoplastic. Just as in the previous tutorial, heat up the thermoplastic using a heatgun or hot water.
- Shape it around your bottom tooth, forming it outward at an angle. You’ll want to use a little extra thermoplastic toward the base of the tooth so it can go around your upper jaw without tearing a hole in the fang.
- Close your jaw and shape the tooth in front of your upper jaw. This will form a small indent in the fang that lets you close your mouth on top of it. You won’t have to constantly push your lower jaw forward when wearing the lower fangs.
- Continue to heat up the thermoplastic and shape the tooth as necessary. Remember, if you want the tooth to be visible with your mouth closed, you’ll have to make it a little longer than you think.
- You may still need to use denture adhesive to attach the teeth. Bottom fangs don’t always need adhesive to stay in place, since gravity works in our favor here. But it may still be necessary depending on how tightly the fang fits.
How to make large tusks
Large tusks won’t stay in place easily if you try to attach them to a single tooth. That’s why for these, you’ll want to make a sort of shelf along the teeth on the bottom jaw so the tusks have something stable to sit on. Other than that, they still follow the same principles as bottom fangs. Make sure to form them on an angle so that the tusks come out and over your front jaw and you can still close your mouth comfortably.
- Heat up a larger amount of thermoplastic than you needed for the previous two types of fangs. You’ll need enough to cover your bottom teeth and create your tusks.
- Mold the plastic into a shelf with a tusk on either end. Before molding the plastic in your mouth, make the basic form of your tusks with a bar on the bottom that will go over your teeth. You can also make it with just one tusk rather than one of both ends.
- Push the bottom bar to mold over your bottom row of teeth. You may need to reheat your thermoplastic to make it malleable enough. Make sure the tusks are coming out of the front of your teeth on an angle so you can still close your mouth.
- Make sure you can comfortably close your mouth with the tusk shelf intact. Bite down to form a small indent in the plastic to make room for your top jaw without needing to push your bottom jaw forward.
- Form your tusks. Once the base is intact, you can work on perfecting the tusks. You can reheat them as many times as necessary or even add more thermoplastic if you want to make the tusks bigger.
- Allow the tusks to cool and wear them with your costume. You probably don’t need or want to use adhesive with these. They stay in the mouth pretty easily and they are much more uncomfortable than the smaller teeth. So you’ll probably be taking them on and off frequently throughout the day.