Tutorial: Making Large Tusks for Costumes

how to make tusks

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To make your tusks, we’re going 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 custom tusks that molds around your teeth. This will also ensure you can close your mouth comfortably since you can adjust the shape of the tusks as much as you need to.

making tusks
You can also make large tusks with thermoplastic.

Supplies needed:

heating the thermoplastic beads
When the thermoplastic beads are heated, they turn clear and become moldable.

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 tusks 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 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. 

starts with a basic shape molded, then press it along your bottom row of teeth.
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
making the tusks bigger
If the tusks are smaller than you want them to be, you can easily add more thermoplastic material. It will easily adhere to itself.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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