Friday, October 9, 2009

Steampunk skull - Deuxième partie

Hey there, lovely little bilge rats!

I thought I'd show you the progress on my skull.

Nothing very complicated, I just played a bit with its finish, and removed the crappy ol' single piece teeth and installed brand new, shiny, strong, acrylic choppers.

Here's the teeth before I started:

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As you can see, they are the same color and same texture as the skull, they're short, they're cheap, they're made in one piece and our friend mr. skull has a nasty underbite.

This shall be fixed!

To start, I simply dremeled out the original teeth. I used a sanding disk attachement, but some kind of router bit would probably do a great job too.

As you can see, it now looks quite geriatric. I honestly like this; I'll probably by a plastic skull some day and make it look edentate like that.

Once clean and sanded, I was ready to attach the new teeth.

Acrylic teeth, the kind used to make dentures, come in little plastic trays, separating the top, bottom, front and back teeth. Very pratical; you don't have to guess which tooth goes where (although mouth anatomy is fairly simple).

I bought mine on ebay; it cost about 20$ including shipping from china, and I have 6 complete sets of teeth.

I started out with the lower incisors, and gradually covered the whole lower and top mandible by gluing the teeth one by one from behind with drops of hot glue. It's not the strongest bond, but it's quick and easy to use. We'll strenghten the teeth later.

As you can see, it doesn,t look good from behind; In my case, though, it's not a problem, since the skull won't be manipulated much.

Upper teeth done

All glued!

As you can see, I corrected my buddy's underbite. I even gave him a slight overbite, for more realism!

Once this was done, I added 5 minute epoxy between and behind the teeth to hold them strongly in place. Although not necessary, this will add some durability to the skull.

Of course, I couldn't let these teeth all clean and shiny and white looking freshly flossed, when the rest of the skull looked freshly dug up! So I brought out the walnut stain again, mixed it with a bit of yellow ochre paint to tone down the red tones, and got this mix in every nook and cranny of the teeth. I wiped the front clean so they still had a bit of shine, and did a little trick that also gave a smooth, old and dusty look to the skull.

I rolled the whole thing in ashes while still tacky. I then dusted the excess off, and fixed it with matte spray varnish. This step really brings the whole thing together, and can save a poorly done stain job.

Voilà, mes amis! beau comme un sou neuf.

Link to part 1


  1. Wow, the new teeth look incredible! I'm going to have to look into acrylic teeth, especially if one can procure six whole sets for $20.

    P.S. Don't worry about not constantly posting...your posts are always interesting, and that's better than 2 posts a day about what you had for breakfast any day ;)

  2. These teeth are wonderful, definitively worth the price!

    If you need to make realistic props, that's the way to go.

    Btw, thanks for your comment about my posts! I try to make this blog a place I'd enjoy visiting, so I try keeping my posts interesting.

  3. Good blog! I'm trying to replicate this:

    I have the polyeutherane casts (sp?) and they're perfect, but way too white. I like how this skull is subtle everywhere with the stain, but very very dark in the eyes. How was this done? Just lots and lots of gel stain in the eyes? Or would that take a zillion years to dry?
    I didn't even know gel stain existed until you'd written about it!

    Any help would be much appreciado!

  4. Oops, sorry for the late reply, just saw your comment!

    a very dark water-based gel stain, even lightly applied, can be very opaque before being wiped off. That's what happened here; the coat isn't that thick, he/she just didn't wipe off the excess in that area. Think of a reverse drybrushing!

    Good luck!