Introduction: SciFi Tooth Necklace, Aka: Red Plains Rider Lava Beast Tooth Necklace
For those familiar with the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast and comics, this necklace is modeled after the necklace worn by the Red Plains Rider from the Sparks Nevada story line. She is depicted as wearing it, but no specific origin is mentioned. The only large animals native to Mars mentioned in the series to my knowledge are Giant spiders, other animals sacred and protected by the Maritain (she probably wouldn't be wearing parts of them), and Lava Beasts which the Martians eat. The last seemed most likely to me, so based on the depictions of her in the comics, and presuming it is some sort of Lava Beast part, I went with teeth.
For everyone else, this could easily be used for any wild, savage or frontier themed cosplay, or as a stand alone for the sheer joy of it.
Size and color of the teeth could easily be adapted, with the general instructions still applying.
For the project you will need:
1 box oven hardening clay, paint-able (more if the box is very small, or if you want a very large necklace)
Access to an oven
1 necklace chain or leather cord, at desired length. I would recommend leaving plenty of slack to make sure it's comfortable.
1 exact-O knife or other sharp craft blade
2 or more shades of acrylic paint of the desired color. One darker than the other by at least two shades. I recommend adding a dark brown if you want to add an aged appearance, even if your project will not be predominantly brown in color. For my necklace, I used redbrown, medium brown, and dark brown.
Paper towels, rag or napkins for painting
At least one medium sized brush, flat is preferable.
Pliers: if using a necklace chain
1 sturdy clasp (Optional) or make the necklace long enough to remove without one
Step 1: Step 1: Modeling
For This step I recommend preparing an area with a piece of old newspaper or a few paper plates to spare your table.
Work the clay in your hands until soft and pliable, shape individual pieces to the rough size desired. Don't worry about the contours or details at this point since the clay can't hold sharp facets while still soft.
For my necklace, I made 7 teeth of various lengths, purposely making two longer "fangs" for the center and then smaller incisors for the sides.
Once a piece is approximately how you want it, stretch the top upwards about two inches, and fold to the side that will be the back. Press and smooth the tip into the back of the tooth. This should form a small loop into the top of the tooth which isn't immediately visible from the front. Make sure that the loop is large enough for your necklace chain or leather cord to pass through. If it isn't, widen slightly with the back of your craft knife.
Place a piece of foil on your backing sheet, then carefully lay your modeled teeth on the foil. Make sure they are resting on the side rather than the back otherwise the loop will flatten.
Follow baking directions on back of Baking clay box and allow to cool.
Step 2: Step 2: Shaping
Now for the fun part!
For me, I wanted the teeth to have a rough, slightly arrow head appearance. With this in mind, I took the craft knife and cut deep facets into each of the teeth, leaving very few rounded surfaces, making sure to keep a slight taper towards the bottom point. If there are a few rough places, but you like the overall look, these places will catch the paint more and leave a more worn appearance to your teeth. I recommend leaving them.
If you have a specific animal fictional or otherwise that you are modeling after, I recommend looking at a few pictures of these animals mouths (or of an animal similar) to get a reference point for how the cutting edge of their teeth look. For me, it seemed with a name like Lava Beast, these weren't delicate or precise animals. I kept my teeth roughly dagger shaped with a crude point at the end.
Step 3: Painting and Finishing
Now to painting!
Once again, you may want to prepare a safe surface for this part.
Start by painting the teeth all over with your lightest color, for me, this was red brown and allow to dry
Next: Using a large brush, smear your mid toned paint over some but not all of the facets cut into your teeth, this will emphasize the depth and angles and show off all your work at shaping. If you are not using a mid tone, only 1 light and 1 dark, skip to next step.
Take a paper towel, napkin or rag and dip lightly into your darkest color. Rub into any crevasses, rough spots, or other desired parts. Don't worry if the paint smears a bit past where you want it. With a clean side or opposite corner, wipe away any excess.
I recommend brushing over the entire surface lightly with just a trace of the dark brown paint on your towel/rag once everything else has dried, and then lightly rubbing this film away from areas that you want to keep lighter. This is a easy method of antiquing or artificially aging your teeth.
If the end result is darker than you would like, the lighter color and mid color can be re-applied and rubbed away until the desired look is achieved.
For me, I ended up using about 5 layers of paint before i was completely happy with the shades.
This multi-layered approach will give depth and take away the cartoonish appearance of the clay.
Once pieces are thoroughly dry, String onto your chain or cord, with longest Teeth in the middle. It may take a few attempts to find the order you like best. Once the teeth have been strung, size your chain or cord to desired length, and attache clasp (if desired).
Have fun riding the Galactic Trail (POW!)