Embedding Zombie Teeth into Gums

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,656
    Makeup Artist Christopher Patrick demonstrates embedding zombie teeth into gums.

    Christopher Patrick: Hi! I am Chris Patrick, Special Effects Artist and we are here at the Tom Savini's Special Effects Make Up School, and we are continuing our process of making a zombie today by making some disgusting zombie teeth. Our next step is embedding the teeth into the cotton and latex gums.

    So we are going to start by just -- I took a little modeling clay and build it up just to have an angle to work with and I am going to take a little bit of cotton batting. You can use cotton batting, cotton balls it doesn't matter just any sort of cotton. And I am going to lay a strip down to be the gums or the back of the gums. I am going to take a little liquid latex and pour it into a bottle and add a little acrylic paint to it. I chose a color called French Mauve because it was sort of a grayed out pink and I figure that zombie gums are probably a disgusting pinkish tone.

    So I am just going to shake that up and mix the color thoroughly. So I am just going to basically soak this cotton with latex as a base for our teeth to go into. As an Effects Artist I have fancy tools like dental spatulas and such, but you can just use Popsicle sticks if you are doing this at home, craft sticks will work, anything really.

    So that's just going to be the background and now what I am going to do is I am going to take our little teeth and we are going to lay them down like they are teeth going into gums. You can arrange them however you feel, it's going to be the most shocking for your zombie. You could leave the tooth out if you want. I know that I always think about realism when I am working, so I try to make a variety of teeth that would be the actual teeth that are in our mouth. So I have got my little canines made. And for our effect we are going for a full grill of teeth, but you know you could do just a section if you had somebody whose you know part of their face had rotted away.

    Once the teeth are all laid down and in place we are going to take some more cotton and we are just going to now make the top of the gums and it's pretty much the same thing, you are just going to lay down the cotton on top of this and with this little bottle of color latex just add latex. You want to make sure that this saturates all the way through, so it will actually attach to the first gum piece that you have laid below it.

    And if you have got one of these fancy little needle nose bottles that I pick up at craft store, it's really great because you can almost use is it as a tool, you know while you are doing this. No need to be real precise even because again with the undead we want this to look sort of disgusting. So go ahead and just sort of have fun with this, get the teeth nice and embedded though, so that they will stay all night in place.

    Again, I am just going to use a little tool just to make sure things are blended well together. Remember that if you are working on the top set of teeth especially you want to make sure that this is going to sort of fit in the range of a moustache, because this going to be glued on the outside of the mouth. So you just got to know that you have enough space to work with, that you are not going to be too high up into the nose area.

    To make this a little quicker, you can then either just let these dry on their own which takes about 24 hours or you can hit them with a blow dryer and you could probably have them completely dried within like 15 or 20 minutes. You just want to make sure to have them thoroughly dry before you try and use them. So I always just leave them overnight if I have time to do that.

    So once you have your top row of teeth laid out, remember that you also have to make a bottom row of teeth. I usually do it like this because then you can actually fit them together. You could just take some more teeth. These ones are painted but you can lay them out, you know you could leave a space. Whatever you needed to do and you just do the second set exactly like you did the top set.

    Do remember though that your top set, you do have a limited amount of space between the lip and the nose, so you just want to make sure that there is enough room to glue this down and not interfere with the person's nose.

    Alright. So that is how we make our lovely zombie teeth embedded in their gums that will be later put on to the actor's face. Our next step in this grueling Halloween zombie makeup is to apply some zombie prosthetics. So we will bring in our model.