Monday, June 25, 2007

Tooth Jewelry

The last portion of school was pretty crazy... Some of the girls that had graduated before us told us, "Oh, spring semester is EASY." The instructors said it, too. Well, I dunno if they were being cruel or what, but we all decided that was basically bull honky. And in the midst of it all, we had to do a final craft sort of project. It was to represent our philosophy of dental hygiene. It could be anything we wanted.

Some girls dreaded this more than I probably did, saying that if they could draw or sew, would they be in this program? But I loves the crafty stuff, and I had been unable to do practically anything for two years because of homework. So I enjoyed doing this AS homework. I decided to do a necklace, mostly because I had already purchased a lot of the stuff to play with. I had Sculpy clay, and I fashioned the tooth beads out of that. You just shape it, and poke a hole in it, and bake it at a very low setting so that it dries out. Ma and I had played with Sculpy many times in the past, resulting in many deliciously tacky earrings that I often wear.

I painted the teeth with acrylic paint after they cooled. I made them white on the crowns, and then added a coat of gloss to simulate enamel. The roots are a matte finish, and just off-white or pale yellow.

The word-beads were a lot of fun to play with. They are shrink-plastic, or what they used to make Shrinky-Dinks with. They sell them at craft stores in clear, white, black... The stuff I bought was supposed to work on an ink-jet printer, but, uh, no. The sheets printed nicely enough, but the ink never dried. Hours later, it would wipe right off on either side I tried it on. So I busted out my sandpaper, and took off the glossy finish. The ink still smudged, but not as badly, so I just handled it carefully while cutting it out. I would have just used permanent marker, but I wanted very neat, legible letters.

The shrink-plastic tells you what percentage it will shrink down to, so I used my basic math skills to see what size they should be before shrinking, in order to get them to the final size I wanted. A hole puncher worked great to put holes in the ovals I printed, and when they came out, they were perfect beading size!

I strung them onto jump rings with small beads, between the tooth beads, and put a clasp at the back. For display, I cut out a felt tooth and sewed it onto scrap fabric with a running stitch, then placed it atop a bucket that narrowed at the base.

I had some tooth beads left over, so I made some earrings for a "white elephant" auction we were having at school. I liked these the best. I may not actually wear the necklace, but I will wear the earrings. They were a really big hit, and when people bid like crazy, I was so flattered.

I made a couple pairs with blue/green beads, and one with deep pink/red beads. I don't know if the photos do them justice, but they are actually pretty small and not easy to photograph:

Some of the girls said they wanted to buy them, and I sold four sets to a couple of instructors. I made forty bucks! I'm sending an email to see if anyone else wants these today... Wish me luck!


nicole said...

Man, no one at my dentist's office has jewelry this stylish. You could make a killing on eBay with these...after all, what do you give someone for their graduation from dental school?

Did you guys go home this weekend? We were in town to take the kids to the festival, and I could have sworn we passed you on the road in a grayish car.

a witt said...

You're kidding me!! Yeah, we were there... we probably did pass each other. I have a beige-y car, but we also might have been in one of Chris' parents cars, so any of those would fit the bill. We got there, took one look in the beer tent with a few friends, and vowed never to come back to the festival. Ever. Was it not the worst ever? Geez. We spent most of Saturday on Chris' folks' porch having a couple of cold ones with friends and staying out of the rain.

I'm sure your experience was more fun, with the kids and the rides. I'm too jaded!

Té la mà Maria said...

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If ours wants to visit, thank you

Deb McHugh said...

I don't know if you still have this account, as I see these posts are from a couple of years ago, but wanted let you know I love the earrings! I am an orthodontist and was doing a search for tooth charms for a project. Great job!