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How to Make Wearable Creature Teeth with SWSCA students Rosanna Wells and Ron Hernandez - STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Learn how Advanced Creature Teeth students Rosanna Wells and Ron Hernandez made their own wearable creepy creature teeth!

Sep 10, 2015

Professional Dental Appliances

It's our pleasure to introduce SWSCA students Rosanna Wells and Ron Hernandez. As homework for the Advanced Creature Teeth webcourse with John Cherevka, Rosanna and Ron sucessfully implemented the entire process for making professional-quality custom dental appliances. The techniques they had to master included: life-casting, molding, vacuum forming, sculpting, casting, painting & sealing. The result: two sets of truly gnarly gnashers! Read their experiences below and follow their progress throughout the webcourse.

- Team Stan Winston School


Learning from the Molar Maestro!

By Rosanna Wells

I am an Australian freelance make up artist, who has been following the SWSCA for many years. I am now pursuing a full time career in SFX and have thus far, completed two online workshops, the latest being the Advanced Creature Teeth workshop with John Cherevka.


Learn how to make wearable creature teeth Info --> with master character creator John Cherevka (Avatar, Pacific Rim, Jurassic World)

Posted by Stan Winston School of Character Arts on Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I loved this course! As someone who learns by doing, it was a great chance for me to get my hands dirty while learning from one of the best in the business.

Life-casting, molding, vacuum forming

Watching John Cherevka work live was an experience unto itself. In my part of the world, the course started in the wee hours of the morning, but that's part of what made the experience special for me. I remember hugging my large mug of coffee, wrapped in a sleeping bag and bathrobe (it was also the middle of winter down here), glued to my computer screen until the sun came up.

Pictured above: Rosanna Wells' master set, made from a plaster base and alginate lifecast moulds.

I made the plaster base with the keys and then attached it to my alginate moulds. After this I made the moulds of the master set. I don't have a degassing chamber so I used 1:1 ratio quick setting silicone to prevent air bubbles in the mould.

John Cherevka was great! He really knows his stuff. I aspire to have as much knowledge under my belt as he does one day. I had many 'light bulb' moments while watching John work.

The great thing about the live course is the ability to ask all the questions that were bubbling away in my head, and have them answered, in real time. It is one thing to watch and understand the process, but to have the chance to interact with an artist of John's calibre is something I had previously only dreamt of.

Pictured above: Rosanna Wells about to mould her teeth in her hand-made vacuum form machine.

My vacuum forming machine is something I made myself with a very low-tech vacuum and a heat gun, but it works just fine. I say a big THANK YOU to SWSCA and to Fon Davis for providing the information that has enabled me to do such a thing. I had a few issues with the initial heating and took me a few tries to get a clear piece without webbing. But, ultimately I did alright. 

Sculpting and casting - the good and the ugly

As a solo artist, my exposure to others' work practices is limited, and participating in these workshops allows me to feel like I am learning alongside other like-minded artists. I think that is why I love the forum part of the workshop. It's an opportunity to share information, the good and the ugly. I learned not only by working through my own set of challenges, but by seeing how my fellow students overcome theirs. I was able to ask them questions, I answered some of theirs, and now I feel a sense of camaraderie with those I studied alongside.

Pictured above: Monster teeth sculpted in Monster Clay by Rosanna Wells.

My favourite part of the process (apart from painting)... is sculpting! I used Monster Clay to sculpt, as I always have a supply of the stuff handy. I used lighter fluid as a thinner, rather than naptha or mineral spirits--both hard to get here--to smooth out my sculpt. This often makes the finished product look a little fuzzy and it's difficult to see the creases and crevices. Then, I added the baby powder like John did. I've never done that before and was really surprised at how many little imperfections my eye missed with the lighter fluid. I tried using just the lighter fluid and just the baby powder alone, and in my opinion, the finished result looked a lot more refined when using both together.

Pictured above: Painting the appliance, Rosanna Wells displays her teeth with the undercoat applied.


For painting the teeth, I used a white eyeshadow with a slight yellow metallic tint and shadow pigment. I contemplated using corn flour to provide a solid white look, but decided to go with the eyeshadow, just to see how it would go. Success! At this stage in my career, the most invaluable part of the overall experience is that the course seems to replicate the process of working for a client. You have a deadline, and as you get feedback from the artist directly, it's in your best interest to represent your work accordingly. I really appreciate this process. I couldn't wait to find out what John would say about my work and the whole time I was working as if I would be working with him directly. I didn't want to let him down by uploading work that I wasn't proud of.

Pictured above: The finished paint job, by Rosanna Wells. 

Finally, the time came for the finish painting! The best bit. I couldn't afford the acrylic paints, so I opted for my trusty Illustrator palettes. Alcohol paints were interesting over acrylic. But it worked out, and I had fun. Looking back at my experience, I now have more confidence in my ability and I would gladly lose another night's sleep to do this again. I can't wait for the opportunity!

Pictured above: Smile! Teeth in action by Rosanna Wells.

- Rosanna Wells


Copious Cuspids

By Ron Hernandez

Life-casting, molding, vacuum forming

As John Cherevka took us through his process, step-by-step, I found the experience to be invaluable. During his process I asked questions and presented my own designs/rough sculpts for comment on the spot. The experience felt like my days in Pratt Institute (design college). It was like working side-by-side in the studios with my professors--the best way for me to learn, a truly professional course! Having John there, live, allowed me to engage my thoughts and questions immediately in real time, rather than watching a tutorial video first, jotting down some notes, and sending an email with questions later on.

Pictured above: The silicone bucket mold Ron Hernandez used to make his positive teeth.

I started out by taking a lifecast from a model's mouth using dental trays filled with dental alginate. Once the I had the negative mold, I mixed some dental stone to create a positive upper and lower cast of the model's teeth. I added a thin coat of vaseline on the casts before creating the silicone back-up molds of the models positive casts. The vaseline allowed for an easy release from the silicone. Also, I chose to use Oomoo silicone. Oomoo is designed for the beginner mold-maker since it does not have to go into the vacuum to be degassed. However, it doesn't have the tear strength of stronger silicones.

Pictured above: Left: Ron Hernandez used a vacu-form machine. Right: Ron attached the positive styrene casts to the dental articulator..

I cleaned the positive casts clear of the vaseline before creating the clear styrene molds of the positive using a vacu-form machine. Then I trimmed off of any additional plastic from the styrene casts. And finally, I attached the positive casts to the dental articulator with hot glue so that I could begin my sculpt.

Another added benefit for me was being able to see, hear, and read the Stan Winston School discussion forums during and after course hours, between John and the other live webcourse students. This interaction allowed me to see the progress, struggles (if any), and new ideas that the other students were coming across during their homework creation. Having that interaction with the other students and seeing their progress instilled a desire to support my fellow artists and to see everyone succeed, as well as inspring me to push myself harder in my own art and work.

Sculpting and casting

Pictured above: A lot of teeth. These monster teeth were sculpted by Ron Hernandez from plasteline clay.

The dinosarus in JURASSIC WORLD were the initial inspiration for my project. Seeing the fearsome snapping mouths of the carnivorous creatures on screen, I immediately knew I wanted something with a lot of teeth crammed into one mouth. I decided it would be some type of demon creature. This was my first experience using Plasteline clay (medium) and I felt the clay held up well to all the small details I sculpted.

With the sculpture complete, I began applying the plasteline channels to the sculpt. To make the molds I used two cut down Big Gulp cups from 7-Eleven. For each hero mold (upper and lower) I went with the 30 Max silicone, mixed carefully to remove the air bubbles before pouring, then degassed in the vacuum/degasser as John showed. The molds of the sculpt using 30 max silicone came out great! The silicone captured all the details of my sculpt.


Pictured above: Ron Hernandez carefully paints his multi-tooth demon appliance.

When prying my dental appliance from the positive silicone cast, I got a little rough and tore it in half... but nothing a little crazy glue couldn't handle. The pink dental acrylic overflowed a bit onto the white acrylic when I did the gum area, but I was able to make that disappear with some stains. Ultimately, however, I was so unhappy with my original paint job that I went out and bought some acrylic washes. 

Pictured above: 2nd time's the charm! Ron Hernandez shows off his demon teeth with acrylic washes.

I was able to strip the last paint job and give it another go. I feel that it could still be much better with the right stains, but I like the look of these. I think they have much more depth. What do you think? Let me know your feedback in the comments below or on the forums.

In the end, signing up for Advanced Creature Teeth really allowed me to recognize the potential not only for improving my technical and creative skills, but also for opening myself up to new ways of working and learning as well. I'm very much looking forward to participating in other webcourses the Stan Winston School has to offer.

Ron Hernandez


  • If you would like to check out all the homework for Advanced Creature Teeth with John Cherevka, click HERE: Advanced Creature Teeth
  • Also check out our Upcoming Live or On-Demand webcourses HERE: Live or On-Demand