Hi, my name is Catherine Craft, 16 years old, and I am new to Straight Dope. My dad’s username on here is crafter_MAN.
I recently just bought some materials from an arts and crafts store so I can make a pair of fake snakebites piercings. The materials are two tiny silver rings and beads with a hole in the middle of them. I snapped both rings with a diagonal, split both sides of the ring a few millimeters apart with a couple of round noses so it can easily fit onto my lip, put epoxy on the rings, and then put a bead through. After the epoxy dried, I applied two thin payers of black 60 second drying nail polish on both rings. I tried them on and they look exactly like real snakebite piercings. I didn’t have any reactions to the nail polish that I put on them.
My friend wanted four snakebite piercings, so I made him pay some money for it and made them right after I got home from school. I painted them with the same black nail polish that I used for my piercings. I gave to him the next day at school and he wore them for a whole day. The next day I asked if he liked the piercing and he said it started to burn in his mouth a little. I was immediately concerned about the burning , but he said it didn’t hurt anymore the next day and he is OK with it. I asked him are you sure sure and he said yes. I thought about what could cause the burning and the nail polish came into mind. I asked my parents if using nail polish was OK and they said it shouldn’t do anything because it’s hard and dry on the ring. However, I am still not 100% sure if it is OK. I already sold other people piercings and they had no reaction to it, just that one guy. I don’t want to use any other paint because I can’t think of any other kinds of paint to use. I did think of spray paint and those oil paints used for models, but I quickly shot down that idea. Should I just give my classmates a warning note before trying on the piercings? Also, please let me know if there is any other kind of paint I can use.
I have no idea how well it would stick to metal, but they do make black paint to make it look like you’re missing a tooth for a costume. Since it’s made to go in your mouth, there shouldn’t be any concerns about it being toxic. On the other hand, who knows if it will just wash off. I can vouch for the fact that it will permanently stain clothing, but that’s about it.
I wonder if instead of looking for a different black paint, look for a clear coat.
There’s this on etsy which is “jewelry shield” which you paint on to your jewelry to protect your sensitive skin.
You might also just try a high quality, longer-drying clear coat to coat your rings. Maybe the make-up of that is different than the paint with pigment in it, or different than the 60-second dry. It would probably be prudent to do this for any of the rings regardless of who’s reacting…I sort of feel like the nail polish will come off anyway. A clear coat would at least make it last longer.
Or even the kid is reacting to the epoxy, not the nail polish. So a clear coat would cover that.
Or…buy black rings and beads? Or if someone has a sensitivity, they have to wear un-painted ones.
Tooth black varies as to content, but it is usually basically either a paint or a wax base with supersaturated makeup-quality black pigment. Probably not the best option for this.
On the other hand, most cheap nail polish has some nasty shit in it, and I would not put it in or around my mouth, dry or not.
My thought would be to see if the craft store sells black or blued wire or rings, to save the painting step. If cutting and bending them leaves bare silver wire, hit it up with black lipstick (it’s Halloween makeup season) or black eyeliner - both of those options were designed to use materials that will not cause harm if ingested, but individuals can still be sensitive to them on a case by case basis.
You might also look at the small pots of enamel paints (like Testors) and consider those. There should be a materials safety data sheet (ask your dad) available for them, and they aren’t likely to have anything worse in them than nailpolish.
Nail polish is used as a handy substitute for “sign painter’s enamel” - very thick paint of obvious usage.
It is both difficult to find and expensive - I’d look at clear coat products before looking for sign paint.
As the guy if he knows of any allergies - there may be a simple solution.
Silver will tarnish to black, but the acidity of the mouth will clean it
I would advise you to use real, safe, high-quality body piercing jewelry. The cheap stuff has a ton of nickel that causes reactions in many people, and cheap coatings are also problematic. The real stuff used by quality piercing shops (and available online) is made to be biocompatible and designed for prolonged contact with the human body, including inside fresh piercings, inside the mouth, etc. It costs more, but it’s money well-spent.
Taking stuff from a crafts store made of an unknown alloy and/or adding your own paint job with whatever is lying around the house may work for some, but may cause bad reactions for others. I would avoid it.
I would also avoid fake piercings and either get the real thing or do nothing at all, but that’s just me.
This paint might work. You cure it in the oven. It is made for jewelry, so it’s probably safe for general skin contact, but I have no idea whether it’s safe orally. There is a link to the MSDS sheet on that page, but I’ll leave it to you to do the research.
Did you do anything to prep the surface before you applied the nail polish? If you’re going to actually take money for things you make, try not to be amateurish.