Shed antler mounts are popular home decor items that add rustic charm. If you have multiple sheds, these pieces of wall decor can even be stacked or “sculpted” into designs like Christmas trees.
Plaques are the easiest way to display antlers, but more arduous projects may include creating a skull mount – it might be more complex but shouldn’t be beyond reach of even DIY enthusiasts!
Remove the Antlers from the Skull
Though some prefer mounting shed antlers on skulls, for maximum natural effect it’s easiest to separate the antlers from the skull plate first and use a standard crosscut hand saw to secure it in a vice. Cut below each eye socket straight back under each antler. Afterward, boil it in water (taxidermist tip: add salt!) before boiling off all tissue off of it – this will keep the skull clean, prevent future insect re-infestation as well as faded color lines later on.
Once your skull plate has been thoroughly cleansed, it should be dried with a towel before being boiled again to extract any remaining meat or bone material. As boiling can damage skull plates if done too rapidly, be sure to monitor its progress closely and be aware that too rapid an approach could crack it. Once ready for use again, waterproof with borax to protect it against insects, fungus, and other forms of decay.
Step one is simple and quick – simply mix borax according to instructions and soak your skull.
Plier are your next tool of choice to free the antlers. Grab them at their point of connection with the skull, twist and wiggle until loosening occurs, or soak the skull once more in borax solution until this succeeds.
Shed antlers make stunning handles on custom furniture like this gorgeous dresser from Colorado Log Furniture, adding rustic charm while showing off your hunting heritage.
When crafting a handle, selecting an antler with a desirable arch to its main beam or tines is of vital importance for creating the ideal handle design. An antler that’s too flat will not look natural and lack proper balance required to support weight. In order to complete your perfect look, Rapid River Knifeworks provides professional custom knife making services and custom knife makers are also a helpful source.
Prep the Antlers
Preparing shed antlers for mounting requires cleaning them thoroughly, removing any meat or tissue adhering to them, and sanding down rough spots so they appear smooth. Once prepared for mounting they should be screwed onto a skull plate for attachment.
Antler mounting comes with various options; it is essential that you choose one that best demonstrates your antlers. If your antlers are wide and tall like those from a buck deer, a European mount would likely work best and will display them naturally against a wall.
For an elegant display of your shed antlers, a standard skull mount may be the best solution. To use one, cut out a board that matches the size and has two pre-drilled holes to hold onto. Finally, it is also important to sand this piece of wood before screwing it onto the skull plate.
Use of rubber covers that fit over skull plates is another alternative, available from many retailers at relatively low prices and designed to give the skull an appealing finish. These covers come in an assortment of colors and styles designed to complete its appearance.
Skinning a skull should not be difficult, but must be completed carefully and with care. The most challenging area lies around antler pedicles where the hide can be thick and difficult to prise loose; using a flathead screwdriver may help. Once completed, rinse out in warm water to remove any remnants of blood or flesh residue that remains.
If you have an abundance of shed antlers, sculpting them into the form of a Christmas tree or design column is sure to impress any visitors to your home. Not only is this an elegant way of showing them off but it is also a fun project you can complete together with children!
Cut the Antlers Free of the Skull
Shed antlers can be an invaluable resource for hunters. Not only are they abundant and offer hunters a chance to create mounted sets without killing deer, they’re also good for mounting when the antlers match, which can be challenging unless you live near an abundance of deer. But you can create matching shed antlers by using some simple tricks.
Once you’ve identified antlers to mount, the first step is cutting them free from their skull. You can do this using either a sharp knife or saw, with thick enough blades so as to not damage any part of the skull itself. If this step seems daunting to you, seek professional assistance or look online for step-by-step instructions.
Once the antlers have been separated from the skull, it’s time to clean and whiten them for mounting. Whitening will ensure they’re free of debris while also helping them look their best; one effective method for this is soaking bones and skulls in hydrogen peroxide solutions – however to protect your antlers and prevent this process from making them yellow over time, cover them tightly in plastic wrap before beginning this step as this will prevent hydrogen peroxide contacting their horns directly and discoloring them over time!
Created antlers into a rattling set is another effective and straightforward method of displaying and preserving them for display, particularly if space is tight for full European mounts. Simply find two 8-10 point antlers that match, wrap the bases with paracord to connect them, then slam and bang around to create noise as desired!
If you want to get creative, antler hunters can even sculpt Christmas trees or design columns and arches out of shed antlers. But these methods require considerable skill and time, making them best suited to experienced antler hunters. Beginner antler hunters may prefer purchasing either a pre-made European skull mount or DIY antler mounting kit instead.
Drill the Base of the Antlers
Next step in antler assembly is creating the antler base. There are many options for antler bases available at hardware stores or you can make your own using MDF sheets. An ideal antler base should be slightly larger than your antlers to allow secure mounting; use a hammer and nail to make a pilot hole for attaching screws; use appropriate drill bits otherwise drilling too deeply may ruin them!
As another way of showing off your artistic talent and using up some extra antlers that may have been lying around, why not artfully stack or even sculpt your shed antlers into something? For instance, you could sculpt them into the shape of a Christmas tree if there are enough sheds available – this can help show your work while getting rid of excess antlers that you no longer require? This is also an effective way to show them off!
Some individuals may opt to craft knife handles from shed antlers. Although this requires more skill and expertise from an experienced shop like Rapid River Knifeworks, this unique way to utilize shed antlers makes an enjoyable and meaningful way to repurpose them into something useful and decorative.
As another creative use for shed antlers, they can be transformed into rattling racks. You can do this by pairing up both left and right antlers so their tine points touch each other, then wrapping each antler’s base with paracord to allow you to slam and rattle it like hunting calls.
When mounting antlers, one of the easiest and simplest methods is the standard skull mount. Although simple to create, this mount does require some skillful craftsmanship in order to secure proper fitment with screws in their right places and achieve successful mounting.
As part of your taxidermy project, drilling holes for mounting bolts and nuts is required, which should not be difficult; however, for optimal results it would be wise to enlist professional assistance to do it correctly.
When creating this type of mount, use the same technique that you’ve utilized when mounting skulls – simply with some additional steps and steps added for showing off antlers proudly.