Turn your deer head into a work of art
By Lee Tolliver
Jan 09, at PM
The mount of a trophy deer head is a valued part of a hunter's experience.
But one can cost several hundred dollars.
European-style skull mounts are a cheaper alternative.
For a simple one, the skin and meat are removed using a variety of methods, followed by bleaching the bone before mounting it to a wooden plaque .
But recently, several taxidermists and individuals have been taking the technique to a new level, turning the Euros into works of art.
Using a practice known as hydro-dipping, Norfolk's Jon Boyd has been enjoying the results.
"People do some really cool ones with neat combinations of colors," said Boyd, "But they don't give up too many trade secrets. So I've been learning.
"The thing is, you can dip absolutely anything to give it a good look."
After the skull mount is finished, before attaching it to a wooden plaque, cover the base of the antlers and tape them down tight to prevent paint from getting on the rack.
Fill a bucket large enough for the skull with cold water.
Spray paint on top of the water and layer different colors – using anywhere from five to 20 sprays.
Then take a small stick and swirl the paint, bringing out the layers of colors. Don't swirl too hard, as you don't want to actually mix the colors.
Slowly dip the skull into the water, then use paper towels to remove any paint that didn't attach to the skull so you don't mess up the pattern. Pull the skull slowly out of the bucket . Once it's dry, spray clear-coat to protect the paint and you're done.
"It's cheap," Boyd said. "And it's easy.
"No two will ever be alike."
Boyd, who works as an athletic specialist for Norfolk's Park and Urban Forestry Division, has been asked to make a few mounts for friends. He confesses it's a form that could earn him a few dollars on the side.
"I'm not opposed to that," said Boyd, who hunts in Southampton County and fishes several of the water-supply lakes in Suffolk. "I want to do one using Obsession Bows' Storm Hardwood pattern with red, black, white and gray.
"It's going to be neat to experiment with different color combinations and swirl patterns.
"When my dad first saw it he said he thought it was incredible, that he'd never seen anything like it."
Another technique Boyd is thinking of employing would use several paint-clear coat layers to provide the impression of depth.
"There are so many different things you can try," he said. "It's just a neat way to do things."
Lee Tolliver, , [email protected] Follow @LeeTolliver on Twitter.
How To Clean A European Mount
By Annalise Castle | GWG Ambassador
There is nothing that compares to that time spent in the outdoors. So, what’s a better way to remember a hunt and honor the wildlife you have harvested than proudly displaying that animal in your home. A European skull mount (euro mount) is such a cool way to do that! If you have never cleaned your own skull and always wanted to or if you do it all the time, I hope this helps you out and gives you some extra tips. **Disclaimer: I am not a professional taxidermist; I just really enjoy cleaning wildlife skulls. This is the method I use/what works for me, and hopefully, it’ll help you too. This method also works the same for cap mounts and any other wildlife skull you want to clean. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image= img_size=large alignment=center][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
> Burner: I use a portable one that you can use for boiling turkeys
> Propane Tank
> Cooking Pot: Get a pot that is deep enough to fit a deer skull
> Dish Soap: Dawn soap works best to cut the oil/grease. Fun fact: Sunlight soap works great for getting blood off of hides
> Long tongs: To get the lower jaw or smaller skulls out of the boiling pot
> Nitrile gloves: I use these throughout the whole process
> Tweezers: A larger and smaller set of utility or surgical tweezers
> Wire: A good-sized piece of coat hanger works well
> Stiff Bristle Brush: Not a wire or metal brush, as that could scratch the skull
> Garbage Bag(s)
> Vaseline or Plastic Wrap with Tape or Tinfoil
> Paper Towel
> Container or Small Tub: One that is deep enough to lay the skull in to submerge it in liquid hydrogen peroxide, if that’s the whitening process you choose. The container can also serve as a place for you to rest the skulls you have wrapped in the hydrogen peroxide cream.
> Hydrogen peroxide: I use the liquid version (you can pick it up at a dollar store) to submerge the skulls in. I use roughly of the ml bottles with the container (an old baking pan) that I use. Or you can use hydrogen peroxide cream ( volume that salons use) to wrap the skull in. **Never use bleach on a skull. Bleach keeps working on the skull over time and will eventually break down the skull. Another way to whiten a skull is with good old sunlight. It’s a natural method, but will obviously take longer to whiten.
> Piece of Wood/Small Board: You can use these across the top of the pot to hold the antlers out of the water
> Super Glue: In case any teeth fall out or a piece of cracks or breaks
> Q-tips[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid element_width=6 grid_id=vc_gidd-bc include=,][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
- Shoot a deer (or other wild game) and cut the head off of the body as close to the base of the skull as you can
- Skin the hide off and remove as much meat as you can (cheeks, tongue, nose and eyes). The longer the meat sits on the skull the harder it will be and the longer it could take to clean. I wear nitrile gloves throughout the whole process (easier clean up).
- Fill and bring to a boil your pot of water with a few drops of dawn soap (I usually put the heads in the water as the water heats up)
- I like to leave the skull in the water anywhere from mins or more at a time to cook. It’s nice to clean the skulls when the weather is good outside. I take this time when outside to work on other projects or shoot my bow while the skull is boiling. It’s also a good idea to use the burner on a calmer day or in a sheltered area, like a garage, so your flame won’t keep going out. Don’t worry if you leave the skulls to boil longer than mins at a time, the meat will just keep cooking off of the bone.
- Remove the skull from the water, after its been boiling, and cut away as much meat, tendons or connective tissue from the skull as you can. You may also want to scoop off any fat and grease that will come to the surface of the water. Just remember to re-add water as needed.
- I like to use my knife or scalpel to cut off larger pieces of meat and the small thin tweezers to pull out attachment pieces and the larger tweezers to get inside the back of the skull and/or hold meat away from the skull when I am cutting it off.
- Cleaning out the brain: When the skull has been boiling enough to soften the brain (you will know, as it will be a soft, sticky and a puddy-like consistency) and you can easily scoop it out of the skull. Use the coat hanger (I fold a good-sized section in two) to scramble and scoop the brain out. I also tap the skull against the table gently with the back of the skull down (make sure there’s a garbage bag under it) to try and remove the brain. Another way to remove the brain is with a hose. You can use the water to spray inside the skull to wash it out.
- Thin membrane on the skull: I like to use a stiff bristle brush (be sure not to use a metal brush, as it can scratch the skull) and gently rub the thin membrane off of the skull. This is easiest when the skull is hot.
- The bases of antlers and the base of the skull: These areas can be the hardest to clean. I like to use a knife or sharp tweezers to scrape off the connective tissue.
- Nasal cavities: When cleaning the nasal cavities out, be cautious and try not to damage or pull out the thin nasal bones on inside of the nostrils and on the top of the nose. Its ok if you pull out too much of those thin/small bones, the skull will still look great in the end.
- Knock out ear bones (see images for location): I use a screw driver (along the edge of the ear bone) and a hammer to tap out and lift the ear bones out of the skull. You’d be surprised how much meat can sit in behind these bones.
7. Once you have cleaned the skull off to the best of your ability, you’re ready to whiten it. **When whitening your skull be sure to wear gloves. I like to whiten my skulls with liquid hydrogen peroxide, instead of the cream/paste. I prefer a more natural bone white look. The cream can yield a whiter looking skull. But it’s up to you – the over-all look of a skull is totally personal preference. I have even seen skulls painted, covered in jewels and stones or even hydro dipped with colour or camo patterns to give a cool effect.
- Cover and protect the antler bases or any other part of the antlers from the hydrogen peroxide, using Vaseline or plastic wrap and tape or tinfoil. If the antlers are exposed to hydrogen peroxide it will lighten/whiten the antlers. If this happens don’t worry, you can just paint the antler back to life.
- I personally use Vaseline to protect the antlers. I really coat the antler bases in the stuff. I just wipe it off the antlers after I have whitened the skull. It doesn’t damage the antlers and adds a bit of a gloss to the antlers when cleaning them.
- You can also just wrap tinfoil or plastic wrap with tape around the antlers/bases tightly to make sure the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t get on the antler.
- Liquid hydrogen peroxide method:
- This method will whiten the skull, but keep it more of a natural white bone colour.
- I place the skull in the container (remember the container only needs to be deep enough to submerge the skull) and fill the container with the liquid hydrogen peroxide. The amount needed depends on the size of the container and number of skulls in it.
- This method is great for submerging skulls without antlers as well.
- I usually keep the skull in the liquid for hrs. If you leave it longer than that, it’s not a big deal. The skull will just keep whitening.
- Cream/paste hydrogen peroxide ( volume)method:
- For this method you shouldn’t need to cover the antler bases, if you are careful. But if you are worried just cover them up.
- If you’d like, you can pour, brush or rub the cream over the skull before you wrap it. Then saturate paper towel sheets in the hydrogen peroxide cream and wrap them around the skull (remember to avoid the antlers).
- I would leave the paste on anywhere from hrs. You can check on the skull anytime and leave the cream on less or more than stated, depending on how white you want your skull
8. Once the skull has whitened:
- Rinse it under running water for a few minutes and wipe off the Vaseline with paper towels and Q-tips or take off what you used to protect the antlers.
- I also take this time to wash off any dirt, blood or tree matter from the antlers, using dawn soap and a brush.
- You will find that any smaller pieces of tissue and tendon you couldn’t clean off of the skull earlier will have softened and can be removed. I usually use tweezers, a knife and/or my fingers to scrape away this extra tissue and get into the small creases. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I like to spend time cleaning any extra pieces off of the skull.
- Then leave the skull to dry on top of a towel in a ventilated area for a couple days.
9. Displaying your skull:
- When the skull has dried enough, you are ready to display it in your home, office or shop!
- There are so many methods out there to hanging your skulls. I love to use Skull Hooker (both the wall and table versions), but you could even find a nice piece of wood to mount the skull to on your wall, or just display the skull on a table. So many possibilities to enjoy and remember your hunt for years to come!
In the end, just have fun with it, experiment and enjoy the process. There’s no right way to clean your skull, so just try it and you’ll be surprised how awesome it’ll turn out. No matter what you should be proud that you have shot, processed and cleaned up your animal yourself! Plus, having your animal skulls in your home is a great way to tell others about your epic hunts. And what hunter doesn’t love telling their hunting stories?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_media_grid element_width=6 grid_id=vc_giddbddd include=,][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Can you spray paint a deer skull?
Click to see full answer.
Likewise, people ask, what kind of paint do you use to dip deer skulls?
Spray Paint Hydro Dipping Deer Skulls - YouTube.
Furthermore, can you paint a deer skull white? Before you begin painting a deer skull you will want to make sure you have removed any portions of the deer's head that might have still been attached to the skull. Most hobbyists prefer to simply use white paint on skulls, however you can use any color you like, or paint a design.
Keeping this in view, what kind of paint do you use for skulls?
What kind of paint do you use for hydro dipping?
You can use about any regular acrylic spray paint – Hydro dipping is a great chance to use up old spray cans. Spray generously onto the water.
Make Your Own Deer Skull Mount With DIY Taxidermy
Some trophies just don’t deserve a trip to the taxidermist for a shoulder mount, yet they don’t deserve to be tacked to the tool shed, either.
Three Ways to Clean a Deer Skull
European skull mounts are the answer, and it’s a cinch to produce a classy mount in a single day. Which route to a clean skull should you take?
1. Skull Stew
Boiling a skull doesn’t actually involve boiling, but instead uses gentle simmering to loosen tissue. Hard boiling will cause the bones of a skull to fall apart.
For best results—and to preserve your marriage—conduct the process outside or in the garage. Use a propane stove and an old canning pot large enough to submerge the skull up to the base of its antlers. Fill with water, and add a dash of dish detergent as a degreasing agent.
Remove as much excess meat and brain as possible, and protect any portion of the antler that might be submerged with clear plastic wrap secured with packaging tape or tin foil. This will preserve the antler’s color and natural look.
Now simmer. The chore may take several hours, even all day. After each hour, remove the skull and scrape meat away. If the water gets too goopy, dump it and refresh the bath. If you want the nose cartilage to stay intact, be careful when removing the fleshy portion of the nasal canal.
A moist skull cleans easier than one that has dried out, so if you can’t simmer soon after you kill your animal, freeze the skull until you have time to process it.
2. Beetle Juice
A hands-free method for removing meat from your skull is to employ dermestid beetles. A colony of these ravenous insects can make short work of a skull that’s had most of the large chunks of meat removed. In days, the beetles will eat away dried leftovers, saving you a stinky cooking job.
If you dont want to grow your own insects—free-range bugs can eat everything in sight—send your skull to any of the many beetle keepers you can find online at beetlecleaning.com or at cleanbone.com. A clean skull is only a UPS truck ride away, for $50 to $, plus shipping.
3. Power Wash
Put that power washer in your garage into play for skull cleaning. Restrained power washing removes meat with pressure and, when combined with simmering, can hasten the skull-cleaning task.
Don old raingear, rubber boots, latex gloves, and goggles to protect yourself from splashing gore. Wire the skull to a board or a fence, and then start with low pressure, since deer skulls are fragile. Increase the pressure as needed. For best results, use a rotating nozzle. After you’ve removed all the meat, give the skull a degreasing bath in dish detergent.
After the meat is removed, enhance your mount by boosting the skulls whiteness. An easy path to a white skull is to purchase kits available through taxidermy outlets like Van Dykes Taxidermy. You can also use the hair salon products referred to as basic white. Mix this with a 40 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide and paint the paste on the warm skull, fresh from the pot. Wrapping the skull in foil or clear plastic wrap allows the concoction to soak in, enhancing the whiteness. After a day or so, brush away the flaky residue.
The Lazy Mans European Mount
If bugs and boiling sounds like too much work, dont toss the rack just yet. Mountain Mikes mounting kits ($43; masterofskulls.com) come complete with an authentic-looking European skull reproduction. You simply saw the antlers off your real skull and use the hardware to mount them on the plastic-reproduction skull provided. Available for deer (in white and camo) and elk. ––Mark Kayser
How to Camo-Dip a Deer Skull
This DIY taxidermy trick isnt for everyone, but it is an eye-popping option that will spice up your walls and provide a change from shoulder mounts and bleached skulls. You can choose whatever colors you like best, too.
1. Clean It
The most difficult part is cleaning the skull. Boiling it is probably the quickest method, even if it is a bit smelly. Dermestid beetles do a fantastic job, and you can usually get it done for a nominal fee. Or, if you have a few months, you can bury the skull and let nature do the work. Once the skull is clean, it’s time to have some fun.
2. Prep and Prime It
Use painter’s tape to cover about 5 inches of the antlers, starting at the bases. Apply an even base coat of spray paint to the entire skull. I prefer a flat-gray primer for the base coat, but you can use whatever color you like. Take your time, and apply several thin coats to ensure even coverage without drips and runs.
3. Spray It
Get a clean bucket or a plastic tote large enough to hold the skull. Fill it with clean room-temperature water. Next, create your color palette. Holding the spray can 3 to 4 inches away, cover the surface with the first color. Then repeat with another color. You can spray as many alternating color rings as you like. Next, use a paint-stirring stick to gently move the colors into a swirl pattern.
4. Dip It
Slowly submerge the skull. As you dip it, you’ll see the paint adhering to the bone. Once the entire skull is submerged, hold it in place as you grab your stir stick again, and swish any unused paint to the sides of the container and away from the skull. Lift the skull out of the water and admire your handiwork. If you prefer a gloss finish, allow the skull to dry completely, then top off with a clear coat. ––Tony Hansen
Mount european spray painted
All of the big-game mounts in my home trigger fond memories of successful past hunts, and I admire them often. Among them are many European mounts, which are game skulls I’ve cleaned and whitened myself to avoid the $ taxidermy bills for shoulder mounts. Here’s how I completed the latest European mount — a large bull elk I arrowed on public land in — in my trophy room.
Making Your Own European Mount
Step 1. Remove the Cape
Firstly, using a scalpel, I cut and peeled the hide from the skull. If you intend to sell the cape (where legal), employ the Y-cut (Google this for a diagram), but take care not to cut holes in the cape.
Step 2. Clean It Up
Then, I cut as much muscle and tissue off of the skull as possible, even removing the elk’s tongue, eyeballs and lower jawbone. It’s wise to wear latex gloves during this step.
Step 3. Antler Prep
Wrap the antler bases in foil. I did this to prevent discoloration and the formation of fat and soap scum on the antler bases.
Step 4. Simmer The Skull
I submerged the skull in a pot full of water, then dribbled in some dish soap. The cooking time also varies depending on the stove and the size of the skull. The elk skull that I mounted for this article required approximately six hours of cooking to loosen all of the tissue.
Step 5. Power Washing
Power washing is the easiest method I’ve found to blow the tissue and brain matter from the skull. Outside, I secured the antlers so the power washer didn’t blast the skull away, which could cause irreparable cracks or breakage. Also, be sure to avoid getting the power washer’s tip too close to the nose bones, as they could break from the pressure. Continue power washing until the skull is clean.
Step 6. Whitening Time
Cheap hair-bleaching kits or industrial-strength hydrogen peroxide work well for whitening the skull. Also, make sure you wear gloves to avoid painful burns. Then, wash the solution away and let the skull dry before displaying.
Lastly, with my elk skull, I simply spray-painted it with a white primer/paint combo. It’s important to cover the antlers and spray carefully to avoid getting white paint onto them. Now I have a trophy that will trigger fond memories for the rest of my life, and I paid virtually nothing to create it.
How to Make a European Mount
If you’re fortunate enough to harvest an antlered animal for the freezer this fall, a European mount is a tasteful way to display the antlers in your home or garage. Taxidermists often charge a couple hundred bucks for the service, but it’s a great DIY project. Everyone seems to have a different way to do it, this is my process.
Things you’ll need:
- One propane burner
- One gallon propane tank
- One large pot (a pot for deep frying turkey is about the right size)
- Pressure Washer
- One small paintbrush
- One container of 40 volume hydrogen peroxide
- Dish washer detergent
- Duct tape
- Aluminum foil
- Sharp knife
- Latex Gloves
- Eye Protection
- Clothes that won’t mind being dirty.
Step 1: First, remove the hide, eyes and flesh from the skull with a sharp knife, and take extra care to pry the hide from the base of each antler a flathead screwdriver works great. This chore is best done in the field, or as soon as possible after taking the animal (the longer it sits with hide on, the more it’s going to smell when you finally get around to it, and the more difficult it will be to whiten).
Step 2: Next, fill your pot with water and place it on the lit burner. You’ll want just enough water to cover the skull, but not so much that your antlers are totally submerged. While you’re waiting for it to heat up, wrap each antler in aluminum foil and secure with duct tape. This will keep the boiling water and steam from discoloring your antlers.
Step 3: Place the skull in the pot and let it sit for hours.
Step 4: Remove the skull from the water and remove any bits of flesh or matter still clinging to bone with a knife (it may be necessary to do this a couple of times throughout the process). Check the aluminum foil to make sure it’s secure and your antlers aren’t being exposed to water directly. Then, change your water, heat and add in a scoop dishwasher detergent and your skull. Wait hours.
Step 5: Remove the skull and, using the pressure washer, remove any remaining bits of skin and flesh be careful to avoid spraying any exposed antler to avoid discoloration. (A local DIY carwash works great too, just don’t tell them who sent you). By now you should have a skull void of any flesh; it should be clean bone, though probably not very white. If necessary, repeat steps 4 and 5 until the skull is in satisfactory shape.
Step 6: Don your latex gloves and paint your skull with the 40 volume hydrogen peroxide. Let your skull sit for for several hours, then rinse and repeat to reach your desired whiteness. I like a bone-white look as opposed to a bleached-white appearance, but everyone has their preference. Remove the aluminum foil and rinse any remaining peroxide or residue from the base of each antler.
Once the skull is dry, you’ll have a clean, sanitary piece ready for display in your house or garage. Commercial hangers for European mounts are available through a number of sources online, but, if you’re pinching pennies, a two-foot length of cord and a finishing nail will do the job.
Process & Images:Sam Averett
Tags:how to, hunting
Publish DateMay 14, Filsonhttps://filson-life.imgix.net//07/DSC_jpg?fit=scale&fm=pjpg&h=&ixlib=php&w=&wpsize=mediumMay 14,
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Before you begin painting a deer skull you will want to make sure you have removed any portions of the deer's head that might have still been attached to the skull. Most hobbyists prefer to simply use white paint on skulls, however you can use any color you like, or paint a design.
Click to see full answer
In respect to this, what kind of paint do you use for skulls?
Similarly, can you paint a European mount? (Note, for a better looking European mount, avoid spray painting the teeth. The dark coloration of the teeth give the mount a more realistic look.) A great spray paint, which you can indeed find at most any Wal-Mart store is CoverMaxx by Krylon.
Hereof, what do you use to whiten a deer skull?
Mix 12% hydrogen peroxide and water in a ratio in a plastic container large enough to accommodate the deer skull. You can use lower concentration depending on your preference. Soak the deer skull into the hydrogen peroxide solution making sure that the skull is completely soaked but the antlers are not.
Is it legal to sell animal skulls?
It is not illegal to buy a human skull or endangered animal parts. It is also not completely legal.