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Samantha - New York City - 25

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  • Tutorial: DIY Faux Deer Taxidermy // PART ONE: Sculpting the skull on Friday, January 3, 2014 @ 7:12 PM

    If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I have embarked on a huge project. I have never done anything so intricate before especially with sculpting and constructing. But let's start from the beginning.

    Recently, I became really intrigued with faux deer taxidermy (the real thing creeps me out a bit), mainly so I can hang my necklaces on the antlers. I'm not sure where I saw this awesome resin stag head...but it was more than $100 and out of my price range. I even went to the flea market at Giant Stadium to see if someone was selling anything remotely close to a deer. Nothing. That's when I decided to make my own, so I started hunting for tutorials online. I found a few but nothing that really caught my eyes.

    Then I saw this resin cow skull from Hobby Lobby while browsing online and thought 'Hey, maybe I can just fool people into thinking it's a deer skull and add antlers to them.' At first I wanted to use tree branches for the antlers. But since I live in the city, access to nice thick fallen branches is not likely. I couldn't just saw off branches from the government planted tree in front of my house (which I absolutely hate. Ridiculous how Mayor Bloomberg thinks it's better to plant trees than pay public school teachers better).

    Anyway, let's start with the tutorial:

    This is what you will need:

    • Resin skull (optional in case you want to sculpt your own) - $2.99 (orig: $5.99)
    • Air dry clay - $5.39 (orig: $8.99)
    • Wood plaque - $2.99
    • Wire hangers or wire
    • Wallpaper or paper mache paste
    • Glue gun
    • Pliers
    • Aluminum foil 
    • Latex gloves
    • Shredded paper
    • Spray Paint (optional) - $4.20 (orig: $6.99)
    • Acrylic paint
    • Masking tape
    • Electrical tape
    The items I used were mainly on sale from the crafts store and basic household items or tools. Hobby Lobby and Michael's usually has a 40% off one item coupon on their site and always has items for sale; I bought the resin skull for 50% off and the air dry clay with the 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby, and the gold spray paint at Michael's with their 40% off Black Friday coupon (I already had a black one at home). The wood plaque was also purchased from Hobby Lobby and it's a lot cheaper than at Michael's ($10). So technically this project only costed me: $15.57

    The resin skull that I got was smaller than I expected, probably only took up about 1/3 of the wood plaque. Seeing this, I decided to sculpt on top of the resin skull. I don't necessarily have any experience with sculpting besides taking ceramics class in high school, so I was pretty scared about screwing it up.

    I began by tracing and measuring the skull, and decided to scale it to be 1.5 times bigger than the original. I didn't want the head to be THAT big.


    Having a template, I put plastic wrap on top so I can reuse the template if needed and so the clay won't stick. I also didn't have any legit sculpting tools; I just used a nail dotting tool and an X-acto knife to carve and detail.

    You should leave the back flat whether you're sculpting from scratch or on top of a figure, so you can attach it to the plaque.

    It's also very helpful to have a lot of reference pictures next to you.

    As for the sculpting process, it is better to watch the video since it is kind of hard to explain exactly what I did without constant visuals.

    Tip: Do not use too much water with the clay; it will thin out the product thus causing it to crack.

    As you can see, my sculpt started cracking because I used too much water. I tried to put more clay on top of the cracks but it didn't really help, so I started to paper mache the sculpt with wallpaper paste and shredded toilet paper.

    Cheap single ply toilet paper works best because you want the paper to be thin so it can mold against the details of the sculpt. After that, set the sculpt to dry for about a day.

    In the meanwhile, if you want, start making clay roses. Since I wasn't able to record myself making the roses, here is a tutorial for making clay roses: HERE. I made a total of five for my piece: one big rose, two medium and two small. Once they dried, I painted them.

    Click here for Part Two~

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    Blogger Ruby said on January 8, 2014 at 9:37 AM  

    Shredded papers will always be useful, right? Thanks for this post. I'll be shredding lots of papers later and I think I'll start looking for the other materials listed here. My son will definitely love this new décor for his room. What do you think? :)

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

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