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Samantha - New York City - 25

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  • Tutorial: DIY Faux Deer Taxidermy // PART TWO: Antlers & Final Construction on Friday, January 3, 2014 @ 7:39 PM
    If you haven't seen part one, click here~

    Now let's start part two!

    Before we begin, above is a picture of the parts of an antler since I will be referring to those terms.

    After the skull has dried, I used a couple of wire hangers that nobody in my house uses anymore and unraveled them and cut them to various sizes; the longest for the main beam and shorter ones for the points.

    Using a reference picture, I roughly drew out the size and shape of how I wanted the antlers. I bend the longest wire into a curve. I glued two shorter wires together into a fork for a point and another short one for the point on the base.

    After attaching all the wire together, I wrapped it in masking tape.

    Next up is to wrap everything with aluminum foil so it gives it a thicker base and shape. Keep piling it on until you have the desired silhouette. 

    Afterwards, you cover the foil with clay and try to smooth out the clay as you go (unless you want a more bumpy organic texture). To make the burr, roll out a thick snake of clay and blend it into the main beam. 

    Again, wait about a day for it to dry. Use something to put under the antlers to hold up the shape so it doesn't droop while it's drying. I'm using rolls of tape.

    You will probably see some cracking along the antlers since the coverage isn't really thick, but that's fine because we will do paper mache on the antlers as well. If the cracking is very prominent, as if it's about to break then wrap masking tape around it then put paper mache on it.

    However this time, I started with supermarket circulars because it is a bit thicker and I wanted to build a strong foundation. I find it helpful to use a paintbrush to paint on the wallpaper paste instead of using my hands (with gloves) as I did with the skull.

    After a couple layers, I switched back to toilet paper because with the circulars, it was a bit harder to mold it around the tip of the points.
    Make sure to do the back of the antlers also!

    While that's drying you can prepare your wood plaque. You can leave it as is if you want or stain it or bejewel it or paint it. I decided to spray paint the plaque black so it goes with the rest of the decor of my room. Before I took it out to the balcony to spray paint, I draw a straight line down the middle with a pencil and place skull on the plaque to see where you want to position it. Then put a small mark on where you would put the nail in. After drilling the whole in, I took it out to spray paint it black.

    After your antlers have dried, tape and wrap a plastic bag around the skull so when you spray paint the antlers, it won't mess up the skull. I spray painted it with metallic gold paint.

    After a couple coats of spray paint, I painted the skull with buttermilk and grey acrylic paint.

    Then I attached the whole thing to the wooden plaque and glued the roses on the bottom. Though it is probably a better idea to glue them on after you drill the plaque on the wall because the vibrations from the power drill is going to make them fall off, especially since I only glued them on with a glue gun (was too impatient to glue with E600).

    Bonus picture: GHETTO FILMING! Yes, I have dumbbells weighing down a poster roll, which is attach to my mini tripod's clip.

    This is the final product and I know it's not anatomically correct but I think it still looks nice. My brother was poking fun at it saying that if a deer had antlers that big compared to its skull in real life, it would snap its neck and die. To which I responded with "That's why it's dead and on my wall!"

    Here it is hanging on my wall on top of my Ikea UNG DRILL mirror, with a couple of my favorite necklaces.

    Not to toot my own horn but for my first time making something like this, I have to say that I am pretty impressed with myself. It turned out really cool.

    I hope you find this tutorial helpful! & I would love to see your recreations if you decide to use this tutorial.

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