How to Tan Rabbit Hide (with Egg Yolk)





Introduction: How to Tan Rabbit Hide (with Egg Yolk)

I am going to show you how I tan a hide. It is not the only way, it may not be the best way. It is my way. My way is cheap, easy, and quick. :)

Step 1: Materials

To tan a rabbit hide you dont need much.Every hunters has his own way but for me this works just fine.

All you need is: a rabbit

egg yolk



Step 2: Skinning

The skin of a rabbit is very thin so you dont even need a knife.After you have skinned him take a bucket of water and wash the skin to take off dirt and blood(no need for scrubbing).

If you dont know how to skin a rabbit here is a video that helped me:

Step 3: Stretching and Salting the Skin

Take the skin and nail it to a board to keep it stretched.I like to use finish nails. Staples do a lot of damage and are hard to remove. Large nails put large holes.

Put a 1/4 to 1/2 inch(0.6 cm to 1.3 cm) layer of salt on the exposed hide. This is an optional step that I always do. The next step takes time. I usually let it sit in the salt for a few days. If you do not have the time to do it right away, salting will preserve your skin until you are ready. It can also make the next step easier.

Step 4: Fleshing and Tanning

Remove all of the salt, brush off as much as possible. Take a dull knife, spoon, file, or anything handy and start scraping all of the meat and fat off the skin. You kind of push it off. Depending on your skinning skills, this can take a long time, or no time. All of the fat and meat must be removed. If you do not have time to finish, just re-salt and you can start back up later.

I use egg yolks to tan my hides. This is a version of brain tanning. I prefer it because I don't have to dig around for the critters brain. If you have an extra brain laying around you can substitute it for the egg yolk. I used one egg for the rabbit skin, it was barely enough. beat the yolk until it is smooth. Gently rub it into the skin. You should cover every bit of the skin, but it should not get on the hair side of the skin. Now take a wet rag and cover the skin to keep the egg from drying out and let it sit over night.

If you need to keep the flies away cover the rag with borax.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Remove from the board(dont worry about the holes you can sew them) and wash the hide to get rid of any salt,egg or borax off it. While the skin is still damp work it over a rope,board or anything smooth to soften the skin.


Smoking the hide gives it a measure of waterproofing. If you don't do this and the hide gets wet, you will have to rework it. Smoke over very low heat with a hard wood for about 30 minutes. Don't cook it! I have a smoker, which is great for small hides, but for larger hides you may have to use a fire pit.

Thank you for viewing this instructable ,i hope you have a good time. :)



    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.


    2 Questions

    What kind of salt did you use? Non-iodized or regular table salt?

    How long do you leave the egg yolks on?


    Sorry I can't supply an image. I did use these egg tanning instructions and followed up by working the rabbit skin with hemp oil. One can also use olive oil. Turns out nice and soft.

    I recently brain smoked a rabbit hide, but didnt use salt and instead of a layer if fat he had thin layer if skin stuck to the hide that was difficult to remove without tearing holes. I didnt do as good as i would have liked to, but contined with the next step from another site. Washed it, pulled off what i could, soaked it in brains overnight. Rinsed it off, worked it until it was almost but not completely dry and smoked it for a few hours. It turned dark brown, felt really soft and workable until it dried completely. Now its rock hard. How can i reconstitute it without ruining it, and do i need to resmoke it?

    Thank you for the instructions! We tried it using a small section of fresh cow hide, but it has never seemed to "dry" if you will. It has never been stiff at all, and seems like clean, fresh hide still instead of leather. NOTE: we live in an extremely humid area. Any thoughts?

    3 replies

    Egg“tanning“ together with brain“tanning“ is not a method to truly tan a hide. The raison why brains and/or eggs, that is egg yolk, are used is to fat liquor a hide or the hide’s fibers so that you can get the hide soft by stacking it. The softness of a hide is necessary for the next step, that is, the real tanning process.

    A true tanning effect is then obtained by finally smoking the hide. The softer the hide prior to smoking the better the smoke penetration will be, the better the hide will be tanned, smoke tanned.

    So after the hide has sat with the eggs on it the eggs are then washed off the hide and the hide is worked until dry then smoked later, is that right? That's what I've been doing but I've seen videos of people smoking with the eggs still on (??) and wondering if I'm doing it wrong!

    did you salt it first to dry it out? salt it first for about a week for cowhide, then apply egg yolk and leave sit for 2 days, and then wash it in room temp water, and hang to dry for a few days.

    Hi thanks for the helpful tutorial

    I have a question

    what do you mean by saying work it over?

    like push it and stretch on a surface?



    I did this with coon skin but I didn't tan it, I just let it dry. The hair won't fall out unless you soak it in a special liquid. ( I think that might be lye and water) Just remember when stretching it do not do it too tightly, the hide shrinks as it drys and can make some pretty big holes when stretched too tightly.

    Thanks for posting! We did try it with a small section of cow hide, but it has never seemed to dry. (didn't become stiff, and / or look like leather even a week after we tanned and washed it.) NOTE: we live an an EXTREMELY humid area. Any thougths?

    Awesome job, I'll have to try this I skin out a lot of little critters.