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Picture of Mounting Deer Antlers
A homemade deer antler mount that looks good enough to hang up in your house.
 
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Step 1: Shoot a deer!

Picture of Shoot a deer!
In order to get your deer antlers it would probably be good to shoot a male deer (a buck). You might be able to get some from a hunter friend or something like that if you aren't a hunter yourself.

Be sure to leave the top/front portion of the skull attached which is necessary for the mounting.

Step 2: Stuff that you'll need

Materials

Antlers
Luan Plywood
Bolt
2 Nuts
Gorilla Glue
Crayola Model Magic Clay (Air Dry)
Cloth 1/2 Yard (your choice of color)
A Plaque
Wood Stain

You're also going to need some basic tools like a ban saw, a sander, a staple gun and a drill with a couple different types of drill bits.

Step 3: Creating the plate for mounting the antlers to the plaque

In this step you will make the piece that connects the antlers to the wooden plaque.

First I drew two overlapping circles onto the luan to make a nice teardrop shape. I used a little container and a spray paint can for the circles and connected them to help get the nice rounded shape.

Next you need to cut out the shape. I used a belt sander to smooth out the edges.

Step 4: Attaching the antlers to the mounting plate

Picture of Attaching the antlers to the mounting plate
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Trace your antlers onto the mounting plate so they can be easily aligned for drilling.

Drill a hole in the center of your antlers big enough for your bolt to fit through.

Also drill a hole through the luan board that is lined up with the hole in the antlers.

Step 5: Attach the antlers to the mounting plate

I used gorilla glue to fasten the bolt to the antlers.

Simply slide the bolt into the hole in the skull and glue it on. I had to use a washer so the bolt would line up correctly to fit into the hole in the luan and the plaque.

Now the antlers can be bolted to the mounting plate.

Step 6: Prepare the plaque

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In this step you will need to drill three holes.

The first will be the size of the bolt so it can fit through the plaque.

The second hole will be on the front of the plaque. This needs to be wide enough and deep enough only for the nut on the back of the mounting plate to fit flush up against the front of the plaque.

The third hole will be the same size as the second but on the back of the plaque. This will allow the second nut, attaching the mounting plate to the plaque, to be flush in the back. This will allow your antlers to sit flat on the wall when you hang them.

I don't have any pictures of this, but at this point I chose to use a keyhole router bit on the back of my plaque so when i hung it on the wall it would be flush and look nice.

Step 7: Shape the "head" of the mount

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Use the crayola clay to shape the top of the "head."

You want it to be nice and smooth so when you pull the cloth over it it will be free of lumps and indentions. It may take a while to get the exact shape that you want, so be patient and work the clay until you like it.

Also be sure to push the modeling clay down around the base of the antlers as shown in the picture so the cloth will fit snugly around them.

The clay needs a day or two to harden before you continue so it keeps it shape.

Step 8: Stain your plaque. (Optional)

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I chose to stain my plaque to give the project a nice finished look.

Use a paper towel or a brush to apply the stain to the wood.

Always remember to follow the grain of the wood when staining.

Step 9: Covering the "head"

This is a tricky step, but if you've ever upholstered a piece of furniture or anything it wont be to hard.

Lay the fabric over the top of the "head" and begin stapling the fabric to the back of the mounting plate. Work the fabric all the way around the bottom of the mounting plate, making sure that the front is pulled taut and smoothed out. Trim the excess fabric off as needed to make it easier to work.

When you have worked both sides of the fabric up the back of the mounting plate, cut a slit in the fabric at the top of "head" and wrap the cloth around the base of antlers. Again, cut off any excess material as needed.

Staple the fabric on the back of the mounting plate at the top as well, pulling the fabric taut around the antlers and over the top of the "head."

Make sure that you leave about a centimeter of extra fabric around the base of the antlers during this whole process. Use a small screwdriver to press this excess fabric into the space that was left between the modeling clay and the bottom edge of the antlers. This will leave a nice, clean looking edge around the base of the antlers with the fabric.

Step 10: Attach the antlers/mounting plate to the plaque

Picture of Attach the antlers/mounting plate to the plaque
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Now, all that is left is to slide the rest of the bolt through the hole in the plaque and bolt it into place!

There you have it. The finished project. Now just go hang it up on the wall somewhere.
kamhunter11 months ago

sweet i hope i get a buck to do this with!

I use plaster not clay, use dry wall screw not bolt and the edge of the plaque looks good with a darker color of stain

Lorddrake3 years ago
what is the best method for cleaning the leftover bits of meats off the bone so that it can be mounted.

boil it?

bury it?

leave it outside for a while and hope a small animal doesn't run off with it?

Boil it for 10-15 minutes. Try to keep the actual antlers out of the water. Scrape off the grisly bits with a sharp knife. May want to boil/scrape a second time if there's a lot.
DonQuijote7 years ago
it seems stupid to me, that anyone would NOT have those skull bones in plain sight. but that's just me, don't feel insulted.
Its a different style of mount. If the deer was beat up one might not want to see the scared head. I believe this is a style of the European mount. Also a full head mount is expensive and no one does that for all their deer unless they are all monsters. So do you do a full mount for all the deer you bag?
Delta- I agree that there are reasons for the presented method. I wanted to let you know that a European mount however, is when the antlers are intact with the rest of the skull as well as lower jaw and all of the flesh is removed.
i actually meant something else..... my old man has a pair of antlers, cut up just like that, and he put it on some lumber piece he polished, and voila. the only difference to your pair, is that the remains of the skull bones are in sight. and i like it better that way. it's basically just screwed in place. with some decent looking screws.
You may as well. The animal is already dead.
Bran Khurs7 years ago
To get it done by even the smallest taxidermy shops costs about $300 dollars.
canida7 years ago
Sweet! Now all I need is a deer... ;)
in Michigan, you just need to drive a couple of miles down the road. The roadside is littered with 'em. All the hunters that I know carry a portable cleaning kit in their car, because they know they will eventually hit one no matter how careful they are. Don't want to waste a good deer.
whiteoakart7 years ago
I found a huge frozen buck (8 point) floating in the lake this weekend. What is the best way to saw off the top of the skull? Hacksaw, Dremel, cross-cut saw, chainsaw? thx
if you want to cut the horns out of the skull and keep them together with a peice of bone or something, you can use a sawz-all (thats what i used, its kind of like a big jigsaw) by just cutting a short wide U under the horns. after that, just trim off all of the ecsess bone. done. P.S. dont worry about cutting too far into the head.. the deer wont be using its head much anymore ; )
I got it this weekend. I used a 18 tooth/inch hacksaw and cut right on through the brain. As it had been dead for some time and the innards were not frozen, it smelled to high heaven once I got through the bone. I think I will soak my hacksaw in bleach for awhile. Today I am going to clean up the rack with some advice from a hunter friend. I will definitely be using your instructable for the mount. Thanks. I will post an image here when i am done.
O! a chainsaw is not reccomended
rocotillo7 years ago
i am very sorry but who want to hang a horned jock strap on their wall?
roco, it would say a lot about your manliness to have a horned jockstrap, don't you think.
Amazingly done Instructable! It looks great, nice job getting featured too!
That is a fine job. Looks like it was done by a company. I'll be sure to use this this Fall after I bag a nice one. Picture quality is great too.