Introduction: Mixed Media Cow Skull

About: I enjoy repurposing and restoring old furniture and making woodwork projects that are not seen every day. I make most of my projects using wood that is either, recycled,reclaimed and love to repurpose and rest…

I was given this skull by a friend who farms cattle. Skulls have become really popular at the moment for home decor. They are decorated in many ways as wall hangings. I chose to give this one a mixed media makeover using items I had laying around at home. If you don't want to decorate a real skull resin skulls are available to buy on the internet.

Step 1: Prepare the Skull

My skull has sat outside in the sun for years and was dirty. I soaked it in a bath with bleach for a few hours and scrubbed all the dirt off with a brush. I used epoxy and super glue to glue the loose teeth back into the skull. I also removed all the loose cavities inside the skull, I think they could be the sinus cavities.

Step 2: Add Texture to the Skull

Mixed media is all about adding texture and layers to your project. I used an offcut of leather to cover the top of the skull, this will give the skull a nice texture. Glue the leather using a multi-purpose glue. I made some stencils using a Cricut vinyl cutter in different designs. Using the stencil place it on the skull and add a layer of texture paste, then remove the stencil. This step does not need to be perfect, the imperfections make it look better in the end.

Step 3: Decorate the Kull

To hide the edges on the leather, I glued some split peas around the edges with tacky glue. Then used scraps of cardboard, studs, thumbtacks, burlap, buttons, keys and charms to name a few for the rest. On closer inspection, you will see lots of common items.

Step 4: Add the Farm Design

I came up with this unique idea after it worked so well on my Halloween bottles. I downloaded free clipart graphics and added them to design space which is Cricuts software. You just build up the design by adding more images then grouping them as one graphic before you cut the vinyl. I cut the farm scene design out using a Cricut explore air 2 onto permanent vinyl. The design was transferred onto transfer tape and put onto the leather. Rub the design with a scraper until it sticks to the leather.

Step 5: Paint the Skull

Once I was happy with all the items that were glued onto the skull I painted it all with black Gesso. You can always go back and add more items at any time. Next, is where the magic happens this step take minutes to do. Dip your finger into the bronze wax paste and rub your finger across the surface. This will make all the textures pop, don't fill in all the nooks and crannies with the bronze paste or the effect will be lost. When rubbing the vinyl decal, add 2 layers of the bronze paste. This will make the design stick out like embossed metal.

Step 6: Make the Horns

The skull I had did not have horns so I made some as best I could. Using tin foil roll it up to get a thick roll. This will help get the bend in the horn. Next, I used paper towels and rolled it around the tin foil to get the thickness. Once you are happy with the thickness, add a layer of tape to hold it all in place. Add a piece of wooden dowel to the inside of the horn using the polymorph to hold it in place. To strengthen the horns I used polymorph, which is a mouldable resin when heated in hot water. Add some polymorph beads to boiling water, once it goes clear it is ready to mould. Remove it from the water with a spoon and mould it around the horn with your hands. The polymorph becomes solid once it cools. You can use a heat gun to smooth it all out at the end, but be careful it heats up enough to burn you with a heat gun. Decorate the horns the same way you did the skull.

Step 7: Mounting the Horns

Using a drill and cone drill bit, make a hole in the skull the size of the wooden dowel. Push the horn into the skull and use more polymorph to hold it in place. And that is the skull done. I would love to hear your feedback. For more detailed instructions on this project you can visit my website.

Step 8: More Mixed Media Projects

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