This is a step by step instruction on how to create a unique antler mount that will double as a beautiful lamp. These instructions will combine a DIY lamp project with professional style antler plaque mounting techniques. Typical antler lamps are constructed of shed antlers from multiple deer that have no meaning to the buyer/builder. These instructions will show you how to take a single full set of antlers from one of your past hunting trips and turn it into a lamp that will have meaning and memories associated with it. It will also be different from all of your friends typical style deer mounts. Personally, I have never seen anyone mount deer antlers this way. This is an original idea I came up with myself and I was very pleased with how it turned out. I hope the instructions are helpful. If anything isn't explained clearly enough, feel free to ask a question in the comments section.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Sawzall or other type powered saw (jigsaw or bandsaw)
Wooden lamp base of your choosing (I used a slab cut from a log)
Piece of scrap wood for your base
Piece of suede or fabric with a pattern of your choosing
Staple gun or tacks
30" Lamp Pipe (Picked mine up at Lowe's with the Lamp Kit)
Crayola Model Magic (Arts and Crafts store)
Hot glue gun
Set of Antlers
Step 2: Preparing the Antlers and Base
Once you have all the flesh off of your antlers and clean them, you will need to cut them with a hacksaw so that they will stand vertically on the plaque.
Draw out a teardrop shape on your piece of scrap wood that you are using for your base. I used a cover from a cheap antler plaque mounting kit to make my shape. It does not have to be exact. Once the leather is put on later in the process, you wont be able to tell if it is not perfect.
Once I had my shape, I used a sawzall to cut it out. There are better tools for the job, but I used what I had. I then sanded the rough edges to shape it a little better, again it doesn't have to be exact.
Step 3: Attaching the Antlers to the Base
You will need to elevate your antlers slightly off of the base board. I cut out another piece of scrap wood to raise up the antlers a little bit.
I then used metal bands and screws to secure the antlers to the wood. The metal bands are not necessary, you can just screw the antlers straight to the boards. Make sure you drill a pilot hole first.
Drill a hole the same size as your lamp pipe through the base board where you want your lamp pipe to come up through the mount.
If you are wondering why I have JB weld over my antler base, it is because the antlers fell off of my work bench and broke in half. I had to fix them with glue and JB weld, this is also why I chose to use the metal bands because I could no longer drill through the center. Luckily for me, it was a clean break and they turned out to be very solid and perfectly back in place after the fix.
Step 4: Cutting the Pipes
Cut your copper pipe using a pipe cutter to the length you will need depending on how tall your antlers are. Cut the lamp pipe to the size you will need as well.
At this point you will need to drill a hole through your lamp base so you can temporarily put everything together to make sure everything is the right length. The lamp pipe will need to be long enough to go through the entire lamp. The copper pipe will be shorter. The copper pipe will rest on top of the wooden antler base (scrap wood) and the lamp pipe will extend through the lamp base (log slab).
Step 5: Molding the Base
I usually use Plaster of Paris when doing an antler plaque mount. However, because there is a lamp pipe coming up through this mount, I decided to use Crayola Model Magic instead. The plaster is sticky and dries extremely fast. The Crayola clay is not sticky and takes three days to dry making it very easy to leave a nice hole for the pipes to fit into. You don't need much clay, the bucket in the picture I purchased contained four of those smaller packages that are in the picture. I only used half of one of the packages. The clay can be purchased in individual packages, I bought it in bulk because I plan on doing more of these.
I put a small piece of copper pipe in place where the actual pipe will go so I can mold around it. Once you have molded the head, remove the pipes and let it dry for 72 hours. The clay will not get rock solid hard, but it will be hard enough. Be sure not to put too much clay around the bases of the antlers. You will need the space there later when you are putting your rope around the bases.
Step 6: Preparing the Lamp Base
While you have a few days for your clay to dry, you can get your lamp base ready. I used a slab from a log. Cut and sand one yourself if you'd like. I picked mine up at an arts and crafts store. It's up to you whether you'd like to save time or money here, I chose time in this case.
Using a router, cut out a channel for your lamp cord so that the base will sit flat once the cord is in. Attach a nut to the bottom of your lamp pipe and router out an indention for it to fit into.
Apply a few coats of wood stain and polyurethane for a nice finished look. Be sure to allow enough drying time between coats.
Step 7: Leather and Rope
Now that your clay is dry, you need to fit your suede over the molded base. Fabric would be much easier to work with, but the suede looks great once you get it fit right. Take your time, start with a piece that is more than big enough and slowly cut away a little at a time until you get a good fit. Use a sharpie to mark your cuts where you'll need them. Place the suede on the base, make your marks, cut, and repeat. Make sure you use a utility knife with a brand new blade, it will make your life much easier. Do not worry about getting the leather perfectly up against the bottom of the antlers, as long as it is close enough the rope will cover up the gap later in the process.
Secure the suede on the bottom as you go using a staple gun or tacks. Once you have the entire piece secured in place, run your lamp pipe up through the bottom of the wood so that you can feel where it is pushing up on the suede. Cut a hole for it to come up through. Then you will need to make the hole larger for the copper pipe to go down through. I placed the copper pipe over the hole I already made for the lamp pipe and applied pressure creating an imprint on the suede so I knew exactly how large the hole needed to be for the copper pipe. You don't want to over cut here. In fact, it doesn't hurt if it is a hair small. The excess will push down in the hole when you put the pipe in making a tight fit.
Tip: Once the imprint was made on the suede, I took the utility knife blade (razor blade) out of the knife itself. It was much easier to cut this hole out precisely by holding the razor blade itself, rather than the entire utility knife.
Measure out the rope lengths you will need to surround each antler base. Be sure to tape off the rope before you cut it and burn the ends with a lighter to prevent it from fraying on you. Attach the rope around the antler bases using a hot glue gun. This will cover up any gaps between the leather and the base of the antlers and at the same time give it a clean, finished look.
Step 8: Putting It All Together
Now it is time to put everything together. Place your antlers on your base where you want them and attach the lamp on top of your pipes. This will keep the antlers in place once screwed tight. You will still need to run a screw through the lamp base into the base of your antlers. Drill a pilot hole and run your screw in.
Now that everything is in place, put the last piece of rope on around the bottom of the entire head piece with a hot glue gun.
Wire your lamp kit using the instructions you received with the kit.
I used the extra pieces of suede that I trimmed off to cut out deer hooves which I attached on the inside of my lamp shade using double sided tape. This is an extra finishing touch that is not necessary, but I think it brings the whole lamp together.
Plug in your new lamp and enjoy!