Introduction: Tanning Rattlesnake Hide
Sorry for the late tutorial, but hey most of you should have some hides all ready to treat!
for those who havent seen my work, im going to show you how to tan snake skin to use in craft projects, that can look amazing
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
most everything you need you should already have
1. scissors, or a knife (scissors are better for this trust me)
2. thumbtacks (plastic heads are nicer but the flat metal ones will work
3. Cork board a mildy large one, that your skin will fit on (or a large piece of plywood if thats easier, but cork is better)
4. small plywood sheets
5. dishrags, even ones, not torn up
6. heavy stuff, just used as weights, could be rocks for all i care
7. tanning solution, this is the hard one but here it is on amazon, its also sold in cabelas,
P.S. the one bottle is plenty for dozens of snakes
Step 2: Cuitting
forst thing to do is cut the skin along the belly scales, boxcutters work nice but a decent pair of scissors will always work best! be sure to cut slowly and very straight!
Step 3: Prepping
See that yuk? pinch all of it off, or scrape it with a knife you want, but if you use a knife be very careful not to cut even a tiny hole, any holes in the hide will get bigger through the process
Step 4: Pinning
Pinning your hide is the most important step.
first you need a large flat board, cork boards are nice if you have one, but a sheet of plywood can work fine.
lay your hide out with the outside of the snake facing down, take some thumbtacks and line the sides of the hide with them, stretching the hide, and be sure to keep the scales straight, the way it dries is the way it stays.
be extra careful to put lots more tacks on the tail section!
lay out the basic shape with maybe 10-20 tack then when the shape is good, add more and more tacks, see pictures below for an easier description.
Step 5: Dryin Your Snake
throw some salt on the hide, and let it sit until there is no moisture in it, put extra on the tail
the time it takes will depend on ur climate im in the desert and can do this in an hour if i want, but overnight is usually best, you want it dry and crunchy but dont get it so brittle it will fall apart, and don't un-pin your hide, when the hide is dry brush the salt off into the dirt and take any chunks off
Step 6: Tanning Solution
spread your tanning formula onto your hide, be generous but don't drown it, just be sure all of it will get soaked up, the solution doesn't evaporate fast so dont worry about using too little, the whole hide should have an orange-ish tint.
let the hide soak it up over night, and if you like add some more and let it soak, but when you are satisfied get a wet rag and clean all of the extra solution off, its okay to get your hide wet, and it will get very flimsy and floppy.
Step 7: Pressing It
now that the hide is wet you need to dry it, lay some cloths over a large enough space for the hide to fit on, and lay it down on some flat clean rags, lays some more rags over the top (be sure your hide is straight and isnt wrinkled).
after the rags lay down some plywood sheets, and then weight it down as much as you can, the plywood distributes the weight so dont worry it you are using weird shaped weights like rocks or tools, just get it nice an heavy
*in case this isnt implied, leave the rattle outside of the plywood so it isnt crushed
*NOTE, when you take your hide out of this step the outside scales will fall off, dont worry about it, spend some time and peel them all off, snakes have different layers of them, it will not effect how it looks but if you leave them all on they will all fall off all over the place
Step 8: Caring for Your Hide
now your hide is complete these can be used in crafts by gluing them to whatever you want marine epoxy and super glue work best, the best way to store them is in the pressed condition under cloth etc from the previous step, if not you can hang them or roll them but you may need to repeat step 7 before using them
if they every start to dry up, using some regular lotion works great but the best moisturizer is glycerin, you can get it at most pharmacies for around 5 bucks