I saw this on instructables a while back and wanted to try it. I want to show everybody how I did it as well as the approximate cost. I am not a professional, and I'm an absolute beginner as far as sculpting and painting goes. I don't know anything about taxidermy either, actually.
**Thank you for viewing my tutorial! If you're interested in keeping up with my daily life, you can view my blog at www.thehauntedhousewife.com**
But please, continue! I look lots of cool pictures to help you with this project!
Step 1: Acquire Materials
You will need:
1. Bear taxidermy form (black bear is a bit smaller, I used a grizzly bear form)
-$52.05 for the one I bought. Please beware, purchasing from this company was a little upsetting for me because the shipping almost costs as much as the form did. Also, they don't tell you how much shipping is until they actually ship it! It took about a week to receive. Form I got did not have a removal jaw. I had the carve it out myself.
2. Super Sculpey(2)
-$12, picked it up at my local craft store.
3. Armature wire
-no link and not much information for this because I actually grabbed random wire from the jewelry section at the craft store to use as armature wire, and it worked fine. $3.99
-I got the 24mm eyes. I didn't want to paint them myself because I couldn't find any blanks to paint. They are glass. They cost about $12 including shipping.
-This stuff is tricky so read the directions, I picked up some clear "EasyCast" at the craft store. But seriously, I can't stress this enough. It is very easy to muff this part up so please, read the instructions and follow them or you'll end up with a sticky wolf you can't do anything with.
6. Acrylic Paint $11
-The only issue I have with the set I got is that I ran out of white FAST. You might want to pick up an additional bottle of white.
7. Fur Fabric $13 a yard I believe
-I got mine at JoAnn's fabrics. I got two yards just to be sure, but I totally could have gotten away with one yard. But I'd rather be safe than leave me house to get more.
8. Plaque to hang mount it on. I got mine at http://www.walnutcreekhardwood.com in size 20 X 24 and the total come out to about $50
Things you may or may not have around your house:
-sand paper (I used dry wall sand paper)
-hot glue gun and a bag of glue sticks to go with it
Step 2: Carve Out the Unwanted Parts
This is what my form looked like when I received it. I first carved out the mouth, then completely took the bottom jaw off. I also removed the nose because I was going to change that part. I removed a bit of the form around the eye cavities as well to ensure my eyes would fit. The form looked a bit rough after I hacked away at it so I got a strip of sand paper. The kind I used is supposed to be for drywall. I had it in my garage.
Step 3: Start Adding Features With the Clay
I went a little crazy with the clay lol. I added a new nose, as well as some "cheeks" to make it look like he's snarling. Note the wrinkles on the nose. I added some mean looking brow bones. I formed "lips" and the teeth. I used armature wire on the teeth. I cut about a 3 inch piece, and curled one of the ends to look like a "b" to hold the clay. I formed each tooth roughly in my hands, stuck in the wire and stuck the straight end into the jaw. I did this with the jaw unattached, trying to form the mouth with the jaw attached is a huge pain in the ass. When you are done, attach your bottom jaw with a hot glue gun. Don't be shy, use plenty of glue.
Most important tip in this section: GOOGLE what you're making. "werewolf snarl", "werewolf teeth" "dog mouth" was what I would do image searches for. Flip through the pictures and get ideas.
Second most important tip: SMOOTH out your clay!
Step 4: Insert the Eyes
Once you receive the eyes, pop them in. I used hot clue behind them to hold them in place. You could also use a ball of clay if you'd like. Readjust the brow bone you made earlier, and create eye lids for it to look more realistic. It also serves as a back up to keep the eyes from dramatically falling out onto your work table.
When you're done with that, finalize the clay. Make sure everything is:
-even on both sides
-held on sturdily
When you're done with this handy to-do list I gave you, ask yourself: Am I happy with the way the clay looks?
Yes! Great, proceed to the next step.
No? Adjust what you don't like until the answer is yes. Allow yourself to be a perfectionist. I am one, and it took me a long time to be satisfied. But boy, am I satisfied!
Step 5: "Bake" the Clay
Not literally! Don't stick your form in the oven (it shouldn't fit unless you live in a funeral home). You could start a fire, and that's no fun. Use your hairdryer. You're going to have to sit around and blast the clay. Here are the baking instructions for Super Sculpey:
Bake at 275 °F (130 °C)
15 minutes per 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness
I admit I went crazy with the clay which made this step horrible. It took me 4 hours to dry the clay this way, but pandora makes all the difference. I did 2 hours at a time listening to music and I was good. Also, I tried using two different hairdryers. The first one wasn't getting the clay hot enough. Luckily hairdryer number two did the trick. A good way to test this is to focus on one area and in 15 minutes the clay is still super soft you may need another hair dryer.
When the clay is warm it will still be slightly bendable, then when it cools it will be hard. You'll be able to tell the difference.
When the clay is cool, take a nail file or your sand paper and smooth out any rough areas.
Step 6: Liquid Plastic
**FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PACKAGE**
-Yes, you will use two different bowls, two different stir sticks (I used disposable chopsticks), you will have to mix it TWICE and it's like this for a reason. This is not my first time working with epoxy... the first time was a complete failure. It got all over my microwave and I don't want to talk about it. But it was horrible so trust me.
**TAPE YOUR WEREWOLVES EYES TO COVER THEM. I used bandaids because if you get epoxy, or paint on them you could ruin them. So cover them with painters tape or something**
Just please follow the instructions to a T. When it's all mixed up, brush it all over the form (be careful with the eyes of course). Get the teeth really well, just everywhere. I brushed it over the non-clay parts as well just to be sure. This is to make sure everything stays in place.
Epoxy dries 24-73 hours depending on the temperature of your workspace. I had mine in my garage and it was dried after 24 hours but I had to wait an extra day for my paints so, let's just say 48 hours. When you touch it, it won't be sticky and your wolf should look shiny. Sorry I didn't think to take a picture for this step.
Step 7: Acrylic Paint
Ok, time to paint your form. I'm a beginner with paints too, so I think I did pretty well.
Google is still your friend, it's never left you. Here are ideas to google for colors.
I didn't want the wolf too look too perfect. Paint the body of the wolf black, but you don't have spend a bunch of time on it since you'll be covering it with fur anyway.
Optional: I have a can of clear acrylic coating laying around and I gave the paint a quick spray with that when I was done painting. Spray very little to avoid it getting tacky.
Step 8: Fur
There's no easy way, or trick to do this. You'll just need to cover your wolf in fur, piece by piece. I used an exacto knife to cut the fur. I flipped it over on so the fur side was touching the floor and I carefully cut the fabric part so that the fur wasn't cut. You'll see what I mean if you accidentally cut the fur AND the fabric. It will look choppy.
You'll attach the fur with a hot glue gun, and be prepared to burn your fingers because I did a few dozen times but it wasn't too bad. I covered my wire ears that I made with fur and stuck the wire in the foam part to anchor it, then I glued the fur down to the head. Comb him out when you're done (I used a dog brush).
Step 9: Plaque Mounting
-Does the paint need any touch ups?
-Does the fur look good?
-Are the ears symmetrical?
If yes, you're ready to mount your wolf! This plaque was purchased at http://www.walnutcreekhardwood.com/ it is the 20 X 24 size, which came to a little over $50 with shipping included. I also opted for the notches on the back, so make it easier to hang.
I used four 2" screws to attach the panel to the back of the wolf. I made sure his fur was tucked in. He was very heavy but I managed to hang him myself without any help. I'm very happy with this project and very excited to display my wolf above my couch in my spooky living room.
Here is an awesome tutorial on how to attach the form to the plaque.
Thank you so much for reading! You can find me on my blog, http://www.haunted-housewife.com
Be sure to send me pics of your wolves!
Second Prize in the
Halloween Decorations Contest