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DIY Deer Head Art

A Taxidermy DIY for Literary Lovers

Over a year and a half ago, I ordered a Styrofoam taxidermy mount with the intention of finishing it in some fun, unexpected way. Then the mount sat in my garage for over a year while I attended to other projects. Just a few months ago, I finally got around to finishing the mount. If you admire the look of the trophy heads you've seen everywhere from Anthropologie to Neiman Marcus, but don't want to spend upwards of $600 on something that may be a trend, you can DIY your own for under $50. Here's how.

What You'll Need:

  • Styrofoam Deer Mount like this one (you can order other animal shapes, but they're often a lot more expensive). While this one is listed at $40, I found one on sale for $12, so shop around.
  • Mod Podge
  • Thin paper for covering the head (college readers, dictionaries, and other large books work well)
  • Paintbrush
  • Branches
  • Swiss army or whittling knife
  • Paint
  • Masking Tape
  • Newspaper

Keep reading to learn how to make your mount!

  1. Spread a layer of newspaper on your work surface. Lay your mount on the newspaper.
  2. Cut your book pages into strips of varying sizes. Lay them on the mount and apply generous, even layers of Mod Podge to the front and back of the strips. Keep working until you've covered the surface that's not resting on the paper. Let dry overnight.
  3. Continue to work on the next section, letting sections dry, until you've covered the entire mount.
  4. Make an ear shape out of a piece of newspaper, and then trace that shape onto a stack of newspapers or butcher paper. Wrap the "ear" in masking tape, and tape to the side of the deer's head. Repeat on the other side. Secure it with more masking tape or even staples if need be.
  5. When secure, Mod Podge more book pages over the deer ears. Let dry.
  6. Now, head to your backyard or a park for a nature walk, and keep an eye out for fallen branches that resemble antlers. Find two branches that match shapes, or can be cut to match.
  7. Using your knife, shave the bark off of the branches.
  8. Pick your favorite color of paint for the antlers, and paint them thoroughly. Let dry.
  9. Attach the antlers by whittling the ends that will attach to the mount into sharp points. Then, simply stick them into the Styrofoam head.
  10. Finished! Hang your mount on the wall and enjoy your new sculptural wall art.
Source: Photos by Adrienne Aubry and Elka Karl.
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