DIY: Taxidermy Deer

Oh Deer…
It’s been a while since my last post– I’ve been super busy moving to the wondrous Austin, TX and playing some catchup on my life organization. I’m back though and wanted to do a post about a little side project I’ve been working on for some apartment decor.

Lately my Pinterest has been flooded with super cool faux-taxidermy as the new interior trend. After a brief look on etsy, I realized that this was a trend that is a bit out of my price range (read: starving college graduate). So I decided to try a little DIY deer taxidermy out of paper mache.

I documented the how-to on the process for all of my fellow people who want to give it a try! It took me about 3 days because of the overnight drying.

Newspaper (a lot)
Masking tape
Fixative (optional)

STEP 1: Build the base
I used a bunch of crumpled up newspaper balls and more masking tape than I care to admit. Don’t be upset if it looks more like a middle school art project at this point– the details are added later.

The most important part about this step is the sturdiness. A weak base will make things a lot more difficult as you progress into the next stages. Here is where you decide if you want it to hang on a wall (make the back flat!) or if you want it to be able to stand alone on a table or floor.


STEP 2: Paper mache
Paper mache is really easy and cheap to make. I used this recipe here. I tore up a bunch of newspaper, dipped each strip in the paper mache mixture and added the strips one at a time to my base.

Be careful to only do one or two layers here– you’re going to need to let it dry overnight.


STEP 3: Details
I used small chunks of paper towels soaked in paper mache– these were easy to mold into a more finished look for my deer’s face. It was also nice because I was able to smooth out some trouble areas that I hadn’t noticed while I was working on step 2.

Let this one dry overnight so it gets nice and sturdy.

STEP 4: White Base Coat
Definitely looks more like a deer now, painted everything white so the color I wanted to use in the next step would show up nice and bright.


STEP 5: Paint and Finish
I used some red and gold spray paint from wal-mart that I thought would look good. This is a fun step to experiment with if you wanted to add some cool design elements like glitter or feathers. After the paint dried I topped it off with a fixative spray to keep it from molding (this is a good idea if you live in a humid climate).


After the fixative dried, it was ready to hang! I just used a run of the mill hanging kit. This seems to work fine since the paper mache had hardened to a sturdy weight.

Share your finished projects! Also post if you have some questions or advice to improve these steps.