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Boiling Skulls Instructions:

Reproduction Deer Skull

Assuming that you start with a set of antlers on the skullcap you will need the following materials and tools to complete this project:

Duct tape

Magic marker

Saw for removing the antlers


Drill bit size: 9/64

Paddle bit for drill size: 7/8 average size

Phillips screwdriver

Dremel for grinding or small hand file

Medium grit sand paper

8-dry wall screws 2 inches long

2ft-by-2ft piece of plywood

Latex gloves

Apoxie Sculpt

Paint gun or paint brush, touch up size

Bolt cutters

Safety glasses for eye protection

Skull touch up pain: lacquer or latex

Hanger & screws

If you're starting with cut-offs or sheds, have someone hold the antlers over the reproduction skull to simulate the way you want them to look and use duck tape to bridge the points like in Step 1 & 2, then skip to Step 4.

  1. Using duct tape, bridge the left G-2 tip with the right G-2 tip using a single piece of duct tape. Keep the duct tape tight so it does not sag. After attaching the duct tape to the antler tips, fold the duct tape over itself between the points so that it will not stick to anything. Bridge the tips of the main beam with another piece of duct tape and fold the ductk tape over itself. You need a minimum of two duct tape bridges from the left to the right antler.

  2. Using a magic marker on the duct tape bridges; mark the center of the skull on each of the duct tape bridges. This will be used later for alignment.

  3. Cut the antlers from the skullcap, just below the antler burrs.

  4. Clean the area below the burr. A dremel works well for this step.

  5. Trial fit the antlers over the reproduction skull. Pay attention to the antlers' alignment with the front of the pectorals. The duct tape should hold the original spread in place, align the center line on the tape with the center of the reproduction skull.

  6. Do not be concerned if the antlers and pectorals have an air gap, this will be filled with epoxy later. Watch for alignment between the antlers and the front of the reproduction skull. Correct alignment here will require just a minimal amount of finish work later.

  7. Mark and drill a one-inch deep hole with a paddle bit, in the top of each of the pectorals on the reproduction skull. A 7/8" paddle bit works well for average size antlers.

  8. Mark and drill 3 holes (size 7/64 bit) 1" deep into each of the antler burrs. These should line up with the hole you drilled into the pectoral area of the reproduction skull.

  9. Screw the 2" dry wall screws, one inch deep, one at a time into the antlers checking the alignment and clearance each time. Screw heads can be cut-off if necessary for alignment. Do not use a power drill for this step.

  10. Center and attach the reproduction skull to a 2ft x 2ft sheet of plywood. Mark the plywood with a center line and align the skull to it. Cut a hole at the top of the plywood so you can hang it on the wall. Wear latex gloves to measure and mix enough of the Apoxie Sculpt to fill both the holes that you made with the paddle bit in the top of the pectoral area of the reproduction skull. This is a 1 to 1 mixture. Mix the two together and place into the pectoral holes. You will need to save some of the unmixed Apoxie Sculpt to use later.

  11. Force the antler screws into the Apoxie Sculpt and align the antlers to the reproduction skull. Do not be concerned if some of the apoxie is forced out of the hole during the alignment step.

  12. Use duct tape to support the antlers while the apoxie gets hard. Place one end of duct tape under the plywood and the other to the antler tip. Use 4 pieces, 2 towards the back of the plywood and 2 towards the front. If additional pieces of duct tape are need for balance and alignment use them now.

  13. Use duct tape to bridge around the bases of the antlers. This step is important as it will keep the antlers in place and prevent them from sliding to one side. Align the antler bases with the front and inside of the reproduction skull pectorals. Concentrate on having a good alignment between the antlers and the front of the reproduction skull. Repack the apoxie from the backside around the pectoral bases forcing out any air pockets. Clean off any excess apoxie using water and a paintbrush or Q-tip. This is the attachment part; you will add additional apoxie later after this step hardens.

  14. Hang on the wall to check the angle and alignment of the antlers to the skull. Check the alignment of the marks on the duck tape bridges to see if they align with the center line of the skull. Allow the epoxy time to harden. Minimum of 8 hours.

  15. After the apoxie has hardened, adjustments to the pectorals should be made on the backside. Sand, file or dremel any excess material off. Add additional epoxy if needed to correct the shape of the reproduction skull and pectorals. Use the backside of the pectoral area for reshaping to match the contour or alignment of the antlers to the skull.

  16. Wear latex gloves to mix the epoxy using a 1 to 1 ratio. Place the apoxy around the antler burrs and the pectoral area of the reproduction skull making a smooth contour and filling any void areas. Use a brush or Q-tip with water to smooth the apoxie.

  17. After the apoxie hardens, lightly sand the area using medium grit paper. Concentrate on the contour of the pectorals and the union of the antlers to the skull.

  18. Paint the apoxie and surrounding area with the skull paint. The skull paint will match the skull's original ivory bone color. After the skull paint has dried you can elect to do a weathered wash on the reproduction skull. Some people like the weathered look. To achieve this look, apply a thin coat of the antler stain, let dry, then wipe the excess off with a towel and seal with sealer.

Two wood blocks are embedded in the back of the reproduction skull for anchor points. The use of a hanger or optional board will be easier with these wood blocks.


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