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Skull Bleaching Instructions

Equipment Needed:

Skull Bleaching Kit

Large Pot and Sharp Knife

Optional: Clear Lacquer Spray (Matte Finish)

Do not use this method for cleaning large skulls that may be record book Pope & Young or Boone & Crocket. The boiling could cause the zygomatic arch to break invalidating any measurements!


  1. After the skull has been skinned out, use a sharp knife to remove as much meat as possible from the skull.

    Into a large pot, add enough water to completely submerge the skull. It is not necessary to submerge the antlers, just cover the antler pedicles.

    Mix ratio for boiling the skull:

  2. A: 1 gallon of water.

    B: 1/4 cup Sodium Carbonate.

  3. Bring water and Sodium Carbonate to a full rolling boil.

  4. Place the skull into the water mix and bring it back to a rolling boil (Caution: do not boil at a hard boil!)

  5. Boil the skull for thirty minutes.

  6. Remove the skull from the water mix and boil for another 20 to 30 minutes. Caution: Be careful not to overcook the skull as the lower jaw may separate into a left and right half, the teeth could come loose and the zygomatic arch could break.

  7. Remove the skull from the water and clean off any remaining meat and gristle. Use the wire brush on the back of the skull to clean up the grisel that attaches the skull to the spinal column.

  8. Use a garden hose to flush the mush out of areas such as the brain cavity, nasal passages etc.

  9. Once the skull is clean, place it back into a pot of clean water to keep the skull wet.

  10. Pour half the Bleach Agent (white powder) into a bowl and slowly mix in the Hydrogen Peroxide into the powder. Add only enough liquid to make a paste that has the consistency of mayonnaise.

  11. Paint this mixture onto the entire skull. If you prefer that the teeth remain the natural stained color, do not get this mixture onto the teeth. Be sure to cover all areas.

  12. Set the skull aside and let the Bleach Agent and Hydrogen Peroxide whiten the skull. This will take 18 to 24 hours.

  13. With a clean, dry paintbrush dust off the dried mixture from the skull.

  14. Optional: A very light dusting of white lacquer base spray paint may be applied to the skull to augment additional whitening of the bone.

  15. Optional: Spray the skull with a clear lacquer based matte finish to seal the entire skull.

Keep out of the reach of children

Note: Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply Co. offers these instructions in an advisory capacity and assumes no liability. Such information is the same as used in our own successful experiments, and since we have no control over the environment or the materials upon which our products or instructions will be used, no success is guaranteed. Trial must be performed to account for individual circumstances. In all suggestions, we recommend reading the formulas that have been provided for your evaluation. These are proven formulas that you may find beneficial, from the experience of other tanners.

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