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December 23, 2013

Using antlers for decoration

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

It’s almost Christmas! Hopefully Santa and his reindeer are going to pay you a visit.  There is a chance that the reindeer could shed their antlers while on their journey.  If you happen to be so lucky to discover some in your yard, here is a fun way to adorn them and use as display.

These antlers were not sourced from North Pole reindeer.  They were collected from mule deer in West Texas.  You can tell a natural shed rather than antlers that were cut off because the end core is rough and almost looks like a peg that could fit back into the skull.

Anyway, back to the original idea of decorating antlers.

image-361. Clean antler of any dirt, fur or grass.  You can scrub them with water and mild soap but they are very porous so you will have to wait 24 hrs to decorate them after cleaning.

2. Tape off tips about a finger length down to create a straight line with the leafing.

3. Use a standard leaf kit from a craft store (like Michaels or Hobby Lobby).  I chose copper leaf but they also have gold.

4. Follow the directions on the kit.  I skip the primer and base red color but you can follow those steps if you want.

5. Apply the adhesive with a sponge brush, wait for it to get tacky and then apply a sheet of the leaf.


image-376. After the copper leaf is applied around the entire tip scrape off any flakes or overlapping pieces.

7. Apply sealer to the area that you decorated.  I like to use a spray coat of sealer on the entire antler and do 2 coats on the tips.



image-40You can use these antlers as…

…Jewelry display

…Wall art

…Lamp base

…Coat, hat, purse hangers


Antlers are very easy to drill through so you can mount them on a piece of wood or directly on the wall.  Be creative…

Fun Facts:

  • Older male reindeer shed their antlers in December.  Younger males choose early spring to ditch their headgear and females’ fall off in summer.
  • Animals in the deer family have antlers which are different than horns (found on bison, sheep, goats, cows etc).
  • Antlers grow from the tip, are solid bone and shed annually.
  • Horns grow from the base, consist of a keratin sheath around a core of bone and don’t shed or grow back if broken.

There are a few exceptions to the rules above but we don’t need to give you a full lesson the anatomy of reindeer vs. _____.  You can try Wikipedia for that!

Read more from Discover

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