I’ve been seeing a lot of taxidermy and antlers popping up in modern interiors. I love the way it contrasts with the sleek lines of a minimalist room as well as the rustic and natural feel it brings to a classically designed one.
Finding a pair of my own has been a goal of mine whenever I hit up one of the local flea markets in LA. However, the ones I’ve found have either been too small to suit my tastes or too expensive for me to swallow. After some online searching, I found that several well-known shops (Restoration Hardware, Z-Gallerie) carry faux antlers made of resin; unfortunately, these molded sculptures seemed to cost more than the real things.
After some more searching, I was able to find several Etsy sellers that sold similar resin animal mounts that matched the feel of what I was looking for. Through the product descriptions, I was able to find out that they had bought resin mounts and spray painted them to get a modern colored look. A DIY-er at heart, I started looking around to see if I could make one of these mounts myself, saving myself $$$ in the process.
I found the same resin mount that the Etsy folks were using on eBay, sold by House of 1000 Boxes. I decided to go with a moose head instead of a deer head, thinking that I could get some more utility out of the item by using the antlers as a hat rack for my hats (the buy page can be found here, but I think they’re out of the moose heads).
Left alone as is, the moose head is pretty spectacular. The resin molding is quite detailed; I believe it’s hand painted and looks fairly “realistic” (or as realistic as resin can look). However, I decided I wanted to continue and give it the modern look by spray painting it.
I went with a matte white spray paint. I like the simplicity of just white, but I didn’t like the glossy look of the Etsy ones – it just looks too plasticky for my tastes. My spray paint setup is a bit elaborate, but it allowed me to paint everything at one time; putting everything on the ground would have meant spraying only half an antler at a time and waiting for it to dry before painting the other side. The entire process took 3 or 4 coats to get decent coverage; I used up an entire can of spray paint.
Since I was using the moose head as a hat rack, I wrapped the ends of the antlers with duct tape a couple of times to get a tighter fit. The moose head was simple to attach to the wall. With the built-in keyhole hangar on the back, all I had to do was hammer a nail into the wall and hang it up!
As with most DIY projects, this one had plenty of hiccups along the way. For those who are thinking about giving this a try as well, here are some suggestions/comments that may help:
- Be careful when handling the moose head.Much to my surprise, the resin is actually quite fragile – I thought it would be as solid as a rock; in actuality, most of the antlers and head are hollow and the resin molding is somewhat thin! The antlers are also quite loose when simply inserted into the head. I found all of this out the hard way when I set the head and inserted antlers on a box, thinking everything would stay put; as you have probably already guessed, one of the antlers fell out of the head and snapped on the floor. Luckily, I had some epoxy with me from another project and was able to (carefully) stick everything back together. Since I was painting the thing anyways, I was able to get liberal with the epoxy, spreading it past the crack line and ensuring a strong hold. There was a large hole that I was able to cover up with the epoxy as well – just before the epoxy starts to harden, you can spread it and it should hold its shape.
- Get a brush. Since the head is so detailed, there where a lot of small holes in which I couldn’t get any paint from the spray can. A small brush would allow you to dab paint into those holes, giving the head a complete paint job without sacrificing too much of the textural detail of the resin mold. Once I have some time I’m probably going to give it another pass with a brush and color in the dark spots around the neck and antlers.
- Secure the bottom of the head. This is only really necessary if you plan to get some utility out of the head like I do. Since it’s secured to the wall with a single screw, putting any objects on the antlers will likely tip the head over and result in the antlers falling out. I just added a loop of duct tape near the bottom of the head and it seems to be holding up…
Total (approximate) cost:
Resin moose head: $70
Spray paint: $5