Deer hunting is a sport enjoyed by many people around the country. The thrill of the hunt and the victory of capturing a beautiful buck make lasting memories. Lots of sportsmen take pride in having a rack of antlers hanging on their wall and enjoy telling the stories that go along with it. You can have the antlers mounted professionally, but learning to do it yourself is a great hobby.
Create a design for your plaque. It should be something visually pleasing, yet simple enough not to detract from the beauty of the antlers. This can be done by hand or in a graphics-editing computer program. A good size is roughly 8 by 10 inches because it can be printed on a standard sheet of computer paper.
Keep the design symmetrical. You can design one side of the plaque and then copy it and reflect it on the other side to keep everything exact. A popular shape is oval with some decorative points at the top that mimic the deer's head.
Print out your design on paper. Cut out the design, which will be used as a stencil.
Transfer your design onto a piece of wood. Visit your local lumber yard to see a variety of wood types. The wood should be about 3/4 inch thick. Remember that you can stain it later to get the desired colour you would like.
Using your jigsaw, cut the design out of the wood.
Sand the edges or use a router to get a decorative edge. The edges should be smooth. If you have the woodworking skills to create one, a bevelled edge looks very nice.
Using a clean rag, apply a coat of wood stain in your desired colour. Rub it in well, making sure the colour is even. Allow the stain to dry, following the directions for the drying time.
When your stain is fully dry, varnish the plaque with polyurethane. Use a paintbrush to coat it evenly, then let it dry for the recommended time.
After the varnish is dry, use sandpaper to smooth any remaining rough spots. Then apply another coat of varnish if desired.
Using a power drill, carefully drill two holes into the thickest part of the skull plate.
Place the antlers on the plaque where you would like them. Line them up one-half to one-third of the way down from the top of the plaque. Mark with a pencil where the corresponding holes will need to be on the plaque.
Cut out enough deer skin to cover the skull plate of the deer, with enough extra around the edges to be tucked underneath. Cut holes out of the deer skin where the antlers will go through. Make sure you accurately measure the distance between the antlers.
Secure the deer skin over the skull plate and stretch it out so that it is smooth. Tuck the edges underneath the skull plate and attach firmly with tacks.
Match the antlers back up with where you marked the holes on the plaque. Use two long screws to secure the antlers onto the plaque.
You can buy pre-cut and sanded plaques at most craft supply stores.
Tips and warnings
- You can buy pre-cut and sanded plaques at most craft supply stores.