How to clean or stain deer antlers

Written by amanda flanigan | 13/05/2017
How to clean or stain deer antlers
Deer antlers can be mounted for the hunter to keep. (Deer image by Pinhole from

Mounting deer antlers is a great way for hunters to commemorate their trophy buck. However, as antlers hang on the wall for everyone to see, they collect dust, dirt and other debris. Exposure to sunlight also causes fading. Eventually, the deer antlers start to look old and dingy. Fortunately, with just a few household items and some antler paint, you can easily clean deer antlers and prevent fading in several simple steps.

Fill a small container with warm water.

Add a few drops of a mild dishwashing liquid that does not contain bleach.

Submerge a soft cloth in the mixture and wring out the excess liquid.

Wipe the antlers down with the damp cloth. Dry the antlers thoroughly with a clean towel.

Apply linseed oil to a clean, soft cloth.

Buff the antlers with the cloth to make them shine. Allow to air dry.

Remove surface dirt and debris from the antlers with a damp cloth. Dry the antlers with a clean, dry cloth.

Apply white primer to the antlers using a small paintbrush. Allow the antlers to dry in a location where they will not be disturbed for 24 hours.

Pour a small amount of the antler paint and stain into a small container. Dip a small paintbrush (such as an artist’s brush) into the paint.

Apply the antler paint and stain to the antlers in small sections. Wipe the paint and stain off the antlers with a cloth after you finish each section.

Repeat as necessary until you have achieved the desire results.

Things you need

  • 2 small containers
  • Mild dishwashing liquid that does not contain bleach
  • 4 soft cloths
  • Linseed oil
  • Towel
  • White primer
  • 2 small paintbrushes
  • Antler paint and stain

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