How to Whiten Deer Heads

Written by penny porter Google
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How to Whiten Deer Heads
Learn to whiten deer and other animal skulls for mounting. (skull image by JASON WINTER from

Taxidermists or hunters performing their own taxidermy whiten deer heads to make the heads look presentable. Deer heads that are yellowed in colour or bloodstained appear old and unprofessional. Whitening, after boiling and cleaning, makes deer heads appear cleaner and well crafted in the tradition of European mounts.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Borax powder
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Fine wire brush
  • Bleach
  • Shallow, wide container
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Add a tiny bit of water to borax powder to make a thick paste. Apply the borax paste to the fleshless deer head. Be careful to avoid placing the powder on the deer antlers--you do not want to remove the natural colouration on the antlers.

  2. 2

    Brush the dry borax powder off the deer skull. Use a sponge, dampened in water, to remove the rest of the borax powder from cracks in the skull.

  3. 3

    Sand the deer head lightly to remove any especially dark spots on the skull. Continue to sand until the areas lighten completely. Stop if your efforts begin to damage the skull.

  4. 4

    Remove bloodstains from the deer skull by brushing the stain spots with a fine wire brush. Brush and stroke the skull until you remove all bloodstains.

  5. 5

    Soak the deer head in a mixture of equal parts bleach and water. Use a wide and shallow container to submerge only the deer head and leave the antlers sticking out of the mixture. Allow the skull to sit for 2 or 3 hours and whiten in the mixture.

Tips and warnings

  • If these efforts do not make the skull as white as you want, carefully apply white or off-white acrylic paint to the skull with a small paintbrush. Work carefully to avoid obvious paint spots on the antlers.

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