How to Preserve Animal Skeletons

Written by mason howard
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How to Preserve Animal Skeletons
Maintain the essence of departed animals by preserving their skeletons. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Create skeletal artefacts to preserve the last vestiges of wild animals or your beloved pets. Compact and rigid, bones do not degrade quickly, however, additional methods of bone purification and conservation will maintain the strength and whiteness of your skeletal artefacts. Display skeletal artefacts in your home as commemorative decorations or use them as teaching tools for children.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Scrub brush
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Screws (optional)
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Clear hot glue sticks (optional)
  • Wire (optional)
  • Polyurethane spray clear coat

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  1. 1

    Scrub the bones with hot water and dish soap to remove any greasy residue. Rinse the bones and allow them to air dry.

  2. 2

    Submerge the bones in hydrogen peroxide to whiten them. How long the bones need to soak depends on the peroxide concentration and how white you want the bones. Whitening can take anywhere from one to three days. Higher peroxide concentrations will bleach faster than lower peroxide concentrations. Also, some bone preserves prefer to retain some of the natural off-white colouration while others prefer totally whitened bones. As an alternative to soaking, highly concentrated peroxide, such as 35 per cent, can be painted on. Allow the bones to dry before proceeding.

  3. 3

    Secure the bone joints together. Several methods exist. Which method you employ depends on bone size, the nature of the joint and whether you want the joint to be stable or movable. Options for stabilising joints include drilling pilot holes through the joints and securing them together with screws and gluing them together with hot glue. For movable joints, drill small holes through joints and wire them together. Larger joints may require two wires.

  4. 4

    Spray the skeleton with three to four coats of polyurethane clear coat to create a protective sheen. When adding clear coat, apply only thin coats and keep the nozzle around 10 inches from the bones to avoid drips. Allow a coat to dry before adding another.

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