How To Metalize a Skull With a Real Metal Finish

How To Metalize a Skull With a Real Metal Finish

 

In this article I am going to cover the steps to metalizing a skull. A lot of people are looking for something different for their European mounts and a metal finish is just the thing to give a skull a very classy look. The following is not a fake metal lookalike; it involves a real metal finish. You can also watch the how-to video here!

Tools needed:

Brushes (sponge or chip brush), Paint sprayer (optional), and spray bottle for patinas.

 

Products needed:

Primer, Metal Paint, Patinas, Wax, and Clear Coat.

How to metalize a skull

how to metalize a skull

 

Safety Equipment needed:

Gloves and a respirator (respirator if using a paint sprayer).

How to metalize a skull

 

 

Now, a few things to consider and keep in mind about the whole process. You have to work with a skull that is free of grease. If there is grease (or any other debris for that matter) the metal will not bond to the skull correctly. If you need help degreasing the skull take a look at this article on the topic “Degreasing 101- Three Ways to Turn Yellow Bones White”.

How to metalize a skull

 

You have the option to either leave the teeth natural or metalize them along with the rest of the skull. I personally prefer to metalize them as it just looks a bit “off” when they are left white. But if you did want to leave them natural you can simply tape them up prior to the process. If you are metalizing a buck skull than you can tape up the antlers in order to keep them natural (my personal preference).

How to metalize a skull

 

There are different options for brands of metal paints but I highly recommend Sculpt Nouveau (I am not being sponsored by the company). Their products are very high quality and the customer service is great. The metal paint consist of fine metal powder suspended in an acrylic. Because it is acrylic based you can simply wash out your brush after each use. I used the same brush for the bear skull used for this article and just washed it out between each layer of primer/paint.

✔ Add Primer.

Add 2 coats of primer and let cure for 6 hours. You can add the second coat as soon as the first is dry.  For any areas that you can’t reach with the paint brush I just use a spray can of black primer (I just used a generic black primer). I would highly recommend buying a higher quality paint brush as the cheaper ones tend to loose bristles and these can end up sticking on the surface of the skull and creating unnatural lines in the final metal finish.

How to metalize a skull

How to metalize a skull

How to metalize a skull

 

✔ Add metal coat

Shake paint well as the metal dust settles to the bottom of the paint container.

If you are using a sprayer you will need to strain the paint first as there can be clumps that will clog the sprayer. Using a sprayer has the advantage of being able to apply a uniform coat. Make sure to thoroughly clean out your sprayer after use. As you will be applying two coats of primer and 2-3 coats of the metal paint, you can leave the primer in the sprayer in between the two coats and the metal paint in between those coats as well.

Add 2-3 coats of metal paint and let cure for 6 hours. You can add the second/third coat as soon as the first/second is dry. To avoid brush strokes add the paint by dabbing the paint on instead of brushing it on the skull.

There are two types of Metal paints by Sculpt Nouveau, a “C” metal coating and a “B” metal coating. The C metal coating has a higher percentage of metal and consist of a body, hardener, and catalyst. The C metal paint is more intended for objects that will be polished to a higher shine. The B metal coating works just fine though for skulls and is easier as there is no need for the hardener and catalyst. Types of metal coatings from Sculpt Nouveau include Silver, Iron, Pewter, Bronze, Brass, and Copper.

How to metalize a skull

How to metalize a skull

 

✔ Add Patina

While the second coat is still wet add your patina solution.  There are several options for patina colors including blue, green, black, brown, etc.

Depending on how humid the climate is where you are will dictate the working time for the wet paint and how long the patina takes to fully cure. The patina with start to work immediately but it will take a bit to fully work. If there are areas where the patina did not activate (this can happen if an area dries before you spray the patina on) simply add a new coat of the metal paint to that area and reapply the patina. If the patina is too robust you can burnish the surface with fine steel wool in order to create a more natural patina where the metal finish shows through more on raised areas and the patina in the lower/valley areas of the skulls surface. It does not take much of the patina solution, just a light mist is fine. The Spraymaster bottle is great as you can get a very fine mist. 

How to metalize a skull

How to metalize a skull

About 15 minutes after applying the patina.

How to metalize a skull

24 Hours after applying the patina.

How to metalize a skull

 

✔ Add Clear Coat or Wax

Although the metal and patina is rated for outdoor use I still like to add a light clear coat. Keep in mind the clear coat will lighten the patina slightly. I feel that after I burnish the skull and remove the extra patina, finishing with a clear coat seems to tie everything together and give it a more finished look.

If no patina is added you can add a colored wax (I use the black wax) to give an aged look. Simply add the wax on and then wipe off with a rag in order to create an aged/washed out look. The wax has a curing agent in it so it will harden within a day. If you use a wax no clear coat is needed. You can see the how-to video on applying the wax HERE.

How to metalize a skull

How to metalize a skull

how to metalize a skull

how to metalize a skull

 

Metal finishes on skulls are great because you have so many options for types of metals as well as patinas to mix and match together. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message on my Facebook page!

Like I said above I am not sponsored by Sculpt Nouveau but if you do order from them let them know Hunter sent you, who knows, it might help! Some Amazon links above are affiliate links. Thanks for reading and happy metalizing! ~ Hunter

How to make a simple DEER ANTLER RING (no lathe required!)

How to make a simple DEER ANTLER RING (no lathe required!)

 

 

Making a deer antler ring is fun, and I will warn you, very addicting! Not to mention pretty easy! So grab an antler and let’s get started. Oh, and Mulletman is going to be helping demonstrate the steps 😉

How to make a deer antler ring

Step 1. Cut out ring blank.

I use a scroll saw to cut out a cross section of the antler but you can also use a hacksaw or even just a cutting wheel on a Dremel. You will want to choose a section of the antler that is fairly circular and wider than the finger you will be wearing the deer antler ring on.

How to make a deer antler ring

Antler is a bone so the inside will be less dense than the outer layer. It is this outer layer that will end up being the ring as we will hollow out the center, less dense, material. For larger antlers such as elk, you can use the inner layer of the antler but you will need to stabilize it with a resin or a CA glue first.

How to make a deer antler ring

If the cross section you cut out is not completely straight or too thick, you can sand it down by running it over a flat piece of sandpaper.

How to make a deer antler ring

Mark the center of the proposed ring. I will sometimes place my ring over the slice of antler and trace out the outer shape and then use a sanding drum with my Dremel and sand down to the rough shape of the ring.

How to make a deer antler ring How to make a deer antler ring

 

Step 2. Drill hole in antler and insert rod.

Drill a hole in the very center of the slice and insert a wood or metal rod that is the same size as the drill bit you just used (2-3 inches in length is good for the rod). Now this might sound complicated but it’s not. I happened to have a wood rod that was 3/8ths an inch so I used that with the same size drill bit and it worked great. The idea is that we are creating a mini lathe by mounting the antler slice onto the rod and then putting the rod in a drill!

How to make a deer antler ring

Step 3. Sand and polish outside of ring.

Now that you have the ring mounted on the drill, use a sanding drum on your Dremel and rotate the drill in the opposite direction of your Dremel. Just take your time sanding down the outside of the ring till it is nice and even/circular.

How to make a deer antler ring

 

I then hand sand while the ring is spinning on the drill. I start with 120 grip sandpaper, then 220 grit, 320, 400 and then lastly 2000 grit. By the time you go through hand sanding it will have a pretty high polish. But I usually take and add a bit more shine by holding a piece of leather to the ring as it’s spinning. Trust me, it gets pretty shinny!

How to make a deer antler ring

Step 4. Carve/sand out the middle of the ring.

Take the ring off of the rod and hold it gently with some pliers while you use a Dremel to carve and sand down the inside of the ring. Just sand down the inside till it fits snug of your finder. I will then take 320 grit sandpaper and hand sand the inside of the ring to get it smooth.

Deer antler ring

If you do not have an antler to work with an easy place to find some is a local pet store. They sell dog chews of cut up antler that work great for making a deer antler ring!

How to make a deer antler ring

And there you have it! All natural, handmade, no lathe required, durable, polished deer antler ring! These rings make great gifts and like I said are super fun and addictive to make! I would love to see how your rings turn out so tag me @u.s.skullhunter or shoot me message with some pics! Happy carving! ~ Hunter

You can also watch the how-to video below!