How to do a Skull.


Well-known member
I know this has been covered, But since I was in the middle of doing one anyway, Figured I would cover it again.
How to do a skull!
I have only done this on coyote and fox skulls, but it should work for anything. Skin out the skull and remove as much meat as possible. Also remove the eye's and toung. Place in a bucket and cover with a good amount of water. Now add some baking soda. I use about 2 LBS for a coyote or fox. Probably could use more for bigger skulls( maybe 3-4 lbs.). Let this sit for about 6 weeks. Make sure the skull never gets exposed to the air, keep it covered with water. After the six weeks , remove the water and hose down with a high pressure nozzle on your garden hose inside the bucket. Make sure to spray inside the brain cavity. Next put it in a big pot with just enough water to cover it and boil it for 30-45 minutes. Just a slow rolling boil. Make sure the pot is big enough so it wont boil over if it foams up. After boiling, drain the water and hit it again with a high pressure nozzle in the pot or bucket. BE CAREFULL NOT TO LOOSE ANY TEETH. All the teeth will fall out and the bottom jaw will split in 2. After cleaning the skull and teeth of any left over material, I place it in a zip lock bag with hydrogen peroxide bought from the grocery store. Completely cover it and let sit for atleast 30 minutes. Remove all the parts and let dry. Glue the jaw back together ( i use super glue or a hot glue gun) and then figure out the puzzle of where all the teeth go and glue them back in ( I use super glue). Now coat with several coats of gloss clear paint. I spray the top half and bottom half seperatly so they wont stick to each other when you set them together.

Here is what it looks like after boiling and letting soak in peroxide.

And here is what it looks like after reassembly and a couple coats of paint.

AAAaaaaand...(you just knew I couldn't leave it alone didn't ya CS?) if you add Sodium Carbonate to your water when your boiling it will turn 99% of any meat and tissue left to a gel, making it real simple to rinse away.
You think that's good! begins the bleaching process too! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
1/4 cup to a gallon is a good mixture.

Now for the confusing part. Baking Soda is chemically known as Sodium Bicarbonate. Not to be confused.
Sodium Carbonate as mentioned above is totally different. It can be caustic if mixed to strongly.
Sodium Carbonate is also sometimes refered to as Sal Soda, or Washing Soda.
Those are good ideas. That's a real nice white skull. I have a badger out back on the rock pile (road kill) that I should have done that with.
It is a very nice skull...

Now it is one of my most prized possessions, Crapshoot did all that work and then sent it to me. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
It is sitting on top of my monitor, right here on my desk.

Lance, thanks again for all the hard work, and the wonderful gift! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Crapshoot- Try this. Instead of putting it in water for 6 weeks, just put it under a bucket with the skull on the ground in the yard or better yet a flower bed. Put a rock or something on top to keep any dogs or varmits from getting to it. After about 4 or 5 weeks it will be pretty clean from soil mircobes and other insects and such. Then boil with the soda and stuff that RR recommended. You won't have to worry with as much odor, flies and stuff that are attracted by the nasty water.

If you put it in pantyhose or some other type of mess bag and bury it in a compost pile you can have it cleaned in about 3 weeks and then boil as stated above.
I've noticed that any time the skull is exposed to the air, It tends to discolor ? wouldn't the ground discolor the skull also, requiring more bleaching?
It does discolor some, but a little peroxide will whiten it right up. Perioxide is not has hard on the bone as bleach is. Just setting it in the sun will bleach it out too.
Haven't you guys heard of ant hills? Let the ants clean the skull and then you can boil, or treat it with whatever to make it white.
Also, how ould this work in places like LasVegas where there is little to no humidity? Wery little moisture in the air. Dry as a popcorn fart!
It's not really the air that is doing the discoloring. The discoloring is already there and it's from the oils in the skin and fat of the animal.
When you soak the skull in water long enough, a certian amount of the oils are leached out of it making it appear as though it's not as discolored.
Boiling them with Sodium Carbonate pulls out even more of the oils, and what you don't get out basically stays and the peroxide discolors it even more by turning it white.

Kinda like when us guys think were cleaning the toilet. Pour some bleach in and in an hour or two flush it. It's nice and white and looks clean.
The crud is still just bleached it white.
Peroxide and or bleach will kill a certian amount of germs which in turn eliminates any odor that might be left, but you should still seal them by painting or clear coating to preserve them the way they are and prevent any oil left from resurfacing and bringing any odors with it. Which will eventually draw insects.
Is there anything you can do with a deer scull to keep the horns from bleaching out? I found that the boiling the skull causes the horns to discolor. I am not so concerned about bleaching them with the peroxide. I can always wrap the horns and use some care when soaking the skull in the peroxide. Is there another way to effectively remove all the tissue without boiling? Thanks
Beatles or soaking in plain water will do the same, MA_bwhntr . Without turning the antlers white.

But to be honest with ya, a lot of taxidermists simply rub small amounts of stain back on the antlers when there done boiling them out to give them their color back. It works and looks real slick. Rub it on, and rub it off. It will stick in all the crevices just like the dried blood did while they were rubbing off their velvet giving them the color they have in the field.
Thanks. I shot a big 9pt with my bow this year and was thinking about having a skull mount made. I dont have the artistic eye that it would take to match the natural horn color, so I guess I will leave it up to my taxidermist.
Another thing I see my Taxidermist do for his European mount is to use the real antlers , but use a fake plastic skull. No discoloration and no teeth to crack and fall apart. They really turn out nice. He also uses an air brush to do some fading on the antlers to give them a realistic look if needed.
I read that and it seems to be a real nasty slow way to get it done. I just soon boil them but when I do, Im constantly boiling, picking, boiling, picking until it's clean. Using Sal Soda when boiling decreases your time in half. Any meat just peals off. I can tell you one thing thought and thats if the lower jaw teeth are coming out then your boiling it too long. I use several different type of dental picks in the process. Generaly speaking the only teeth that mainly fall out are the canines. I also use a product called bone whitener. Currently it is suppose to be the cats meow. My experiance with it has been fantastic. It works fast and theres very little clean up. It just strips the yellow right out of a skull. It's almost like a paste consistency and you brush it on while the skull is still warm right after boiling, place it in a plastic bag and set in the sun. The warmer the better. In less than a day you will have a completed skull. They can have that messy, smelly, soak for a month garbage can crap, thats just nuts. But to each his own.
Looks like u guys got this one covered. One thing I might add; 1 or 2 lite coats of flat white spray paint will keep your stuff from yellowing over time! I work part time for a taxidermist this is what we do some bear skulls . That don't always clean up well....Tim