Gilt deer skull

I've been a huge fan of skulls and curios for as long as I can remember and I really welcome the trend for such decorative artefacts in recent years. A pair of antlers or a skull sculpture has become almost banal, but could I make things a bit more interesting? Gilding that has been tickling my interest for a while, and I wondered how stunning gilded bone would look. Very stunning, as it turns out!

Gilt roe deer skull

I thought I'd practise on broken vintage roe deer antlers that had been in my stash for a while.

raw deer skull

I fixed some masking tape to the inside of the skull to act as support to the polyester filler paste I used to make the repair (you can get this from any car maintenance outlet such as Halfords). Once dry, I smoothed it down with sandpaper. 

masking tape

polyester filler

repaired damaged skull

I applied gold size with a brush (I use Polyvine) and let it become tacky (about 15 mins) before applying gold metal leaf to the bone. I did not apply gesso beforehand as I did not want a smooth surface. I wanted to retain every detail of the bone texture. 

gilding the bone

I went for black wax on the antlers to give them the depth and shine to match the gold but still keep them natural. 

black waxed antlers

I covered a display shield with black snakeskin fabric using fabric glue and staples. 

gilt deer skull bone

gilt deer skull bone

gilt deer skull bone

I love these and will be showing how they look on my wall as soon as the photos of the living room are ready... It's getting there. And I have been working on ideas for a collection, so I'll be stocking up the shop with a few of these soon... 

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