It appears as though the taxidermy trend is here to stay, as animal pelts continue to litter the pages of decorating magazines, bones and feathers fill the editorial fashion spreads, and animal heads seem to crowd the walls of all the hottest and hippest new joints. I will never understand how glamorizing death became en vogue, but I guess that’s why I don’t make the rules. I do, however, react to them. (See more tips for a vegan lifestyle on my blog, Bonzai Aphrodite.)
And me? I like to poke fun. Some people say, “Kill ‘em with kindness,” but I much prefer to say, “Slay ‘em with satire.” A little pointed irony sends a pretty poignant message . . . “a spoonful of sugar” and all that jazz. But even putting politics aside, this project just so happens to be fun, and funny, and easier than it looks. And for the right person, this could be the perfect gift.
To make your own vegan taxidermy, you’ll need: one stuffed animal (check your local thrift stores), scissors or razor knife, and a staple gun. You can make your own mounting plaque if you feel like doing a little finish carpentry, or you can buy one at a craft store.
Make the Mounting Plaque
You can use a stencil (drawn or downloaded), and the shape is up to you. A simple oval does the trick, though a more traditional design, like we’ve used here, adds to the effect. Trace the stencil onto a piece of plywood.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the mounting plaque. Sand the edges smooth. Stain the plaque (using a rag or paintbrush) and set it aside to dry.
Prepare the Head
You can use a realistic-looking animal, as shown in this tutorial, or you can use something totally silly for a more comedic effect. A unicorn would be spectacular! Either way, decapitate the stuffed animal, leaving as much of a “neck” on it as possible.
Mount the Head
Using the staple gun, secure the lowermost point of the head (at the neck, below the “chin”), stapling from the inside of the neck to the front of the mounting plaque, so as to hide the staple. Continue stapling up the sides, through the inside of the neck into the mounting plaque. At some point you will no longer be able to fit the staple gun into the head to staple from the inside. That’s okay! Your last two or three staples will be on the top of the head, which hangs above eye level on the wall. The fur also helps to obscure the staples.
This quirky home decorating project is super quick and totally customizable. Use it to lighten the mood in your living room; or to add a dose of silliness to your kid’s room; or give it away as a gag gift to your favorite comedian friend. Happy “hunting”!