Most taxidermist send their hides to a tannery; it makes sense when the skins start piling up and the work looks daunting. Plus, home tanning takes time and effort. I figured I only have a couple of green hides though so I’d try it myself.
The process takes about three days, and I diligently checked and stretched my raccoon and deer cape each day at the same time. The coon skin, being thinner, took less time and I was exceptionally pleased with the final result:
Here he is, drying out in our bathtub. This situation right here has me convinced that I will have to employ a professional tanner in the future, as my house is tiny and the bathtub meant for people.
Here’s the deer cape drying out the next day. Unfortunately, I must’ve skinned it after some bacteria had taken up residence, because the fur was coming out in clumps. I was somewhat beside myself seeing as this was the first deer I’d skinned all by myself and I was really gunning for a A+ hide, so I shoved it in the freezer for me to take out and deal with another time.
At least the raccoon was a success. I taxied the skin onto the form; it’s in a climbing position with some tight corners. Sewing was definitely a challenge. Here’s his face, all pinned and carded up for drying. This is a piece commissioned to me by my husband and he requested a mischievous sort of creature in the midst of a getaway after a bank heist. I turned the lip up just a liiiiitle bit to indicate a grin, and the $ bag is almost done and ready to be attached to one of his little paws.
I spent about an hour blow-drying the fur; it seemed to take forever. But he dried very well and is hanging in my studio. Today I will touch up his face and finish him. Updates to come.