Friday, August 30, 2013

DIY Paper Mache Deer Head for around 20$

So I have tried for quite some time to convince myself  I really didn't like those fake deer heads, that I really didn't need one, and they probably wouldn't be in style that long.. the real reason? Have you seen the price tag on some of those things? I just can't spend that on wall art that I was pretty sure I could replicate. My husbands response? A bullet is like 3$... yeah not going to happen, I wanted wall art not a dead animal on my wall, it just isn't the same. No offense to anyone who does have a trophy buck displayed at home.
So the thought process. I knew I needed a base for the molding of the deer.. I came across this free template found here. I took it to Fedex to have it enlarged. Im not sure what percentage they increased it, but I  had it printed on their largest paper which I believe was 46x36 and was 9$ to print. While I was there I also saw a perfectly lovely size cardboard box. It was called their golf box and was 10$. I decided to get it since I really didn't want to haul my two kids all over town looking for cardboard, but if you have some you could make this for even cheaper.. I also picked up some scotch masking tape from there which was probably more than at walmart, but again I was lazy. 

After Ryker was alseep I cut out all the paper pieces and traced them onto my cardboard box. I used an exacto knife to cut the pieces out. I found it worked best to score the top then kinda saw through in a up and down motion.. just watch your hands and floor. 

Kinley helped me assemble the head it went together pretty easy. 

Next I cut out a couple triangles to help shape the bone structure of the nose and eye bones.. and of course I forgot to take a picture... but I just hot glued the pieces in place and shaped them to how I wanted them.. I also made the front flaps for the ears to make them more 3d.. again I used hot glue to attach. I used a thinner cardboard for that part. 

I then started working on taping and smoothing out the ridges between the pieces. 

I just continued to stretch the tape over the ridges to hide the rough edges and make a more smooth texture molding it as I went. 

Here he is all wrapped and read for the paper mache. 

I had never done paper mache so I did some googling and watched a couple videos. It was acutally pretty easy.  I didnt try to make it super smooth. I kinda liked the different texture. I decided to use viva paper towles, and a past recipe.

I doubled this.
1/4 cup plaster of paris
1/4 cup white glue (elemers ect)
1 tblspn cold water
1 tspn vinegar. 


You basically tear you paper towels in half and tear the clean edges off to make them rough they blend better that way. Then dampen them. Paint your paste on your form with a cheap paint brush. I used one of those little cheap wooden natural bristle ones. Then lay your paper over and stretch it to fit. Tear off where needed. Here is a video I watched to learn how to do it. 

I let him dry over night. 

I painted him in the morning a light blue I think it was Behr valley mist and did the antler a dark chocolate brown. Im very happy with how he turned out.

These pictures really don't do it any justice it looks great in the space and it shows up much more blue than the photos pick up. 

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me I will try to answer promptly. Hope I inspired someone who also was thinking they really don't need a fake deer head :). 


  1. Hi, I can't seem to download the template. Could you possibly email it to me? Sorry to be a pain. I love your deer by the way, looks fantastic! If you find the time my email is thank you :)

  2. Will see if I can get it for you. Thanks for reading!

  3. for those having trouble downloading try this link

  4. I am so glad I found you :-). I too can't pay the prices out there and really want one also, funny what pinterest (for me anyway) can do. Never thought I would want a fake deer head. Your tutorial sounds great! Wish me luck...unless you want to make one for me ??? :-) I am not sure what I will do about the nose/eyes but will figure something out I hope. Thanks again!

    1. Laurie yeah I hope you can make it work.. Just play around with it I dint glue mine down until I had it shaped about right.. But you could just try covering it as is too.. Right now I have so much going with moving. My house is a disaster!!! Best of luck!

  5. How did you mount your deer head?

    1. I just cut a small hole in the middle back towards the top with my x acto knife. Its pretty light weight i just used a nail in the wall and hung it off that. hope that makes sense

    2. You could also use command strips so you don't have to put a hole in your wall :) Pretty much all of my stuff in my house is hung by them!

  6. Super cute! Love it! I also saw the west elm deer & thought to myself, no way jose! I could make one way cheaper & probaly cuter than that:) Thx for sharing yours it turned out fabulous;)

  7. Super cute! Love it! I also saw the west elm deer & thought to myself, no way jose! I could make one way cheaper & probaly cuter than that:) Thx for sharing yours it turned out fabulous;)

  8. How do you print this out to trace on to cardboard?
    Any suggestions on how to get the template drawn on cardboard?

  9. Your husband sounds like mine :) (a bullet costs $3). Thanks so much for sharing your process. I just started paper mache last month (or papier, I'm American so I prefer PAPER lol).I didn't know what i was missing!