DIY Deer Head "Faux Taxidermy" Pattern

Deer Head  Faux Trophy Mount Pattern


DIY Deer Head "Faux Taxidermy" Pattern

Bring the free spirit of this whitetail deer into your home.

The downloadable pattern guides you step-by-step, to make sure your project is a success.

And when it’s done, your amazed friends say, ‘Did you really make that yourself?

How to Make Your Deer Head Sculpture:

Print your pattern, glue it to cereal box cardboard, and cut out the pieces.
Print your pattern, glue it to cereal box cardboard, and cut out the pieces.
Tape the pattern pieces together, following the easy instructions.
Tape the pattern pieces together, following the easy instructions.
Round out the antlers with foil, and then add paper mache or paper mache clay.
Round out the antlers with foil, and then add paper mache or paper mache clay.
Bring your deer sculpture to life with acrylic paint.
Bring your deer sculpture to life with acrylic paint.

Watch the videos below to see how easy it is to tape the pattern pieces together, shape the antlers with foil, and finish your deer head with one layer of paper mache and paint.

Finished size: About 15 inches (38.1 cm) high, 16 inches (40.64 cm) wide and 13 inches (33.02 cm) deep.

Paper mache deer head closeup

In this first video below, you can see how to turn the cereal box cardboard pieces into all the realistic shapes of a whitetail deer’s head. The downloadable PDF pattern also includes screenshots showing exactly where each piece goes.

In this next video, you can see how add foil to the cardboard antler patterns, and then attach the antlers to his head.

And now for the really fun part! In this final video, we’ll add a few small details, cover the deer with a layer of paper mache (or paper mache clay, if you prefer) and then paint the sculpture.

It always feels like magic to me when I add that tiny white reflection spot to the eyes, and see the sculpture come to life!

DIY Deer Head "Faux Taxidermy" Pattern
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To make this paper mache deer head sculpture you will need:

  • The downloadable pattern
  • Printer
  • Copy paper or full-sheet labels
  • Glue stick if using copy paper for pattern
  • The front and back from from 3 ½ standard-sized cereal boxes, or 7 pieces of letter-sized “light chipboard*” that you can purchase online.
  • Pieces of corrugated cardboard from one or more shipping boxes
  • Knife and sharp scissors for cutting cardboard
  • Tape, both clear plastic tape and masking tape – but not “disappearing’ tape made for gifts – it isn’t strong enough
  • 1 ½” (4 cm) Styrofoam ball, cut in half
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue gun
  • Paper strips and paste or paper mache clay (or use both)
  • Acrylic gesso or white spray primer
  • Acrylic paint and matte varnish
  • And maybe some fake eyelashes. 🙂

*You can find recipes for paper mache paste and paper mache clay in the Recipes tab at the top of this site.

Some helpful videos:

5 tips for applying paper strips and paste
How to make paper mache smooth with drywall joint compound

My downloadable PDF Patterns come with full instructions.

There’s no waiting for your pattern to arrive, and no shipping costs, so you can start on your project right away.

Click here if you’d like to know more about how the patterns are delivered. (If you’ll be saving your pattern to and iPhone or iPad, they do tend to hide your files. You can scroll down this page to see how to find them.)

And remember – if you have any problems downloading your files or putting your pattern together, just let me know. I’m always happy to help.  😀

Some of the deer made by readers using this pattern…

Do you have a question or need help with your pattern?

If you have a question about putting your pattern together or painting it, leave a comment below or on the Daily Sculptors page. I read all comments and answer them as soon as I can, usually within a few hours. Some of my readers might ideas for you, too — we have a very supportive community on this site.

DIY Deer Head "Faux Taxidermy" Pattern

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21 thoughts on “DIY Deer Head “Faux Taxidermy” Pattern”

  1. Hello Jonni I am not sure if you are still doing animals anymore but I made the Giraffe sculpture and I had so many people compliment me i posted it to your site where you put your finished art work but I was wondering do you have any suggestions my former boss wants me to make a moose sculpture for her daughter I was wondering if you have ever made a Moose sculpture? and what pattern would be close to making it ? thank you and I love all your sculpture God Bless Marisa the Crafter

    • Hi Marisa. Your giraffe is great – I can see why you get so many compliments. 🙂
      I don’t have a moose pattern, and I’ve never made a moose. My house isn’t big enough even for the head and antlers. But our friend Sabrina showed us a moose she made. She made it with an internal pattern that she made herself. A moose has a very ‘distinctive’ head, and I don’t know of any other animal that even comes close, so none of my patterns would really work. There are several papercraft moose head patterns on Etsy.com. They’re made by computer-generated triangles, but some of them are very close to a real moose, and could be used as a basis for a more realistic sculpture. This one looks really nice.

      If you make one, be sure to come back and show it off. We’d love to see it. 🙂

  2. Hi Jonni!
    I purchased the Deer Head mount pattern, but as I am getting used to IPhone, I didn’t see an option to copy it to IBook and now my phone is holding the pattern hostage somewhere.
    Any tips to help me find it? I only remember saying it’s”copied” but to WHERE?!?! Heehee?
    My son’s 5th grade art project is on hold til I figure this out!
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Michelle. I don’t have an iPhone, but I know you’re right – they deliberately hide your downloads. I think it’s a special “feature.” I found this recent video that talks about iPhone downloads. And this article talks about the Files app, which “makes it simple to find what you’re looking for, no matter where you saved it or what device you’re currently using.” The article is on the Apple support site, so it looks trustworthy.

      I hope this helps. If you still can’t get the download to work, please let me know. And I hope both you and your son have fun making the deer. 🙂

  3. I want to make reindeers for my grandkids but i don’t know how can you help me with a pattern i really love the things you make and how would i make it weather resistance sincerely Irene Montoya

    • Hi Irene. Our friend Rona wrote a guest post for us several years ago, showing us how she made a reindeer. It’s probably larger than the ones you want to make, but it’s really nice. You can see the post here. This video might also help. If you want the reindeer to be outside for just a few days you can protect them with a few coats of marine varnish. The paper mache will get soft while it’s outside, but you can bring them inside to dry them off again. Some people say that Flex Seal will make paper mache permanently waterproof, but we’ve also received a report from someone who tried it and who said it didn’t work. I never put paper mache outside, myself, unless it’s just for a few days. And even then I bring it inside if it’s going to rain.

  4. Jonni,

    I’m having a terrible time trying to figure out the ears for the deer. I’ve messed with them but can’t seem to “get it”. How do the pieces (16 & 17) go together?

    • Hi Sylvia. The ears can be tricky. Maybe the easy way to describe it is to say that the tabs should all line up along the bottom, and the extension on piece 16 needs to bend to match the V-shaped end of piece 17. Does your ear look anything like the one below, after the short end of 17 is taped to the extension on pice 16?

  5. For me, that was one of your most fun videos. I have had a difficult time viewing videos on my computer for some reason, so I was happy when they played today. I love the idea of aluminum foil around the nose and the eyes. I’m definitely going to use that. I’m painting a few projects now and am going to paint with Jessie’s brush! It looks like you paint from dark to light.? I love the fur.

    I grew up in a family of hunters (I don’t kill anything, even spiders — maybe a fly or two!), and they killed deer every year. The antlers are really impressive, and it looks to me like the marks are painted perfectly. They are not “straight.”

    I had an uncle who had a tame deer. Someone took a photo of me holding his face in my hands and getting ready to give him a kiss, so this brought back many fond memories.

    Thanks so much for thinking outside the box for those of us who hardly see daylight!

  6. Jonni, the painting of the fur is perfect. I can hardly believe it. I, too, bought one of “Jessie’s brushes” and plan on using it soon. I used the brush once and love it. The deer is beautiful. Thanks for all your beautiful work.

  7. Jonni, the fur paint job is fabulous! Jessie would be really proud that you took her tutorial to heart. I got one of those brushes after watching her tutorial but it is much smaller. I like the size that you have….may have to get one!
    The painting of the deer antlers was realistic as well. In real life, they are not all going in the same direction. My kids would find them and bring them home and they have scratches and dents in all sorts of directions, perhaps as a result of their mating behaviors??? I wonder if you used that same brush and used longer strokes if you could achieve that same effect?
    It is a fine sculpture and a really fine pattern that you offer. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Eileen. I bought one of the smaller graining brushes, too, but I haven’t tried it yet. I do wonder if the larger brush would work on fur that clumps, like bear or wolf fur – when you see small bunches coming together in a point. I guess I’ll have to try it. 🙂


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