Jackalope Antlers – Guest Post

We  have another guest post by Basil Hammerton. In his most recent post he showed us how he made his amazing wall hanging of a Humpback Whale Family.

Today, he has something very different for us–how to make antlers for a jackalope faux trophy mount.

He used the 3D pattern of a jackrabbit from this site for the head, and then customized it to create the legendary jackalope.

If you grew up in the more open spaces of the West, like I did, you’ve seen lots of jackalope trophies, yet hunting the beast in the wild is almost as aggravating as a snipe hunt. Basil shows us the easy way to get a jackalope trophy for our walls. Thanks, Basil!



©2016 Basil Hammerton

How I made my Jackalope Antlers.

This was really quite a simple process. They were basically made with wire, masking tape and gesso. I originally started making a pair by wrapping the wire in bubble wrap but found this to be too bulky as I wanted nice fine delicate antlers.  I will use these in a later project.

First I decided on size and shape, as I said delicate was the brief. I settled on a height approximately the same as the rabbits ears. Before I cut the wire I bent it to shape one half of the antler then continued on down the other side, then cut the wire. This avoided any wastage in the wire, I also allowed a little extra to use to push into the rabbits head helping to stabilize the antlers while the base of clay set.

Jackalope Antlers, Step 1
Jackalope Antlers, Step 1

Once the wire was bent I taped it together with masking tape, just at certain points for now in case I wasn’t happy with the shape. I then duplicated the process with the second antler , bending it using the first one as a pattern to get them both as close in shape as possible.

Jackalope Antlers, Step 2
Jackalope Antlers, Step 2

Once I was happy with them both I then went over everything again with tape filling out areas like in-between the two prongs at the top and in-between the single prong and main stem at the bottom.

Jackalope Antlers, Step 3
Jackalope Antlers, Step 3

Next I made sure to make a left and right one rather than them both the same. To achieve an even better shape I bent the wire so that the whole antler was slightly arched from top to bottom and slightly arched the prongs inwards as well. I think this can be seen in the photos.

Jackalope Antlers, Step 4
Jackalope Antlers, Step 4

Then it was the first coat of gesso. I drilled two holes in a scrap piece of timber (lumber) to stand them in while the gesso dried. This was a must as it made the whole process so much easier than trying to hang them up or the like. Once this was dry I applied another coat of gesso allowing that to dry also. I then checked them both for any irregularities, sanding back any high spots or lumps, that would spoil the look I was after then applied the final coat of gesso.

The last step was three a good sanding’s with  each one using a finer grit of paper than the one before it.  As the Jackalope was going to be all white I knew this would show any imperfections really well so a thorough sanding was critical.

To attach the antlers I drilled a hole in the rabbits head where they were to be mounted and inserted the extra bit of wire into this whole. Just a quick note here, I have found that the paper clay and gesso finish can easily be drilled as long as you are careful. Use a high speed drill with a drill bit as small as it needs to be. I ended up epoxying them in place with 5 minute araldite first so I could be sure they would stay orientated correctly, then put paper clay over this joint in the shape you can see in the photos.

All in all I was really happy with the outcome as was the lady I made the Jackalope for.

Jackalope Trophy
Jackalope Trophy

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25 thoughts on “Jackalope Antlers – Guest Post

  1. Jonni….just now finding your amazing work. You forgot to say you were a scientist/chemist, too!
    I’m sure Ill have questions as I search your site but, first….is your cat a Himalayan? I had a walk on cat (my property) some years back and he looked just like your cat. Thanks for all your hard work!

    • My kitty was half Ragdoll, and half Siamese. Her personality and long fur came from her mother, the Ragdoll. I think they may have gotten the mitted pattern from Himalayan being mixed in when the Ragdoll breed was being created – sounds reasonable, anyway … 🙂

      • That’s an amazing and beautiful mix. That makes sense she had Siamese in her, being so vocal and all. Is she no longer with you?

          • That’s a beautiful tribute to your lovely cat. My daughter and I have had special pets in our lives such as your kitty. Change happens. And, we are always blessed when we’ve been loved…whether by humans or animals.

  2. OMG! thanks for posting this! I was thinking of making a jackolope type animal and I been just thinking of how to make the antlers! This looks amazing! I am working on the jack rabbit right now! I hope mine turns out good!

    • Laur Hi, Thanx for the comments. Post a photo when you’re done. I would be keen to see how you got on.

  3. Hi Basil, this is awesome, love the finish. Can I ask your ratio of glue to compound? I’ve made one batch, kinda eyeballed it but I’m not that happy with it. Also, is it dry sand only? I’ve tried to sand with wet sandpaper but it goes all gooey and then sticky on the surface. Thanks!

    • Rachel Hi, Sorry I have not back before now, I don’t seem to be getting the notifications anymore. The first coat was approx. 50/50. I let this dry thoroughly first then sanded with 100 grit sandpaper. Then the next coat was approx 60/40, the 60 being the glue. Again let that dry then sand with a finer grade sandpaper, 120 grit. Then I applied one coat of the same only this time brushing on a small area and using a very water wet brush, brush this out but not too thin and repeat over entire antler covering small areas at a time. This gives it a very glossy look but of course only when it is wet. Once dry sand again with 120 grit and then finish of with 240 grit emery paper used dry. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Basil, that is just amazing that you got that nice smooth look with only gesso…I am going to remember that. You really are a perfectionist and it shows. Beautiful!

    • Eileen Hi, Thanks for your comments, remember to eliminate any bumps or high spots in between coats. The last coat will then be easier to get just right.

    • I am sorry, I posted this in the wrong section. My comments were directed to Jonni. I am impressed with Basil’s Jackalope as well. Love how smooth and sleek this piece turned out for you. Great ideas!

      • Thanx Karen Sue, Like you Jonni got me hooked and now I can’t stop. She sure is a real inspiration.

    • Thanx Rex, It is a lot easier to obtain the smooth finish just working with the gesso. Any bigger and I would have used the paper clay first.

  5. That’s amazing!
    What is the backing made from?
    Did you use paper clay?
    It looks incredibly smooth in the photo. Is that from the gesso and sanding?

    • Angela Hi, All I used was a galvanized wire for the frame. Masking tape to hold it together and to create the webbing and then three coats of Jonnis gesso recipe. Each coat was sanded when dry with the final coat having three sandings of progressively finer grit sandpaper. No paper clay as I wanted a more delicate look. Thanx for your comments.

  6. I am the extremely luck recipient of this awesome jackalope – and can confirm it looks even better in real life.

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