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First project

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Mujician, May 10, 2014.

  1. Mujician

    Mujician New Member

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    I would like to try and mount a rat or mouse as my first project. I have a freezer full of small rodents from tiny mice up to small rats as I keep snakes so I have plenty to choose from. Is it easier to work with larger subjects? I am after all the information I can get as I am rather stumped right now. Everything I've seen or read says I only need to coat the skin in borax after skinning and I can them mount it straight away. I can't understand this as surely the borax powder isn't going to preserve the skin. So how do I make sure it doesn't start to decay? Could somebody please point me in the right direction to find out what I need to do? I was intending to use cotton wool for stuffing and wire - do I wrap the wire around the wool shape, or do I wrap the wool around the wire?
     
  2. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

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    the best thing to do is get a GOOD quality dvd to watch ,then after viewing it a half dozen times go for it .You may ''ruin'' a few but it's part of the process. a little larger may be easier just because of the fact that you can see what you're doing better. i.e. squirrels young groundhogs. etc. Rats do have tough skins though it's those wee toe bones that's the hard part.
     

  3. Mujician

    Mujician New Member

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    I think I have all the info I need now apart from how to make a good mouse/rat form and what to make it from. I did think I should make it from cotton wool but now I'm really not sure. Do I make a head from clay? To form the legs and bulk of the body do I wrap the material around some wire that goes the length of the legs?. I realise i could try and buy one (although I have not seen any for sale in the UK), butI like to idea of making it myself.
     
  4. Mujician

    Mujician New Member

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    I've ordered materials form a very helpful supplier and I hope to complete a taxidermy mouse sometime this week. I'm aiming not to make any blood leak anywhere, but if I do get anything onto the fur I will obviously need to wash it. When it is washed do I leave it to dry in the air until I'm ready to mount it, or do I dry the flesh side out with borax? Many thanks.
     
  5. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

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    if you leave it air dry it will also dry out the skin plus you take a chance on bacteria setting in and spoiling your skin.wash rinse well blow dry ,tan or DP ,the best thing is to prep the skin,, freeze Next you wrap' carve' or get the purchased body ready this includes eyes set all wires in place base ready. Then thaw and mount.
     
  6. Betta132

    Betta132 New Member

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    Borax preserves small hides by simply drawing out the moisture and keeping stuff from eating it. I've used it for mice and rats before.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Mouse-Taxidermy/
    This is a nice how-to article for mice and rats. For rats, simply scale it up and use pipe cleaners instead of those skinny wires. You can skin one by cutting down the back or down the belly. Back is often easier to hide in the fur, belly is easier to hide via posing.
     
  7. Rats are much easier than mice, and a lot more forgiving :)
     
  8. CodyTheCorgi

    CodyTheCorgi Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

    I would start with a squirrel if I were you. Small animals can actually be much harder to skin/mount than most. Just obtain experience, and don't give up too quickly!

    I use a borax/salt (50/50) mixture to preserve my mouse skins. I have one that is 4 years old and is still perfectly fine. I can tell you this though: if you work with the skin for too long the fur will start falling out. It will also fall out if you touch it before its done drying. Mount em up somewhat quickly and leave it alone for at least a week and a half. Also, I carve the head out of foam and use painted/finished sewing pins as eyes.
     
  9. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Just stay on this page and scroll down about twenty topics and there's a video on how to do it.