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How To Whiten Little Bones

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by SpanishGirl, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. SpanishGirl

    SpanishGirl Member

    Hi, my question is how to whiten small bones without them falling apart?

    I mean, my beetles clean the body perfectly, but when i soak it in peroxide, it fall apart...

    I tried with small lizard and fish (danio rerio, sardina pilchardus) and now I have a frozen pterophyllum scalare I want to clean, but im afraid about this problem.

    Can you please help me?
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Is what you mean .. the skeleton falls apart? The bones are ok but no longer attached? This will happen with a ligament mount, especially one so small. Get some practice ones first. Lay your skeleton on a screen first. When it has been soaked, you will not be able to touch it or move it. Lower the screen into the peroxide but watch and remove it before the ligaments are dissolved. Remove by lifting the screen, not the skeleton. Leave the bones on the screen until it is dry enough to be picked up. As it dries, the remaining ligaments will tighten.

    You can also lay the skeleton on a piece of plastic wrap and put on a few drops of peroxide. Let that sit for a while until mostly dry. Add more peroxide to whiten more. When dry, it should peel off of the plastic with no damage. These will be quite flat as the bones in them are so small and fragile. You could also soak the skeletons in acetone for several weeks. This will remove oils but not whiten so much. Acetone will not soften the skeleton and you can remove it and dry with no damage.
    SpanishGirl likes this.

  3. SpanishGirl

    SpanishGirl Member

    Wonderful! I will try that method and whiten it slowly and little by little.
    Thanks Sea Wolf!!
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you are using 3% peroxide try diluting it with a small measure of water. It will work slower but it will still soften the ligaments. Also try adding a small amount of alcohol to the 3% peroxide. It may help to harden the ligaments and slow the damage to them.
    SpanishGirl likes this.
  5. Kinisi_ Tou_ Dermatos

    Kinisi_ Tou_ Dermatos New Member

    I have whitened many skulls and teeth perfectly.
    Every skull is free of fur, meat and grease.
    I mix together Salon Care 40 volume creme with Salon Care Quick White Super Strength Powder Lightener.
    I always take photos of all angles of the skull prior.
    One skull to a tub. Very important.

    I use the proper sized paint brush for whatever skull and teeth that I am I am whitening.
    After I brush the skull and teeth with the mixture, I place the skull in a covered plastic tub that I purchased from Menards. I make sure that the tub is set out of any light source.

    The mixture dries to a hard paste. I let it sit for approximately 24 hours.
    I remove the skull from the tub and place it in an oblong strainer.
    I then carefully rinse in warm water, (not hot!).

    Once the rinsing is done, I let the contents sit in the strainer until air dried.
    I then remove the contents to my work table and proceed to place the teeth using the photos prior to cleaning as a reference.

    As far as setting the teeth go, for a natural look, I put a very tiny amount of clay up in the socket and adjust the placement as needed. I then carefully remove the tooth, add a drop of E6000 glue with a toothpick to the bottom of the tooth that goes into the socket and adjust again. One tooth at a time.
    After I am satisfied, I cover the skull with a light amount of Mop and Glow using a camel hair brush for the simple reason that contaminates will not sink into my artwork and all that has to be done to maintain the skull on display is feather dust it.

    I have whitened skulls and skeletons from mice to Bison and I have never had a bad turnout. Even horribly discolored skulls come out perfectly for me.

    That is what I do.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Kinisi, when using the peroxide, consider using the 40VOL liquid and not the cream. The cream actually has oil in it which makes it thick. Oil on skulls you just cleaned isn't great. It's good for tortured hair though which is why it is in there. When you mix the peroxide and Basic White, it will foam and make a thick paste regardless. Slather it on but, if the skull is big enough, wrap it with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out too fast. Maybe small skulls set into a covered container. If you set these skulls now into a warm area or under a heat lamp, the warmth with get them very white, Just not so hot as to burn them. Smaller skulls like dogs, wolves, cougar, bears ect. I submerge in a container filled with 40VOL and let them sit that way for several hours. This whitens but also does an excellent job of sterilizing the bone inside and out and that container of peroxide can be used many times over and over.

    SpanishGirl is actually in Spain and a lot of things we have are hard for her to get. .. But, she can go to a store and buy formaldehyde.
    SpanishGirl likes this.