DIY Mixed Media Cow Skull Wall Hanging
From the blogger: "I was given this skull by a friend who farms cattle. Skulls have become really popular at the moment for home decor. They are decorated in many ways as wall hangings. I chose to give this one a mixed media makeover using items I had laying around at home. If you don't want to decorate a real skull, resin skulls are available to buy on the internet. I wanted this skull to be unique by adding a farm scene created in Cricut design space to make a decal for the skull. The decal was highlighted with a bronze wax paste, which made it stand out like embossed metal."
Primary TechniqueMixed Media
Project TypeMake a Project
My skull has sat outside in the sun for years and was dirty. If yours is like mine, soak it in a bath with bleach for a few hours and scrub all the dirt off with a brush. Use epoxy and super glue to glue the loose teeth back into the skull. You may also remove all the loose cavities inside the skull, which I think might be the sinus cavities.
Mixed media is all about adding texture and layers to your project. I used an offcut of leather to cover the top of the skull, which will give the skull a nice texture. Glue the leather using a multi-purpose glue. You can make some stencils using a Cricut vinyl cutter in different designs. Using the stencil, place it on the skull and add a layer of texture paste, and then remove the stencil. This step does not need to be perfect because the imperfections make it look better in the end.
To hide the edges on the leather, glue some split peas around the edges with tacky glue. Then, use scraps of cardboard, studs, thumbtacks, burlap, buttons, keys, and charms for the rest. On closer inspection, you will see lots of common items.
I downloaded free clipart graphics and added them to design space, which is Cricut's software. You can build up the design by adding more images and then grouping them as one graphic before you cut the vinyl. I cut the farm scene design out using a Cricut Explore Air 2 onto permanent vinyl. The design was transferred onto transfer tape and put onto the leather. Rub the design with a scraper until it sticks to the leather.
Once you are happy with all the items that are glued onto the skull, paint it all with black Gesso. You can always go back and add more items at any time. Next is where the magic happens. This step takes minutes to do. Dip your finger into the bronze wax paste and rub your finger across the surface. This will make all the textures pop. However, be careful not to fill in all the nooks and crannies with the bronze paste or the effect will be lost. When rubbing the vinyl decal, add two layers of the bronze paste. This will make the design stick out like embossed metal.
The skull I had did not have horns, so I made some as best I could. Using tin foil, roll it up to get a thick roll. This will help get the bend in the horn. Next, use paper towels and roll them around the tin foil to get the thickness. Once you are happy with the thickness, add a layer of tape to hold it all in place. Add a piece of wooden dowel to the inside of the horn using the polymorph to hold it in place. Polymorph strengthens the horns because it is a moldable resin when heated in hot water. Add some polymorph beads to boiling water, and once it goes clear, it is ready to mold. Remove it from the water with a spoon and mold it around the horn with your hands. The polymorph becomes solid once it cools. You can use a heat gun to smooth it all out at the end, but be careful. It heats up enough to burn you with a heat gun. Decorate the horns the same way you did the skull.