Mounting skulls European-style is a popular way to show a hunting trophy without having to devote the space that a full-body or shoulder mount would require. European skull mounts are also easy for a novice taxidermist to learn to do. To create this type of mount, three types of basic supplies are needed- supplies to clean the skull, protect it, and mount it on an attractive display.
Cleaning the skull is arguably the hardest part. A variety of methods exist, and one of the most effective supplies to do so isn’t actually a supply at all. Dermestid beetles are used by most museums and a number of professional taxidermists, so, if at all possible, these should be obtained. These beetles eat the flesh and soft tissue off of the skull without damaging it, shrinking it, or making it brittle. Without these beetles, the skull will need to have the flesh stripped from it manually. To do so include a large pot, dish detergent, baking soda, and a dull knife. The pot should be filled with water and brought to a boil, some dish detergent and baking soda added, and the skull should be placed inside. Every ten minutes, the skull should be removed and scraped with the knife, until it is clean. Borax should always be kept on hand for cleaning small cavities a knife can’t reach, as well as for rubbing on the skull afterward to absorb any excess moisture that can cause unwanted odors or attract bugs.
The next step requires its own specific supplies. The skull should be bleached, and many different solutions and recipes exist to do so. However, since most of these chemicals are only available through laboratory or professional taxidermist suppliers, a hobbyist or beginner might be better off purchasing a kit with skull bleach included. After that, some form of protective coating should be applied, like that used to protect outdoor furniture. These generally consist of acrylic or polyurethane, come in a spray can, and are readily available at craft and hobby stores.
The last supplies needed are a display plaque or pedestal, and a means of securing the skull to it. Screws are fairly common and easy to use, and have the advantage over glue in that they won’t degrade with time. Plaques and pedestals are usually wood, though some interesting looking displays have also been made out of slate or other types of stone.
Learning to make a European skull mount is a great way to become introduced to the art of taxidermy. Though it seems easier than mounting a whole hide, making sure to have the right supplies for the job can make it even easier, and create an even more beautiful finished mount.