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Creating an Antler Lamp

Creating an Antler Lamp
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There was a time, not so long ago in fact, that people avoided the suburban life and the bright lights of the big city, favoring instead the solitude of the country. It was in the countryside where hardworking farmers were still considered the backbone of America. Even though the modern age of disposable technology has pushed folks to adapt to new challenges and new expectations, they've never forgotten their roots.

There are still those among us who understand the value of a hard days work; that true craftsmanship isn't done by a machine, but by a steady hand; that real art doesn't come with a fancy French name and consist of three paint blotches on a piece of canvas. You might know them as woodworkers, taxidermists, or tanners, but we simply call them artists. And it's time you joined them.

We're going to teach you how to create something beautiful and unique that combines America's rustic beginnings and today's technological advances—an antler lamp.

Finding the Right Antlers

The first step in designing your antler lamp requires you to procure some antlers. For this project, we would suggest using antlers from the common North American white-tailed deer, though the larger antlers of the mule deer, moose, or elk would work if you were so inclined.

It might go without saying, but you should also consider using antlers that aren't already attached to a live deer. Not only would it make the project exponentially more difficult, the deer probably wouldn't appreciate walking around the woods with a light on its head—unless you installed a dimmer switch first.

Our first suggestion would be to use antlers from a buck you may have taken during the season, as you'd be more emotionally attached to the piece, but for those either unwilling or unable to take them off a buck firsthand, don't worry, you're still in luck. Each year during March and April, deer go through an antler shedding process and antlers can be found near fence lines, deer trails and bedding areas. You could also buy some online, but that's just cheating.

Break Out the Tools

Before you get started, prep the antlers by cleaning them thoroughly with oil soap and a clean cloth; then allow them to dry. This will help remove excess dirt and grime while giving them a polished texture. When they are dry, use a small paintbrush to apply light coats of polyurethane to the antlers, allowing the antlers to dry between each application. This will create a protective seal.

Next, use either one or two antlers to create a base that you like. If you plan on only using one antler, you can add stability by using a piece of natural wood. Then, making sure they maintain a natural balance, use a heavy adhesive or screws to combine them.

NOTE: Keep in mind where the light bulb will come out at the top and where the cord will exit at the bottom.

From here, you're going to start drilling through the antler to create a pathway for your cord. Before drilling, make sure you've planned the wire route and selected the right size drill bit for the antler. You won't be able to drill through long curves, so drilling from different angles will help. If you're good with a drill, most of the cord will be hidden inside the antlers. If you're not, well, at least you've having fun, right?

To finish, run the cord through the holes to the top and attach the light fixture using epoxy or small screws. Once dry, simply attach the light bulb, place the lampshade on top, and you're done!

When you finally plug in your new deer antler lamp, stand back and be proud of what you've accomplished. You've kept to your roots, while still embracing the present.

Materials Needed:
  • Deer Antlers
  • Oil Soap
  • Small Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane
  • Drill with bits
  • Lamp Kit
  • Glue/Epoxy
  • Light Bulb
  • Lampshade

For a great selection of idea—or if you would just rather by the lamp than make one—check our Black Forest Decor's selection of antler lamps and sconces.

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