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Submitted on
November 6, 2008
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Taxidermy Wolf Tutorial - Pt 4 by Zhon Taxidermy Wolf Tutorial - Pt 4 by Zhon
For Phase 3, Click here: [link]

39.) Superglue -OR- pin the lips into place. I prefer superglue as it bonds skin very well! Just be sure it isn't your skin. I recommend pinning the crap out of it for all you who are not friends with superglue.

40.) Pin the front corner of the tear duct. This will keep the eyeskin from moving off-course when you go to tuck in the eyelids.

41.) With a stiff paintbrush, tuck the eyelid skin under your clay brows so the skin is between the brow clay and the glass eye. You could adjust the eye to the expression you want, but it isn't recommended until further on when the rest of the skin is in place (or else the eye will shift on you and you'll be chasing it until you are frustrated)

42.) Card the cheeks and jawline with some cardboard (like that thin stuff from cereal boxes). This prevents the skin from drumming on you, thus creating a hollow pocket between the form and skin. Use T-pins to secure the skin down into the form.

43.) Now you can play with the eyes. Adjust them to the width you want them and set the eyebrow creases.

44.) The red lines will show you where to put your brow creases. You can make them harsh or soft depending on the mood of your wolf (I went for a softer happy look)

45.) Model the nose to the shape you want it. I tend to make my nostrils really deep. Pack in the clay so it gives some anchor to the skin if the foam is really mangled. Look into reference pictures for the type of nose you would want your wolf to have (some are flared more than others)

46.) Play with your facial expressions (I love this picture... Wolfie looks crazy wacky!) But cover up each half of my wolf's face and look at the expressions. The left half seems really angry/pissed while the right half looks a bit more relaxed. You will need to constantly look at the placement of your ears, to make sure they are level, as well as the carding and the nose.

47.) Finally, Settle on an expression you like and leave it to dry for 2-3 days. Babysit it by checking up on it every couple hours to make sure the skin doesn't shift on you. Over the drying period, the skin DOES tend to shrink by pulling away from the eyes.... Keep an eye out for this, and you can keep playing with it until the clay hardens.

The overall head should be dry in 2-3 days at room temperature.... 4 to be safe.
Stay tuned for PHASE 5! (the painting and stuff that makes the wolf look REAL!

Disclaimer: I did not hunt this wolf. It came to me already tanned from a fellow taxidermist (who didn't hunt it either). I bought it from him and am building this costume/rug for a friend of mine. This wolf came from Canada (NOT Alaska) and was imported with all Federally Legal paperwork!
Therefore the skin was not from a poached animal. All of my skins are legally obtained from taxidermy facilities or licensed hunters I speak with personally.


For God's Sake! Only STUPID people leave comments on things they Hate!!!!

For all you who love learning the art of taxidermy...
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fuzzheadsmurf Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What kind of clay do you use? And how much time do you have to play with it before it sets up?
Zhon Aug 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I use Critter Clay made by Aves. It stays soft as long as you keep it hydrated or wrapped up. :)
wolffoxin Feb 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
When you leave it to dry, is there any way to make sure it does not grow mold or begin to decompose in the process? Because where I live it is very humid and I am going to rehydrate my coyote but I am not so sure about drying it... :/
Zhon Feb 20, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Usually a skin will not mold easily due to the tanning chemicals...but just in case if you are worried, you can spray it with some lysol mixed with water.
But yeah...leather will not mold very easily....I have kept wet skins in the fridge for a month with no mold.
wolffoxin Feb 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, thank you for the help. :)
Endless-Masquerade Dec 23, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Fantastic tutorial. I'm using it as a supplement to the 5 gillion other tutorials I'm reading up on mounting canines lol. But I have a question and you seem like the nicest person to ask (I like how is really anti DA but taxi people seem to be the rude ones when it comes to answering questions). In part 47 you say "Finally, Settle on an expression you like and leave it to dry for 2-3 days. Babysit it by checking up on it every couple hours to make sure the skin doesn't shift on you. Over the drying period, the skin DOES tend to shrink by pulling away from the eyes.... Keep an eye out for this, and you can keep playing with it until the clay hardens."

My question is, I deal with clay a lot, and obviously the way to keep your clay from drying is to stick a plastic bag over it. But I'm wondering, isn't sticking hide paste and a hide over clay the same idea? Or does the hide "breathe" enough to get air to the clay so that it dries. Does it take longer than normal for the clay to dry (aka if the hide and paste dries in 2-3 days should I still babysit it and wait a bit longer so that the clay will fully set) Sorry for the multitude of questions, but after having clay only partially harden on me before in other projects it was a question that I needed to ask and couldn't seem to find a good answer for.
Zhon Feb 8, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
OMG! I am so sorry for getting back to you so late! I had to clean out my message box. But with the air-dry clays, they will harden when all the moisture dries out (of course we all knew that) But in a way, yes! Hide does sortof breathe. It will be the first thing to dry, then the moisture underneath will leech out.
I have put stuff together soggy and babysat it while it dried without any problem with the hide or clay beneath the skin.
Endless-Masquerade Feb 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Quite alright! I appreciate you getting back to me, thank you. Great, very good to know (I already mounted up my first fox head, but was still sort of wondering haha)
DiamondDustTaxidermy Dec 20, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you so much for sharing tutorials like this! I'm trying to learn taxidermy and am having a terrible time with lips coming untucked. Then I have to fill in with epoxy and end up with big silly lips. I'll try the superglue next time, that ought to do it.
Zhon Dec 20, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Not a problem! I love showing people how stuff works.
and if you are having issues with lips coming do you make your lip slots? I tend to undersize mine so when both upper and lower lips are tucked it's hard to pull them out. Pins can also secure lips in place.
I also tend to "overtuck" stubborn lips, so that way if i know they will untuck, they shrink to a normal looking pose.
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