Before Chuck and I moved into our house, decorating was never something I thought much about. Truthbe told, if you’d seen our last place, you probably would have thought we had just moved in when in fact we’d lived there for over 5 years – it still looked as much a bachelor pad the day we moved out as the day we moved in.
But now that we’re in a place that feels more homey (read more permanent) all I really want to do is decorate. And it seems like every time I turn around, I catch a glimpse of the faux taxidermy craze that’s blowing up these days. While it’s a rather polarizing trend, and I admittedly have pretty mixed feelings about it myself, I think a well-placed pair of faux antlers can look pretty nice. Or at least interesting.
So in order to get to the bottom of my mixed taxidermy emotions, I grabbed some floral wire, an old newspaper, flour paste and some paint, and set to work creating a pair of antler candlesticks.
Since all the materials were things I had lying around the house, the whole project was f-r-e-e. And to be honest, with the potential for things to go horribly wrong, such a small financial investment meant that I could throw the whole thing out and pretend like it never happened if it blew up in my face.
Luckily enough though, I’m totally digging it. I like that you can tell they're antlers without them being too over the top and in your face. And the papier mache gives them more of an artistic look, less of a dead-animal-on-you-mantle look which is an added bonus.
So here's what you need to get started:
For the papier mache paste:
2 tbsp flour
1 cup water
For the candlesticks:
Newspaper ripped into strips
White spray paint with primer
Before making your antlers, whip up a batch of flour paste. Heat 1 cup water on the stove until it’s barely boiling. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit until it’s completely cool.
- Next measure and cut a 24 inch length of floral wire.
- Bend the piece in half and loosely twist the two sides together.
- This piece is going to be your candlestick stem and one of the legs, so bend the wire slightly in the middle, and then bend the leg in the opposite direction, giving you kind of an S shape (see the picture to get a better idea). You can even start separating the wire pieces of the legs here if you want, or you can wait until it's all put together to do it.
- Cut another 24 inch piece of wire, fold it in the middle and loosely twist the two sides together. Then bend the wire into a gentle U shape. This is going to act as the other two legs of the candlestick. Take the stem/leg piece of wire and look for a small gap toward the center that you can feed the U shaped wire through.
- Use hot glue to join the pieces. Once the glue has dried, start separating the wire pieces that make up the legs to give you the look of separate points on the antlers. I used wire cutters to make a couple pieces shorter than the others. I also used some wire scraps to create short points on the stem and a couple of the legs. Trim the legs so they’re all the same length and use hot glue where needed to make the piece stable.
- Dip a piece of newspaper into the paste and wipe off the excess. Gently wrap the newspaper around the neck of your candlestick, pulling it as tight as you can without bending your antler. Then work your way down until you’ve covered the entire piece. Let dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Add your next layer and continue adding layers, focusing more heavily on the stem of the candlestick and gradually tapering off at the legs, until your stem is about ¾ inch in diameter. Let dry.
- Take your taper candle and hold it up to the top of your candlestick to figure out how wide your stem needs to be. Add another couple of layers of newspaper until you reach the proper diameter, then wrap a few pieces of newspaper around the very top of the candlestick, leaving an opening for you to put your candle in. Let the whole thing dry overnight.
- Once your piece is completely dry, add a couple coats of spray paint, letting it dry slightly in between coats.
And here's another view of the 'after' for ya...
So what do you think? Are you riding on the faux taxidermy fan bus or are you hoping you'll never have to see it ever again (in which case, thanks for reading this far. You're a trooper)?