How to create your own trophy head

The other day my mother sent me an email with a picture of a small trophy head made of polystyrene. She liked that piece but on her walls a small trophy head of 10 x 10 inch would look lost. I wanted to make one by myself to give it to her but in the end the trophy stayed with me xD.

Since it was Sunday and stores were closed I had to look for tools and supplies at hand. I didn’t enjoy the idea of using polystyrene. It is difficult to handle and leaves a lot of annoying white pellets that stick statically to everything close by.  So I decided to use some light-weighed, inexpensive materials. Recently inspired by some online up-cycling projects of various designers and artists I checked my kitchen where I found an old wooden cutting board – my perfect trophy head board. I tried to remove all the stains. But wood is not a forgiving material: It easily soaks up high pigmented substances like the juice of peppers or beetroot.  A combination of lemon juice and sunlight is great to bleach the stubborn stains a little bit to make sure they will not shine through when colouring the wooden board. I had no time for this, so I just scrubbed until I thought it is fine.

While choosing the material for the deer head I came across two empty plastic bottles of laundry detergent. I read a lot about recycling plastic and the difficulties that come along with its processes. The best way to recycle plastic is to use it the way it is. Plastic or synthetics exist in more than 100 different types of chemical structures. Some can be easily recycled at low cost as they are homogenous and, therefore, used in construction and packaging industries. About 85% of industrial and domestic synthetic waste will be burned. It is an efficient way to produce energy instead of investing in an expensive process of  separating synthetic materials that consist of various types of plastic.


After cleaning the cutting board and the bottles, I cut one bottle diagonally to create the neck. To fix it in the centre of the trophy board I used hot glue. For the head piece I removed the handle and  neck of the bottle.


But to match the pieces  I had  to widen the lower hole of the handle to put the head on the neckpiece. Again I used my hot glue gun – we became best friends during this project.


This construction is pretty robust. The next step is to colour the board and leave it to dry.

I liked the idea of a soft coat for the trophy. Whereas I have a thing for sewing and doing handcrafts with fabrics I had access to some leftover brown felt. The following step was tricky and took a lot of time and patience. The best way of sticking the felt to the head and neck is to fix the felt as one piece at the top of the neck and start from there to cut the felt exactly matching to the next area you want to glue it to. This way the fabric will not overlap or buckle. Leave out the little areas where your deer horns will be attached to. They will be better fastened to the plain bottle.

With the remaining felt I created the ears and eyelids. The eyeballs are made of a polystyrene ball cut in halves. If you can’t find anything that works as eyeballs, sew some out of an old white t-shirt or use paper.

After the trophy was all perfect, the last thing I had to do was to fix the horns at the head. A friend of mine once gave me branches of a corkscrew or dragon’s claw willow, which I thought were pretty but I had no use for. They were perfect for the trophy head! With hot glue I attached them to the areas at the sides I had left without felt before. After I covered these spots with felt, the trophy head was finally done.


With two screws connected by a wire and a scarf around its neck it now hangs on the wall of  our living room – a funny eye-catcher for visitors.

I hope you guys like the tutorial. Feel free to add comments or questions!