Vegan Taxidermy

December 13th, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Home

Can we talk about how much I loathe the taxidermy trend? Never mind, let’s not go there. Suffice it to say that as far as I’m concerned, nothing ruins an otherwise stunning decor more than death on display. Yeesh! Who decided that this was attractive?!

It’s hard to ignore a fad so rampant, so rude. And anyways I’m a do-er, not a stew-er! When something bothers me I’m compelled to respond. And nothing says “that’s ridiculous” better than good old fashioned irony. I prefer to poke fun over getting irate . . . much better on the psyche.

So that was the catalyst for this little project, a joint venture between Damian and I. We had a blast working on this and it’s super easy too. We’re planning on making a ton more, if we can just hunt down the heads . . . we may have to go on a stuffed animal safari, ha!

How To Make Vegan Taxidermy

You’ll need:
one stuffed animal (thrift stores are excellent for this)
scissors or exacto knife
staple gun

wood stain
jig saw
sander/sand paper
or you can buy a pre-made mounting plaque, available at craft or trophy stores

1) If you’re making your own mounting plaque, that comes first. The shape is up to you – you can do anything from an oval to a more fancy design. Damian drew this up in Illustrator, but you can Google around for various templates.

Stencil It.

2) Saw It.

3) Sand It.

4) Stain It.

Voila! A plaque! And now, you’ve got your stuffie . . .

5) Decapitate, leaving as much ‘neck’ as possible.

6) Staple it. Begin by securing the lowermost point. Staple from the inside so that it won’t be visible. You’ll be able to do this for the side staples as well, though it may take some finagling and finesse.

The top will have to be stapled from the outside, however the top is above eye level when hung, plus the ‘fur’ hides the staple. Most likely it will not be noticeable.

And that’s it! We went for a more literal look because I couldn’t resist this guy’s horns. It was just too good to pass up! But I think this would be super awesome with pink elephants, Care Bears, and all manner of magical imaginary beasts. A unicorn would be seriously rad.

Quick and easy and just in time for Christmas, this would make a perfect gift!

  • April in Autumn

    So cute! What are you going to do with the rest of that poor guy’s body? There’s got to be someone out there with a creative idea.

  • allison

    Omg. That is absolute genius and possibly one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

  • Meghan

    I’m not sure I could bring myself to decapitate a stuffed animal!

  • erosan

    The title loaded before the image, and when I read it I was expecting a carrot or maybe a cabbage head on the plate.

    But the stuffed bull’s head is kickass too.

  • Kelly H.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this…hmmmm…

    I’m with Meghan though!

  • Kiki

    This one’s not for me, anything that references animal cruelty makes me think of animal cruelty unfortunately. Looks like you had a blast making it though :-).

  • Sayward

    Ooh, interesting conversation! For those of you who are iffy/bothered by this (which I do totally get), do you think you’d feel the same way if it were an obviously-fictional beast . . . say, a green pig or a unicorn, or even something totally nonsensical like a Pokemon? Or is it simply the allusion to taxidermy period, that you find troublesome?

    @ April in Autumn – I can definitely use the stuffing elsewhere, but I’m not sure what to do with the cloth.

  • Janine

    I’m far from vegan but what I cute idea! I don’t think it really is anything like or referencing to cruelty – It sort of reminds me of the joke where there’s an animal head on the wall and the butt end is in another room on the other side of that wall.

    This would be even cuter with a fictional beast though!

    Honestly, I like a pair of antlers on the wall. Is that cruelty? Is it wrong, in your opinion, to decorate with something that could just as easily be left behind after an animal dies of natural cause?

  • Tenise Rae

    AAAHAHAHAH!!!! Okay, this is JUST flippin’ hilarious! OMG!

  • Sayward

    @ Janine – I can only speak for myself of course, but in general I am not comfortable with any sort of real animal decorations, regardless of how they were obtained. I believe that as soon as you turn an animal or its parts into a commodity then you have entered into an inherently exploitative situation. As well, it reinforces the notion that animals are here for our ‘use’.

    Of course there’s always grey areas. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to pick up a crow feather and bring it home, displaying it on your mantel. But if it became trendy for people to decorate with crow feathers (a la the peacock earings a few seasons back), then that would certainly be a problem because there would be an economic demand, which would lead to exploitation.

    But yeah, I don’t just assume someone is evil if they find a pair of antlers in the woods and decide to bring them home. I acknowledge the complexity of the situation.

    Okay, enough animal rights theory! This is a silly post!

  • sarah


    Not because it alludes to animal cruelty (which it doesn’t to me at all), but because it is so perfectly ironic and tongue in cheek. Love it.

  • Annie

    I think it would be awesome idea to do something with your childhood toys that you have no use for, but still can’t seem to throw away. Exhibit A: the 200+ My Little Ponies in my Mum’s garage.
    I see it as a mockery of taxidermy, which happens to be super cute.
    For a school fair once, my friends and I had a stall called “frankenfluffies”, we bought as many of our old stuffed toys as we could carry, removed all ‘limbs’ and ‘heads’, mixed them all up and then sewed them back on randomly using brightly coloured, thick thread. They ALL sold! This would make for a cheap, unique Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Various Religious or non-religious gift-time present!

  • Carolyn

    I FREAKING LOVE THIS. And I will be making one this weekend.

  • Meghan

    I have no problem with it on an intellectual level, but I have a problem with anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, especially cute fluffy ones.

  • Natasja

    taxidermy & antlers, etc have always freaked me out. My Dad & Mum live on a rural property, and my Dad finds things in the paddocks/bush like deer antlers, sheep skulls etc & insists on bringing them home, sitting them on the back fence and letting them bleach in the sun.
    My Mum was initially very against all this stuff, even supporting me when I decided to be vege (which I have since failed miserably at, am still anaemic 4 years later) but since living in rural areas she tells me even though she’s nowhere near a vegetarian she really appreciates & is mindful of where her food comes from (as well as everything, like water, since they have to gather their own) and how it has lived & died, etc.
    I don’t want to start a debate, but I think that it’s so important – whether a choice to be an omnivore or herbivore! to be aware & grateful of where your food, clothes, everything.. comes from.

    ps: @ Annie – I LOVE that idea!

  • Catnip

    We did an awesome craft project at a SF convention last spring – We chopped up bucketfuls of stuffed animals for parts, and then turned the kids loose with embroidery thread and darning needles to make their own Franken-creations. I came home with a penguin-goat-dog and a cat-fish.

  • Minna

    This is seriously the funniest thing I’ve seen over a long time :D Hahhaa!

    I’ve always been bothered by the taxidermy trend, too. *Why* would you want a dead animal in your home?! So I’ve always thought it’d be fun to make them using the papier-māché techinique, like that – ..though this one looks a little real compared to your stuffed animal taxidermy :D

    The only stage that got me bothered was cutting off the head of that cute stuffed cow.

    But anyhow, this is *brilliant*, Sayward! So funny.

  • Rebecca

    Funny and sick all at the same time (and yes, although I am officially an adult and have been for at least 10 years now, I still sort of believe stuffed animals have feelings ; ) kidding..sorta).

    In a semi-related topic, what is your feeling on a bottle opener made out of a SHED antler?

    Although no animals were (supposedly) harmed, would you consider this exploitation? Or that it may perpetuate the desire for other animal-type decorations, etc?

  • Rebecca

    Oh…and I have to share this…too funny (I feel that Bonzai readers are probably into puns and pun-like humor as much as I am:

    Yes kids…they’re NinjaBread Men!

  • Meredith

    We have these Ninjabread men!! My son thinks they’re the best thing to happen to him ever!

  • Meredith

    We have these Ninjabread men cookie cutters!! My son thinks they’re the best thing to happen to him ever!

  • kilo

    Love This! Have you seen Cherry Box Studio’s Plushkill Forest?

  • erosan

    @Rebecca: OMG Want them NOW! They are cool!

    @Kilo & @Sayward 80 freaking bucks for one? Damn! Sayward, you’ve got to add yours to your store and you’ll be rich in no time…

  • Sayward

    @ Annie and Catnip – I love the franken-fluffy idea! I’m totally going to do that with Waits and his posse when they get older.

    @ Rebecca – I’m still uncomfortable with ‘found’ animal parts, because 1) it perpetuates the idea that animal parts are ours to use/desirable/fashionable, and 2) keeping them trendy means that there will be exploitation. Maybe not from that company, but from some other competitor, for sure. It’s the exact same argument against secondhand fur – as long as fur remains fashionable, there will be fur farms.

    So those are my thoughts. =)

    Also, omg I want the ninjabread men!!

    @ kilo – I hadn’t seen those and I LOVE them!!!

  • Teany Tiny Star

    This is adorable!

  • Kate in SB


  • Ms. Polkadot

    A unicorn would be awesome. I totally think I could get my husband on board with this :)

  • ami

    i have a giant stuffed unicorn, but it was a present for my boyfriend and i think he’d decapitate me if i did this to it (not matter how awesome it’d look!). will have to hunt for another one…

  • Kelly H.

    Say: It’s the allusion to taxidermy. Period. I do appreciate and respect your attempt to turn something negative into something light-hearted and funny though. Maybe I’m just too serious for most of this stuff and I do realize I have far too much affection for my stuffed animals! :o)

  • Kristen T.

    I just think it’s a fantastic project :) And I also want to give a shout out to Mr. Tom Waits – Rock’n'Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and all ;)

  • Alisha

    hey sister, i caught that comment about pink elephants. whoa on that one, yo!!!!!

  • Susan

    “What are you going to do with the rest of that poor guy’s body? There’s got to be someone out there with a creative idea.”

    “It sort of reminds me of the joke where there’s an animal head on the wall and the butt end is in another room on the other side of that wall.”

    There you go. ;)