Tanning is the process of curing and preserving an animal's hide. A tanned hide can be used for many things, including decoration, or it can be sewn together into rugs and garments. One of the easiest tanning methods is to use salt water in a small bucket. This methods works best for a small hide, such as that of a squirrel.
Things You'll Need
- Squirrel hide
- Skinning knife
- 5-gallon buckets
- Large plastic spoon
- Resealable plastic bag
- Neatsfoot oil
Use the skinning knife to scrape away any remaining flesh, fat and sinew from the hide. Hold the knife at an angle and drag the edge backwards to avoid piercing the hide.
Pour 5 cups of salt into a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with 1 gallon of water. Stir the mixture to dilute the salt and place the hide in the bucket for 24 hours. Stir the mixture every few hours.
Remove the hide and roll it up, then place it in a resealable plastic bag. Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible. Place the bag in the refrigerator for one week.
Remove the squirrel hide from the plastic bag and rinse it under warm, fresh water.
Stretch the hide with your hands and work it back and forth over a hard, rounded surface to soften it. Continue this process until the hide is soft and pliable.
Lay the hide fur-side up on a flat surface outside in sunlight to dry it. Once dry, repeat the previous step to restore pliability.
Rub Neatsfoot oil, or similar leather preservative, into the skin -- but not the fur -- to protect and soften the hide.
Tips & Warnings
- Be sure to get all flesh, blood and fat off of the skin or bacteria can grow.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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