How to Make a Bear Skin Rug

How to Make a Bear Skin Rug. Going on a bear hunt is a total adrenaline rush. Taking a bear is an even bigger thrill. Once the bear is down, quick action is necessary for turning this big game animal into a freezer full of meat and a beautiful bear skin rug to display in the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Skinning knife
  • Salt
  • Freezer paper
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Taxidermy supplies
  • Polyester fiber fill
  • Airbrush or paint brushes
  • Sewing machine or leather hand-sewing materials
  • Rug padding
  • Rug felt

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Skin the bear immediately, removing as much fat and flesh as possible. Take care removing the skin around the face and claws. Cut out the foot pads, remove the toe bones up to the claws, split the lips and eyelids and turn the ear inside out to prevent spoilage.

Add 20 lbs. of salt to the skin for every 300 lbs. of bear if the hide will be stored until tanned. Turn the hide hair side in and store in a freezer up to 6 months.

Send the bear hide out for professional tanning through a taxidermist or tannery.

Order taxidermy supplies while waiting for the tanned bearskin: bear eyes, nose, ear liners, artificial claws (if desired), skull form or rug assembly kit, glues and paints.

Make a life-size outline (plus 2 inches) of the tanned bear skin on taped together freezer paper with a permanent marker. Use this pattern for the rug felt and padding.

Stuff the head with the skull form, taking care to shape the mouth, ears, nose and eyes into a realistic form.

Airbrush or stain the inside of the bear's mouth and teeth for an authentic looking head.

Hand sew, machine-sew or hot glue up to 3 inches of rug padding to the bottom of the bear hide. The padding should be the same size as the rug.

Match the felt layer (or layers) to the decor of the room. Cut one layer of felt, an inch larger than the rug and attach to the padding. Cut another layer of felt in a contrasting color, 2 inches larger than the rug, and attach to the first layer of felt.

Allow the bearskin rug to properly dry and cure in a safe place for several days. Display the rug on a wall or in front of the fireplace to enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store the hide in burlap or game bags until ready to tan; plastic bags slip the hair from the hide.
  • Skip the hard form and stuff the head with fiber fill for a softer bearskin rug pillow; this option eliminates the need for face parts and formation.
  • Clean the bearskin rug with water only; dry cleaning solvents will dry out the hide.
  • Replenish the rug periodically with tanning oil to keep it soft and supple.
  • Walk barefoot on a bearskin rug; high heels can puncture the soft hide.
  • Store the bearskin rug in a bundle; rolling it up can cause cracking at the folds.
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