How to Tan a Snake Skin

By Abaigeal Quinn
How to Tan a Snake Skin
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Tanning is the easiest way to preserve and condition a snake skin. It allows the skin to retain its natural shape and colors, making it easier to work with when adding it to knives, belts or hatbands. Because tanning snakeskin doesn't fade the colors the way drying may, you will not need to paint the skin for it to be a bright and attractive display piece for your collection. Thoroughly clean your snake skin of all meat and fat before beginning the tanning process.

Step 1

Add equal parts of the denatured alcohol and pure glycerin in a sealable jar that is deep enough to fully submerge a rolled snake skin in. Glycerin can be found in drug stores and denatured alcohol in hobby shops and most hardware stores. A glass jar works well because you can keep an eye on the skin to make sure it remains submerged in the solution while tanning.

Step 2

Roll the snakeskin and submerge it in the glycerin solution. Don't roll the skin too tightly so as to allow the solution to fully penetrate the skin.

Step 3

Seal the container tightly and allow it to soak for three days. Mix up the solution once a day with the long, wooden spoon, being careful not to damage the skin. Ensure that the skin is still fully submerged and reseal the container.

Step 4

Take the skin out of the container on the third day and rinse it well under lukewarm water.

Step 5

Lightly scrape the inside of the skin with the sharp knife to remove any membrane that has loosened during the soaking process.

Step 6

Lay the snakeskin out on a board or flat surface with the flesh side up.

Step 7

Use the soft paintbrush or your fingers to lightly coat the flesh side with an additional layer of glycerin.

Step 8

Hang the skin indoors, away from the sun, so it can air dry for 24 hours.

Step 9

Remove any remaining glycerin oil by blotting the skin with the soft cloth.

About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.