How to Build a Deer Head Wall Plaque

antlers on white image by Michael Drager from

Things You'll Need

  • High grade, one-inch thick plywood
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • jigsaw
  • sandpaper
  • tack cloth
  • wood stain
  • paintbrush
  • varnish
  • router

A professionally made taxidermy plaque often costs as much as $50 or more, regardless of whether you intend to mount only antlers, a European mount or a whole deer cape. To offset these costs and save money for other taxidermy services, you can build your own wall plaque for less than $50 using basic carpentry tools. This woodworking project should require less than one day to complete, depending on design specifications and finishes you apply to the plaque.

Measure the European deer skull or the back of the deer cape mount to determine a necessary size for the plaque. Measure both the length and width of the piece and add a minimum of three inches to each measurement, as you will need at least that to provide a border for the deer mount.

Use the measurements from the previous step to draw a plaque outline onto the sheet of plywood. Use a high-grade plywood at least one-inch thick to produce a quality mounting plaque for your deer heads. Draw the outline for the plaque using a pencil. You might add decorative edges to the layout, but try to make each side of the plaque symmetrical, if desired.

Cut the plaque board out from the plywood sheet using a jigsaw. A jigsaw, unlike other saws, allows you to more easily cut curves and maneuver large, flat boards like plywood.

Sand the edges and chosen front side of the plaque to remove rough and sharp spots. Wipe the plaque down with a tack cloth to remove the dust created from sanding before you start applying finishes to the plaque.

Coat the front and sides of the plaque with your color choice of wood stain. If you choose to stain the wood, apply at least two coats, allowing drying time between each coat. Add more coats as necessary to achieve the desired colors.

Allow the final coat to dry before applying a coat of varnish to protect the wood from damage. Apply one or two coats as necessary, allowing drying time after each coat.

Turn the plaque over onto its front and use the router to create a hole in the back to use when mounting the plaque on your walls. Work carefully and slowly to avoid boring a hole completely through the plaque.


  • Before staining and varnishing, consider mitering the edges of the plaque with a router to create a decorative look.