How to Paint Cow Skulls

skull image by Zoltán Pataki from

A painted cow skull makes an excellent addition to any Western home decor. Cow skulls are easy to paint on and care for, and the skull will last for many years if you care for it properly. Skulls are available from a local butcher or farmer or from online retailers. Using a large skull with few imperfections or breaks will help make painting the design on easier.

Choose a cow skull that has been treated and bleached to remove any remaining skin or hair. Bleached skulls are safe and more attractive for use in painting.

Draw a design on the forehead and nose area of the skull with a pencil. This provides a template for the paint and will help you practice a design before starting to paint it.

Paint with acrylic paints and a paintbrush to create the design you drew in pencil. Paint in a well-ventilated area or outside so that the fumes dissipate.

Allow the paint to dry for 24 to 48 hours in a well-ventilated area. Do not touch the paint until has dried, as it may smear and affect your design.

Spray or paint the cow skull with a clear coat of varnish to protect the paint and the skull from chipping and sun damage. Reapply the varnish once a year to protect the skull's paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Cow skull
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clear varnish



About the Author

Bailey Shoemaker Richards is a writer from Ohio. She has contributed to numerous online and print publications, including "The North Central Review." Shoemaker Richards also edits for several independent literary journals and the Pink Fish Press publishing company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Ohio University.

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