Tutorial-How to Make Antler Curtain Tie Backs

Happy Monday! We are on post number three in our nursery series, and I'm pumped to be sharing this tutorial with you. What seemed like a scary task to begin with (yes, even for me), has turned out to be incredibly easy! 

[If you would like to catch up with us, you can see post number one here, and post number two here.]

Before we hop into the nitty gritty of this tutorial, I want to take a moment to share with you why these are more than just a cool set of curtain tie backs. These tie backs were made using antlers that belonged to my brother. He was an avid hunter, a remarkable human being, and had a heart of gold. Last October, he went out for an early morning hunt on opening day of deer season, and didn't return. My sister was pregnant at the time, so little Lola (whose nursery these are for), never got the opportunity to meet her uncle Corey. It was important to bring a little piece of him into the design, and since he had his fair share of trophies laying around, we decided to work with them. You can imagine my fear when it came time to cut and drill into these guys. This was one project that I could not mess up. 

What You Need:

  • A cheap set of curtain tie backs. I found mine at Ross Dress for Less. They always have them for right around $5 . Don't worry about the looks of the finials (the knob looking baubles on the end), you are going to toss those. Do pay attention to the color though (if they don't have the color you want, you can always spray paint them to match your decor).
  • Antlers.
antler 3.jpg
  • Hacksaw.
  • Vice.
  • 2 Bolts. Remove finials (decorative piece) from tie backs. Take tie backs to the hardware store and find two bolts that will thread nicely into your tie backs (where you just unscrewed the the finials) You want them to be long enough that they can fully thread into the tie back and have an additional 1/4"-1/2" sticking out.
  • Drill.
  • Drill bit that is just slightly larger than your bolts. 
  • Sawzall (optional-but it makes cutting the bolts go much faster).
  • E6000 Industrial Strength Glue (This stuff is by far my favorite adhesive EVER! You should have a tube in your tool box, on your craft table, and in your kitchen junk drawer. Oh, and if you order today before 5pm, you can use coupon code SHIP117 for free shipping). Just click the link.

Instructions:

Once you've gathered all of your supplies, it's time to get shakin'. Start by removing the finials. They should just unscrew. Toss those aside, we are only going to be using the curved part.

Next (if your antlers are still attached to the skull), place one side in the vice and secure. I try to line the right side of the vice up with where I want my cut to be so that I can use the side of the vice for a guide as I cut. That way you have a nice clean surface to work with when you go to drill your holes.

Using a hacksaw, cut the antlers away from the skull. 

Once both sides are free, set antlers aside. Place screw in the vice with the head sticking out. You are going to cut that baby off! This is where you can use a sawzall (reciprocating saw) to speed things up if you'd like (if you have one), and if you want to shake yourself silly. If not, don't worry. The hacksaw will work, it just takes a while to saw all of the way through the bolt.

After you have cut the heads off of both bolts, set them aside. Grab your antlers and place one in the vice, with the flat, cut side, facing up. 

Next, insert drill bit (just slightly larger than the diameter of your bolts) into your drill.

Find the center of your antler, and drill straight down approximately 1/2".

Grab your tie backs, and the two bolts that you just cut the heads off of, and thread the factory edge of the bolt (the end you did NOT cut) into the tie back. You should have between 1/4"-1/2" sticking out.

Check to make sure that your bolt will fit into the hole you just drilled. You want to be sure it is both wide enough and deep enough. This is also where you are going to want to grab that wonder glue I was telling you about.

Place a blob of glue into the hole in the antler and slowly push the bolt into the hole. Then find a safe place for your tie back to dry. This isn't hot glue so you'll have time to work with it, but you want to be sure that the antler is positioned in a way that looks appealing to you when the flat side of the tie back is fastened to the wall.

Very important side note:

Before I made these I always wondered why the ones I've seen in pictures are curved out toward the room and not back toward the wall. I thought I would change things up and do it a little differently, but I soon learned that there is a very good reason for the direction of the antler...if it curves toward the wall, there isn't enough clearance for the curtains to pass through! Don't make this mistake! I was lucky enough to hold it up and eyeball it before I made the decision to glue it the wrong way. 

Installation:

Your ties backs should come with drywall anchors and screws in the package. If you are like me, you hate it when you open a package and see those guys staring back at you. I don't know why, but I used to be so scared to use them. Probably because I wasn't quite sure how to use them. That's why I'm working on another tutorial that I'll send out to everyone on my email list in the very near future. I'll show you just how easy it is to use those little jobbers. If you want to be sure that tutorial lands in your inbox, just pop your email address in the box below.

Well, that's all I've got for ya today folks. I hope you are able to use this tutorial to whip up some super cool antler tie backs of your own. And please, be sure to ask your hubby before you go cutting into his prized rack. 

Have questions? Please ask away in the comments below.