When people think of an antler chandelier, many assume this item is only for hunting cabins. However, there are a wide variety of antler chandeliers that can fit in with even modern, minimalist homes, such as the elegant white antler chandeliers. One of the most versatile categories are the chandeliers made from faux antlers, which might surprise you at how great they look in any rustic setting, not just limited to hunting lodges.
What are faux antlers?
Faux antlers (aka fake or reproduction antlers) are synthetic antlers for decorating purposes that are made to look as close to the real thing as possible. They’re molded after a real antler, and are typically made from a plastic resin and then painted and detailed to look nearly identical to the original.
Does harvesting real antlers hurt the deer?
When the topic of reproduction antlers is brought up, it’s understandable that some might think they are made and used to prevent harm to actual deer. Thankfully, this is not the case and harvesting real, naturally-shed antlers for chandeliers and other decor pieces doesn’t harm or affect the deer in any way. Male deer actually shed their antlers each year, so it’s simply a matter of collecting them from the ground once they’ve come off. Cabin Place exclusively uses naturally-shed antlers for all of our authentic antler decor items.
However, it’s worth noting that not all suppliers use naturally-shed antlers for their products, and some actually use antlers from deer killed during hunting season. If you like the look of antler decor but don’t feel comfortable with using antlers from hunted animals, you should look for manufacturers that specify that theirs are naturally shed.
Pros & cons of faux antler chandeliers
So now you might be wondering, “if taking real antlers doesn’t harm the deer, what’s the purpose of these fake antlers?” The answer to that is primarily the functional benefits that having a reproduction version provides. Some of the advantages to having faux antler decor include:
- Much cheaper than real antlers, usually about 50% of the cost
- More durable and long-lasting than genuine antlers
- Plastic resin is much lighter than an authentic antler
- They’re detailed and finished so that guests will never know they’re not real
However, there is a reason that these faux versions haven’t been completely replaced real antlers. Some of the cons of reproduction antlers include:
- They’re made from a mold, so they don’t have the uniqueness that authentic antlers have
- Having unique individual antlers also means that how they fit together will be unique to the product you buy, so no authentic antler chandelier looks quite like another
How are faux antlers made?
Now that we’ve discussed what they are and the pros and cons, how are these reproduction antlers made? We know they’re made from resin, but how does the process work? Before you can do anything, you need to start with a high-quality set of real antlers from a deer, moose, elk, etc. From there, the steps are:
- First, a release agent is then applied to the antlers so that the following steps remove easily.
- A thick coat of rubber is applied to all surfaces to preserve the texture of the small ridges, beading, and vein channels that give each antler its character.
- Once the first layer is hardened, additional coats of thicker rubber are applied on top to create the interior of the mold that will be used for pouring.
- To give the mold more strength and rigidity, a fiberglass jacket is then applied to the outside of the rubber.
- The jacket is carefully trimmed, drilled, and cleaned to prepare for removing the mold without damaging the original antler rack inside.
- The fiberglass jacket is then delicately separated into two halves, a top and a bottom.
- Now that the fiberglass is removed, we can carefully cut open and remove the rubber part of the mold from the real antler, making sure not to scratch or damage it.
- With both the rubber and fiberglass pieces of the mold separated from the original antler, we can place the rubber piece into the fiberglass jacket and bolt them back together.
- The mold is then held/hung upside down (points down) and a plastic resin is poured into it.
- Once the resin has hardened, the fiberglass jacket is removed, and then the rubber mold (both of which will be used again to create copies of this piece).
- The reproduction is inspected and cleaned to ensure the quality of the item.
- Because the resin is white, the final step is to painstakingly color and detail the antlers. This typically involves using the original antler as a guide to hand paint and detail the antler to look just like the real thing.
How does this change your chandelier?
As we mentioned in the pros and cons, many of the benefits of faux antlers are actually the functional aspects. Not only will reproductions last longer and resist wear and tear better than an authentic antler chandelier, but being lighter gives you much more flexibility in terms of where you can hang it. All this for a lower price tag means that you can get a beautiful antler chandelier that’s easier to manage and looks just as stunning as its authentic counterpart.