How to Make Clothing Out of Deer Hide

deer image by Joan Stanton from

Those who hunt deer for meat and sport often believe in using as much of the deer as possible. This includes the skin, or hide, which can be used to make rugs, tents, clothing and other commodities. Tanning a deer hide to fashion clothing is no small undertaking. This task requires a considerable amount of time and a substantial list of materials.

Lay the deer hide on a sawhorse and use the long-bladed knife to remove all the flesh from the skin. Take care to remove all the flesh, as the hide does not tan in areas with leftover tissue.

Remove the hair from the deer hide to make it easier to create clothing. Combine 2 lbs of slaked lime, 1 gallon of hardwood ashes and 5 gallons of water in an empty garbage can. Stir the mixture until dissolved and immerse the deer skin, stirring two or three times a day for two to three days, until the hair easily comes off.

Place the hide on the sawhorse, hair side up. Remove the hair using the back of a knife blade, then rinse the deer skin in clean water.

Mix 2 quarts vinegar with 10 gallons of water in the garbage can. Soak the hide in this mixture for 24 hours, stirring once every few hours. Following this, empty the garbage can and soak the deer hide overnight in only clean water.

Dissolve 1 lb of alum in 1 gallon warm water in a bucket. While doing this, dissolve 2 1/2 lbs of salt in 4 gallons of water in the empty garbage can.

Pour the alum mixture into the salt water mixture in the garbage can and stir to combine them.

Soak the deer hide in the garbage can for six to eight days, stirring twice a day.

Remove the deer hide and allow it to drain before rinsing it under running water for 15 minutes.

Tack the hide to a piece of plywood while it is still wet. Store it out of the sun and allow it to dry almost completely.

Rub both sides of the deer hide with a thin layer of warm baby oil. Use a cloth to remove any excess.

Moisten a cloth and use it to dampen, but not wet, the deer hide. Soften the skin by rubbing the hide over the saw horse, applying baby oil sparingly.

Rub fine grit sandpaper over the entire deer skin to smooth it.

Cut out the pattern pieces for your chosen item of clothing and tack them onto the finished deer hide.

Cut the pieces out of the skin and sew them together according to the pattern directions to create your article of deer hide clothing.