So you want to mummify somethingI have been meaning to write this up and I am finally, finally doing it. Consider this a sort of rough draft until I get a good image of one of my mummies for the thumbnail!
As a collector of mummies both found and made, this is one of my largest hobbies aside from skulls and photography and art. It's a rather basic hobby and employs just a little common sense. So this tutorial won't be very long.
The first part will cover mummies you may have found. The second part will cover mummies you may want to make.
I found a mummy! Now what?
So you found a mummy and want to keep it. Or maybe you want to make it cleaner to sell it. Great! (if you want to sell it, contact me and give me first dibs! lol)
The first step I usually do is dust that thing off and out. This requires some brushes, somethings to scrape or poke with, and a can of bottled air that you usually us
Tutorial cleaning bones PART 1
So you have a raw skull or bone. This means the bone or skull still has flesh/meat on it. There are several ways to get it clean. Some of which I may forget to mention even.
STEP 1: getting the bones free of flesh
Choices: water, bugs, range cleaning, and sweating
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MACERATION or SIMMERING-
Macerating means soaking them in water. Put the raw bones in warm water, you can use the summer sun, a heat lamp, a fish tank heater, etc. to keep the water warm. Change half the water every 3 to 5 days until no more flesh and meat is attached. I've also had luck in not changing the water at all. You want to keep some bacteria and give them room to keep multiplying. You do NOT need to add any other cleaner to this mixture, the bacteria of rotting meat and guts is enough.
Some are tough and may take longer. The firs
Tutorial cleaning bones PART 2
Ok, here is STEP 2 which deals with degreasing. If your bones or skulls still have meat on them see STEP 1 again.
STEP 2: getting the bones free of grease
Choices: Dawn, acetone, ammonia...
NOTE ON BLEACH: it is really NOT a choice here. I made this mistake once and I can tell you from experience it de-calcifies bone and makes them start to flake and become soft and mushy.
And the grease? It is STILL THERE.
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DAWN with "bleach alternative"-
The bleach alternative in this dish soap is actually just a whitening agent much like peroxide, it is not actually bleach.
You need warm or hot water. Ideally you want it between 95 and 120 degrees F. Any hotter and I have been told you can cool the grease right into the bone.
You will need a bucket or tub of some kind. Squeeze out a bit of dish soap into there, like you ar
Tutorial cleaning bones PART 3
Ok, here is STEP 3 which deals with whitening. If your bones or skulls still have dark spots on them see STEP 2 again or read on.
If your bones or skulls still have dark spots in/on them this is grease. Sometimes a soak of whitening and then returning to STEP 2 will help loosen the grease so you can try step 2 again now or do a short version of step 3 to shock the grease and then return to step 2 (step 3 will need to be revisited).
Some people refer to whitening as "bleaching" but bleach has nothing to do with the process! What you need to use is Hydrogen Peroxide. A 24hour soak in the stuff should be enough to whiten your bones. Various people here have various rules on the time but you don't want to soak it longer than a few days.
HP can be reused so if the stuff is still foaming when I take the bones out, I re-bottle it. It does tend to have a short shelf life but if there's foam, it's still
Tutorial cleaning bones PART 4
There are a few ways to do this.
As bought here. That $26 goes a very very long way so if you plan on sealing a lot of bones or other organics it is well worth the money.
Paraloid is resin-like little nuggets. Soak half a handful in a glass jar of acetone until the chips or nuggets have thoroughly been "melted". The nuggets to acetone ratio depends on how thick or thin you want the solution to be.
You will need a hair painting brush you don't care about; it can't be a cheap plastic brush, the acetone will melt it too. Also, some alumminum foil and make a little platter for the bones you will seal; this is to catch any spills or drops.
First, test how thick the mixture is by dipping your brush into the jar and painting a line on the foil: watch it "dry" (actually the acetone is evaporating and leaving the resin behind)