My friends and I got the hide of a whitetail deer from a hunter in North Carolina. The first thing we did to tan the hide was scrape off all the meat and fat from the skin. It is best to do this as soon as you can after skinning the deer. Also the hide has a very very strong smell. So I suggest to stay outside, with your nose plugged.






After we had scrapped off all the flesh and fat. We laid out the hide on a table and rubbed salt in to it. We let this sit for a couple of days adding salt from time to time. Doing this help cure the hide. We then scrapped the hide again to get any fat or flesh we missed the first time. The last picture on this page shows me scrapping with a rotary tool. This worked very well but be warned it puts a lot of salty, fleshy, dust into the air. I don't have any images of the next two steps but they where very easy. First we covered the hide in a pool of vegetable oil. Let that sit a couple of days. The oil seeps in to the hide, turning it transparent. This is when we remove the hide form the oil and put it in a bag of liquid soap. Stirring and kneading the hide from time to time over a couple of days.






When the hide has turned a white color it is time to wash. As you can see in the images, a shower works well. You want to run water over the hide rinsing off extra soap and oil. After you have rinsed the hide. It just needs to be dried. Place the hide in a place to dry. As it dries you well need to move it around on hard edges from time to time. If you don't do this it well dry hard and well not bend.






At this point the hide is now leather and can be used. Using a box knife or a pocket knife you can cut it to the size you need. Nails and hammer can be used in place of leather working tools. We used them to both, stretch drying pieces and to make holes to sow pieces together.






Here are some of the items we made with the leather. The first item is just a framed piece of the leather. The other item here is a coin purse we made as a gift. We also made some other items not shown here. Such as book covers and coin pouches with the hair removed from the leather.