A lot of hunters aren’t aware how easy it is to preserve the game they hunt for trophies to adorn their home. While it is true that many taxidermy jobs are best left to a professional who has years of experience perfecting their art, there are still a number of smaller projects that you can do at home with impressive results. One such project is preserving wings for wall mount accents. Depending on the size and the coloring, preserved wings can make dramatic accents that really help to showcase your prized buck or to fill in space and continue a theme on a wall filled with trophies.

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Turkey Mount - Consumer Files

Preserving bird wings is a very easy process that requires very little in materials. Best of all, you probably already have everything you need at home or can easily get it from your local grocery store or pharmacy. For this method, you will essentially be drying out the wing in order to preserve it using a salt box.

​Gather Your Materials

You’ll need a container that is longer that the length of your bird wing when spread out. You will need one container per wing as there must be sufficient airflow. One of the biggest problems that can impede proper preservation is a lack of airflow. This can lead to residual moisture and encourage mold to develop. This can lead to the wing being damaged or smelling off. We’ll take a look at troubleshooting problems that may arise later in this post.

Shoeboxes work great for smaller wings, though for larger wings you can use a plastic storage tote (keeping the lid off) or a larger cardboard box.​

You will also need salt or borax. Both will thoroughly dry out the bird wing and in about the same amount of time. That said, using borax does have a few benefits that salt does not: it kills off mold and feather lice. However, salt is a more economical choice and can be reused to dry other wings or hides. The choice is up to you.

You may also need strong but flexible wire, which will be explained in the next step.​

Assembling Your Salt Box

Whether you’re using salt or borax, you’ll want to place a good layer in the bottom of the box. At least ½ an inch is ideal. Next lay out your bird wing, spreading it out into the desired position. The bird wing should hold in that position. If it does not, you’ll want to carefully thread your wire through the feathers and wrap it about the wing to hold it into the desired position. Take care that you do not damage the feathers.

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Borax - Consumer Files

Place the wing in the box and now sprinkle a good layer of salt or borax onto the wing. If there is any exposed tissue at the point where the wing was removed from the body of the bird, you’ll want to rub some of the salt or borax into the tissue best you can before covering it with more salt or borax.​

Allow this to sit undisturbed for at least one month, although larger wings may take as long as two months before being thoroughly dry. After you remove the wing from the salt box, brush the salt or borax off of the feathers with a paintbrush. This helps to keep you from coming into contact with the borax as it is mildly toxic to humans. Carefully remove the wire, taking care that you don’t damage any feathers.​

Mounting the Wing

This is by far the easiest part. All you need are a couple of longer thin nails. Hold the wing as you would like it positioned on the wall. Slowly work one of the nails through the feathers so that it comes out through the other side yet so the flat end is under the bone and in the feathers. Pound the nail into the wall and repeat with one or two more nails until the wing is securely mounted onto the wall.

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Mounting Wing - Consumer Files


While this is a fairly simple and straightforward process, occasionally problems can occur. But, these are easily solvable and are no reason to junk the wing and start over.

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Mounting Wing and Turkey Wing - Consumer Files


This can happen if the wing tried too slowly, causing mold to develop. Even though the wing may now be fully dried, the mold will remain and can cause unpleasant odors. This can be solved by placing the wing back into the salt box, and specifically using borax. The borax will kill the mold, reduce smells, and ensure that the preserved wing will last for many years to come.

Drying Too Slowly

This usually happens if there isn’t enough airflow. You can try removing the wing from the salt, mixing it, and then placing the wing back into the box and covering it thoroughly with salt. You can also try removing the wing entirely from the box, sprinkling a good layer of borax onto a flat surface, and then laying the wing upon the borax. Sprinkle a thin but even layer of borax onto the wing and check again in a week or two, depending on the size of the wing.

Feather Mites

These mites naturally occur on birds and don’t present much of a problem as the bird is continually replacing its feathers. On a preserved wing, however, these mites cause irreparable damage. Luckily, these mites can be easily killed using your good friend borax. Replace the wing into your salt box using just borax on and below the wing. The borax will thoroughly kill the mites.

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Conclusion

Preserving Wings for Wall Mount Accents Fan Mount - Consumer Files

Game birds, waterfowl, and turkeys often have beautiful feathers with iridescent color patterns. When properly preserved, these wings can make stunning accents upon your trophy wall, drawing attention to your most impressive trophies and demonstrating their own unique aesthetic. The preservation technique is simple to learn and the materials are readily reusable for future projects. All it takes is a little time and the willingness to try something new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *