Buttoned Bucks: DIY Antler Buttons

Rack up the style points by adorning your items with a polished piece of deer antler.

Photo by Queren King-Orozco.

Buttons made from deer antler add a truly authentic, natural vibe to your leather projects. Better yet, these rustic fasteners take just a few minutes to make with ordinary hand tools.

Antlers, a type of bone, adorn the heads of members of the deer family (Cervidae). The most common North American species are white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and caribou, all of which shed their antlers and grow a new set each year.

The parts of an antler are the pedicle, beam, tines, and points. The pedicle is the gnarly knob at the base where the antler attaches to the deer’s skull. The beam is the central shaft of the antler that extends from the pedicle. The tines are the parts that branch out from the beam. The points are the ends of the tines.

Hunt or Gather Supplies

Because regulations for possessing antlers vary from state to state, check your local wildlife regulations before acquiring them. There are several places to get antlers: buy them online, check pet stores (some sell antler pieces as dog chews), call a local knife maker (they use the thicker parts for knife handles and often don’t use the thinner tines), or have some fun by hunting for shed antlers. Deer shed their antlers from late winter to early spring. The best places to look for shed antlers are on game trails and in bedding areas. Get permission before hunting sheds on private land, and check the regulations before taking them from public land.

Photo by Dennis Biswell.

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