Sustainable Dreams

How to alum tan rabbit hides: Videos from start to finish

There's been alot of buzz online about alum tanning rabbit hides. I decided that since I've been alum tanning successfully that I would make some videos that explains how it's done.

Watch the 2 videos and get the written instructions.

Before you get into using alum, you must know that this method is actually a pickling preservation and NOT a true tan.

Your alum tanned hides will not be water proof and can only be dry cleaned. Should your finished hides get wet, you would need to re stretch and work it to softness just as you did during the process in the first place.

With that being said, this method is what I've been using to craft throw pillows which you can find for sale here on my blog, ebay, and various other places.

What you'll need:
5 gallon bucket or other container.
Aluminum sulfate
Non iodized salt
A blade like exacto knife
A weight that fits in your bucket to weigh the hides down in the solution.

Step 1:
Dissolve 1 cup aluminum sulfate and 1 cup of salt in a couple of cups hot water.
Finish the solution by adding 2 gallons of cold water.

Step 2:
Prepare all of your hides (up to 10) with the flesh side out and add them to the solution. Push every hide down and place a weight on top to keep the hides submerged.

Step 3:
Stir hides around once or twice a day in the solution for air exchange and to be sure all surfaces of the hide are getting exposure.

Step 4:
On the end of the second day in the solution, remove the hides but reserve the solution. Rinse the hides and squeeze the fluid from them.

Whether you choose to open the hide flat or leave it socked, defleshing at this point as long as the flesh has turned white is easier than any other method.

As it shows in the video, start at the neck area of the hide and begin peeling the flesh evenly down. If you watch the video you will see how that's done in 1 piece.

Step 5:
Return defleshed hides back to the solution for another 5 days. Don't forget to stir them at least once a day.

Step 6:
On day 7, remove your hides and discard the solution.
Wash the hides very well using shampoo or dishsoap. Rinse it good because this is the last time you will be able to wash it with water.
Squeeze as much water as you can from them and hang them all on a coat hanger with cloths pins. A cloths line works too but don't put them in the sun.
Drying times vary according to temperature, humidity and airflow.
When your hide is about half dry, begin gently pulling the hide in the dryer areas until it turns white.
You will need to work and stretch your hides on and off until they are completely dry and soft.
Watch the second video for how I do this.
You can also use the back of a wood chair to stretch your hide over as you can see in the video.

Once you've stretched and worked your hides soft, you can store the hanging to keep them with plenty of air flow or ypu can store them in boxes or paper bags. You don't want to store them anywhere that doesn't get air suck as plastic bags. All finished hides need air flow.