In this paper, a smart skin, i.e. a conformal load-bearing antenna structure, which is a multi-layer sandwich structure composed of carbon/epoxy, glass/epoxy and dielectric material, designs, analyses, fabrications and tests are conducted. Mechanical properties of each structural layer of the designed smart skin are obtained from experimental tests. Tests and analyses are conducted to study the deformation behavior of the smart skin under compressive loads. The measured data are compared with the numerical results from geometrically linear/nonlinear finite element analyses. Numerical prediction for the buckling load of the smart skin agreed well with the experimental data.