Thursday, March 19, 2015
I have a serious case of cabin fever. One beautiful day followed by snow and frigid temperatures here in New Hampshire didn't help. I figured if I can't get outside (without freezing), then I'll create a bit of nature inside.
As you may have noticed, I am a big book lover! My favorite books by far are my Natural History collection. Ornithology. Entomology. Botany. Geology. Okay, so I am a science geek at heart. I was a biology major. Science is cool.
My wonderful husband recently took me to the Harvard Natural History Museum. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! He had to drag me out. I was taken by their collections of insect specimens. I've always loved butterfly specimen displays, but never wanted to make one with real butterflies. This week, I made one with paper!
Looks pretty real, right? I'm not going to say this was an easy project, but it was well worth the time. Here's how I did it:
Paper Butterfly Specimen Tutorial
First, find some butterfly or other insect illustrations online. I used scanned images from my own collection, but you can find plenty of great ones on Pinterest, like this one. Next, grab yourself a glass of wine. You will need a steady hand and lots of patience!
Print your images using the highest quality setting on your printer. I printed mine on cotton paper. Light card stock would work just as well. Now, find your sharpest, pointiest, tiniest scissors and start cutting.
Stay as close to the edge of the image as you can. The trick is to turn the paper, not the scissors. Be extra careful around thin parts, like the antennae. I left those for last so I wouldn't accidentally rip one off while cutting around a wing, like I did. But if that happens, no worries! You can glue it back on, like I did!
Eventually you will have a bunch of pretty insects just waiting to be mounted! For my first specimen box, I mounted the butterflies to a scrap piece of mat board. I didn't happen to have a shadow box around, so I just removed the glass from and Ikea frame.
This is not the best picture, but you can see that I used a glue pen to apply glue to the back of the specimen. Be sure to add a few dots to the antennae (if the exist) or legs (as in the dragonflies, below). I also put a few dots of glue on the wings, just outside the center of the body. This gave the specimens a bit more structure. When the glue was completely dry, I used my fingers to put a gentle curve in the wings, to create the shadow effect. And, voila! I have my very own butterfly specimen box! I did a second one using dragonfly images!
What do you think? Let me know if you try this! I'd love to see what you create!
Have a happy day!
(disclaimer: no insects were hurt in the making of this blog post!)