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Learn expert way to collect for free!
Firstly, id like say that im an AMATEUR Bug Collector. Most this stuff i learned from books or internet, & adjusted it to my cheap budget. You can do some research of your own, for better quality job...but it works for me. ;)
I have a deep love & fascination for bugs, & i use them as inspiration/reference in my artwork. So collecting them seemed natural to me. Bug Collecting has been a popular hobby since Victorian times.
I'll try to answer any questions/problems you have. THIS PROJECT FOR ADULTS ONLY!! (Bc of difficulty & use of chemicals!)

Posted by DarkAshHurts Published See DarkAshHurts's 112 projects »

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 1
    Step 1

    To Collect bugs you need:
    + a "Killing Jar" (to safely kill insects)
    + a "Spreading Board" (to spread wings & pin them)
    + a Display Box (to display them)
    Im going to show you how to do all this, SO simply & for free!!! With stuff from around your house! :D

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 2
    Step 2

    First you make a "Killing Jar" to expire the insect.
    You will need: Glass Jar with tight lid (mines an old spagetti sauce jar), cottonball, rubbing alcohol, cardboard (mines a cereal box).

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 3
    Step 3

    Dab a cottonball with 'rubbing alcohol', & place it in the jar.
    ** The alcohol is your 'killing agent'. It will paralyze & eventually kill the insect. There are harsher, more effective chemicals you can use, but theyre harder to find. These chemicals are: ethyl-acetate, cyanide, or tetrachloride

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 4
    Step 4

    Next, cut a round piece of cardboard, about the same circumference as the inside of the jar ....Place it inside the jar, on top of the cottonball.
    **This keeps the bug from touching the wet chemical which can damage or discolor it.**

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 5
    Step 5

    Go outside & Catch A Bug!!! This is the funnest part!
    I recommend using a net, or you can damage the bug. Especially butterflies/moths, whos wings lose color "scales" from contact.
    *Cheap Way: Use a old fish-aquarium net, like i do! ...HEY It Works!

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 6
    Step 6

    Place bug inside the Killing Jar, & close lid tightly.
    Set it aside & come back in hour or more.
    **The alcohol will eventually kill the poor bug. (faster, if u use a harsher chemical)
    Say your sorry, pray, cry ...if it makes u feel better. lol

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 7
    Step 7

    **Within 3 days you HAVE to spread/pin the bug while its soft.**
    Heres my "Spreading Board" (see pic). Mine is made from thick cardboard, which i cut small slits into, to sit the insects body in.
    Also cut small thin strips of paper to hold down the wings. & get some sewing pins.
    ** Watch a quick video (not mine) on pinning here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFacqZ9CM4w

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 8
    Step 8

    You could buy stupid expensive Pins to pin your bugs, but why??
    Cheap Way: I use regular sewing pins! & for the ones in the insect, I just bite the end balls off. lol It works perfectly!

  • Step 9

    (Now for most difficult parts)
    Place bug body in crevice of S-board & pin it thru its middle thorax ...trying not to ever touch the bugs wings. Pin it firmly to the board also.
    **This is extremely hard for butterflies, who die with wings closed up. Takes patience. (For pics i am using a moth; much easier.)**

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 10
    Step 10

    + Pin one end of paper-strip above the wings.
    + Use a extra pin to easily drag wings up & out (do not pierce wing! Be very gentle). Once theyre mostly out, lay strip ontop of them, holding wings down with finger overtop strip.
    + Use the pin to contine to position the wings where you want them, (never touch wings with ur hands!).
    + Once satisfied, hold in place, & pin the paper tight on the other end.
    **This really just takes practice, its very annoying & difficult ...you will curse at some point. >.< **

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 11
    Step 11

    Repeat for other wing.
    Once you have them lookin good...
    Set board somewhere safe to dry out insect, for at least a week.

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 12
    Step 12

    Heres a side view. :)

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 13
    Step 13

    You do the same for other bugs with wings ...like grasshoppers, dragonflies, etc.
    On hard bodied bugs (like the bumblebee in my pictures & beetles) you can just use pins to position legs, antenna, wings... without the paper strips!. Just move it in place with pin, & stick the pin next to it.

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 14
    Step 14

    *Once dry, the bugs become extremely fragile & break easily!*
    . anywho..a week later...
    Carefully remove the holding strips, & lift the bug out by the pin.

  • How to make a misc. Bug Collecting/Pinning - Step 15
    Step 15

    Pin your new specimen to a Display Box, & your done!
    (Learn to make a awesome Bug Display Box in my tutorial here!: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/bug-display-case )

  • Step 16

    ALTERNATE WAY: (someone asked me about this)
    If you find a DEAD BUG that you like, you might be able to pin it also.
    If it hasnt been dead too long, it can be re-hydrated to become soft & managable again.
    All you do is stick it into a killing jar with WATER instead of alcohol on cottonball. Within 2 days, it will get soft again. ...then you do the same pinning process! (if it ever smells, i wouldnt use it tho eww)

Made this project? Share your version »


CO + K User

Thanks so much for this, I have butterflies and bees and all sorts of insects that naturally die on my window sill. I have this beautiful orange butterfly that died on my tin I store safety pins and have left it there not knowing what to do with him.
Hella · Rotterdam, South Holland, NL · 60 projects
I just prepared a butterfly. I tried a moth too, but it broke. I must collect more bugs, he's a little lonely. Thanks for the tutorial. It was really helpful!
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
That's awesome. Happy Your Welcome!
Raven Beauty
Raven Beauty · Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, ZA · 12 projects
I love this project Happy I totally agree that killing them sucks, but they're just so interesting and real marvels of nature Happy Just wish I could find some decent looking butterflies in winter
scabs · Seattle, Washington, US
i have found a lot of dead butterflies in glass at thrift stores, especially in the figurine section. killing them is really wrong and dumb, if you really need them and you feel bad about killing them, you should buy "used" ones.
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
I have never seen them in thrift stores (or anywhere) around. If i did, & they were cheap, i would buy them. But why do that when u can do it for free.
If its so "wrong and dumb", then where do u think those "used" bugs came from? some one killed them too. I dont feel that bad about it, bc most bugs r going to die within a month anyway, & none of them r endangered. Like i said before, how i kill them is probably more human then how they would die naturally.

CO + K User

i put mine in the freezer so that they induce hibernation before i put them in my jar then they dont freek out as much ( mostly grass hoppers and the really juttery ones ) { l }
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
thats a good idea. My grandmother puts them in the freezer also.
Princess Pam-attitude
Princess Pam-attitude · Pocatello, Idaho, US · 332 projects
I'd love to try this if I ever could catch a butterfly Happy I totally agree about it being the most humane way they might die. If your going to appreciate them and they aren't endangered, I don't see the problem. We do way worse things to the animals we consume.
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
thanks! Maybe u could catch a moth instead to practice. lol theyre pretty easy to catch around lights at night. ;)
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
Actually now that i think about it, me killing them this way is probably the most humane way they would ever die. They most likely get stuck on car windsheilds/grills, bug-zappers, fly-swatters, drown in pools/ponds, get eaten by birds/animals. lol
BTW insects DO NOT feel pain anyway, bc they have no spines or central nervous system. Thought id point this all out. ...Thanks to the people that enjoyed my tutorial tho, hope to see ur collections!!
Bat Ma'am
Bat Ma'am · Seattle, Washington, US · 13 projects
What's sad is how few people think about the mice who suffer and die so YOU can have longer lasting lipstick, or the fish who die so YOU can have sparklier nail polish, not to mention the pigs who die for bacon, and chickens who die for nuggets, etc. But a scientific and museum-like display of a few BUGS is offensive??? REALLY?????
I think this project is AWESOME, and I will be creating a display with my sons. Happy thanks for sharing Happy
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
Thank You!!!! Im vegetarian, so i think the same thing! (Thats why i feel bad when i kill them tho, for people who asked.)
There are VERY FEW protected species of bugs ...& there r more bugs in one species, then there are people on the planet anyway! LOL idk why everyones so upset. You kill them in your house, dont u? Id just rather admire & appreciate them, instead of butchering them with fly swatters & sticky-strips. lol (BTW Butterflies usually only live 2 weeks anyway!)
Maaike · Antwerp, Flanders, BE · 19 projects
well.. this is quite horrible...
LollypopLoz · Castle, Wales, GB · 3 projects
I have to ask, if you don't like killing them, why do it at all? You could just watch them, take some photos (using macro), use other people's artwork/research etc to study them, you don't really need to collect them. Plus you have to be careful not to collect protected insects.
DarkAshHurts · 119 projects
I like bug collections, & collecting creepy things. Im sad sometimes killing them bc im vegetarian, & just automatically feel that way. Honestly pictures do not do insects justice, in my opinion. I sorta study them also, & bugs in my area.
There are VERY FEW protected insects. I doubt any of us would ever see those in the wild. There are more bugs in 1 species, then there are people on the planet ...so if everyone did this, it still wouldnt make a dent on their livelyhood. :/
LollypopLoz · Castle, Wales, GB · 3 projects
Ok, if that's how you feel, no biggie. I didn't think it was offensive or that you shouldn't do it as 'Bat Ma'am' seems to think, I was just curious - as to why you would do it if you didn't like doing it - and was trying to be helpful. As for protection, I think it's a bit different here in the UK - there isn't that many native species and almost all of them are in massive decline, and as far as I'm aware, there is a ban on collecting and/or selling collections of them (not sure though). I'm also veggie, and generally try not to kill anything... I don't even like squishing an ant by accident lol!
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