How to preserve butterflies for framing

Written by palmer owyoung
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How to preserve butterflies for framing
Framing butterflies is a great way to preserve their beauty. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you love butterflies, one way to preserve their beauty is to frame them. The problem is that they are delicate and easily damaged. The other problem is that they can get dehydrated and brittle quite quickly after they die. To preserve a butterfly's beauty, you will need to first rehydrate it and then gently place it in a picture frame.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Frame
  • Closed container
  • Mouth wash
  • Wire mesh
  • Styrofoam board
  • Plastic piece
  • Butterfly
  • Pins

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  1. 1

    Find a butterfly that you can preserve for framing. Instead of catching live butterflies and killing them for framing, look for dead butterflies, near gardens and wooded areas.

  2. 2

    Create a relaxing chamber for the butterfly. Since the wings of a dead butterfly are tightly closed together, forcefully opening them will break the wings. You have to relax the butterfly so they can be flexible and can be moved without breaking. An airtight container can be used as a relaxing chamber for the butterfly.

  3. 3

    Rehydrate the butterflies in their relaxing chambers. If you are using an airtight container, put four layers of damp paper towels at the bottom of the container. Pour one cap of mouth wash into the container. Cut a wire mesh the same size as that of the airtight container and place it over the damp towel inside the container. Place the butterfly over the wire mesh, and close the container tightly. Let the butterfly stay in the relaxing chamber for at least two days.

  4. 4

    Check that the butterfly's wings are relaxed. If the butterfly has been rehydrated and relaxed, you should be able to move its wings without damaging them. Remove the butterfly from the relaxing chamber and let it dry. Make sure that you pick up the butterfly on its thorax and not on its wings when you are taking it out from the chamber.

  5. 5

    Preserve the butterfly for framing. Take a wide piece of styrofoam about 1 foot across and cover it with waxed paper. Pick the butterfly up by its thorax using a pin. Pin the butterfly on the styrofoam by its thorax. Spread the wings of the butterfly by using a pair of tweezers. The wings should be laid flat on the styrofoam. Put a strip of waxed paper over each wing and pin them. Leave the butterfly in that position for seven days.

  6. 6

    Remove the pins, carefully, from the wings of the butterfly after one week to prepare the preserved butterfly for framing. Do not remove the pin on its thorax. Remove the waxed paper over the butterfly. Pin the wings back again on the styrofoam and slip it into a picture frame.

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