Hello! Welcome to your butterfly and moth pinning kit!
Entomology is a fascinating hobby and learning to preserve and pin your own specimens is a great way to get started with making your own natural history and art pieces featuring insects!
Step 1 - Relaxing your specimen
Your beautiful specimen has been dried in a folded position to protect its delicate wings, to allow us to unfold it without breaking it we need to "relax" it by rehydrating it. First we need to mix ten drops of the anti-fungal fluid from the small dropper bottle with 50ml of water and then gently pour the mixture over the paper towels in the bottom of your rehydration tub.
You can then gently place your specimens, still inside their paper wraps (the paper will protect the delicate wings from direct contact with the towels but still allow them to become hydrated), seal up the box tightly and leave at warm room temperature for 3-4 days. After this time has elapsed we are ready to check if our specimen is relaxed enough to allow us to unfold the wings.
First remove the lid of your relaxing tub, then remove your specimen and gently unfold the paper. Pick up the specimen by the body - avoid touching the wings as much as possible. You can gauge wether or not it's ready to be opened by gently squeezing the body just under the wing joints - the wings should open slightly as shown below.
If the wings don't move and stay firmly together your specimen needs more time to relax, you can fold the paper back over it and place it back in the relaxing tub for another day or two.
If you feel that your specimen is adequately relaxed to allow you to open it then you can move on to the next step!
Step 2 - Opening and Pinning Your Specimen
Before opening your specimen let's prepare the pinning board.
On one side of your board you'll notice two narrower channels, on the other one wider and deeper channel, the side you should select should be the one that has channels which fit your specimens body snugly but with room to have it fully within the channel, leaving the wings above. If you purchased standard kit with two butterflies then side with the two smaller trenches should be used, if you purchased our deaths head or atlas moth kit the side with the one large trench should be used.
Once you have decided which side will work best for you take two strips of tracing paper, and four pins and pin your paper at the top of the channel, then fold them back out the way, as shown below.
You're now ready to pin your specimen!
First take one of the larger pins, gently squeeze the body to open the wings and push the pin gently through the body, right between the wings and out the underside of the insect, then place the body of the specimen into the trench in the board and push the pin down into the board below, leaving some of the pin protruding above the butterfly as show below.
Now take your tweezers and gently grip one of the top wings near its top outer edge and very slowly lower it down to the board, at this point you can select the position - you may want to pull the wing gently up towards the head, or allow it to remain in the position it's in.
Once you're happy with the wings position bring the piece of tracing paper down over it, while still holding on with the tweezers gently press your finger into the wing over the paper to hold the wing in the correct position and gently remove your tweezers, the wing should stay position as shown below.
Now select three pins and place two of them above the wing - gently press them through the paper and board as close to the wing as possible without piercing it, and place the third just under the first curve of the wing as show.
Now repeat the same on the other side - be careful to pin the wing at the same hight as the one on the other side.
If your specimen has lower wings you can now spread and pin them in exactly the same until all the wings are held down in your desired position as shown - again being careful to make both sides even.
Not your specimen is pinned in position you can leave them somewhere dry, at room temperature and out of direct sunlight to dry out. This will take about 4 days. When your specimen is dried you can gently remove the pins from around it, lift the paper away and lift it up using the pin in the centre.
Step 3 - Displaying your specimen
Now your specimen is dried it's ready for long term display and storage. There is many ways to store and display your piece - you can pin them to a foam board, use a riker frame or mount them in a traditional frame using adhesive. To do this you'll need to remove the pin from the centre. Sometimes the pin can be slightly stuck, the best way to free is is gently grip your specimen by the underside of the body and slowly rotate the head pin clockwise then anti-clockwise until it loosens, then start to pull up gently while still twisting as shown below.
Once your specimen is free from the pin you can use hot glue or to attach it to the back board of the frame in your desired position. It's a great idea to measure the centre and place a small dot there to help you get your specimen in the middle, or alternatively you can mount a few specimens in one frame. You can also attach some attractive paper to the back board before attaching your butterfly. We've left some examples below of various ways in which you can mount your piece!
If you have any further questions or need any other assistance please don't hesitate to get in touch with us, you can contact us via the contact form of the website, on our Facebook page, or via email! We would also LOVE to see your finished specimens so remember to tag us on Instagram and/or Twitter, or share them on our Facebook page!