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Insect Designs has been on the Internet since 2003. We are currently the largest supplier of quality insect specimens in Australia, and we ship worldwide. This blog features the latest news from our store as well as the occasional interesting news we have uncovered about the wonderful world of bugs.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to Relax Butterflies

Relaxing butterflies has nothing to do with putting on some nice music and putting a nice pot of flowers on the table. However, it has everything to do with preparing dried specimens ready for spreading.

So you've bought some butterfly specimens. Now what? Before you can play around with them you need to relax them, making everything supple again so nothing breaks off when you try to set the specimen into the desired position.

There are lots of ways of relaxing specimens, and everybody tends to stick to whatever works best for them. Below is the method that I use. It's quick, easy and works.

Step 1
Fill a dish with boiling water. Dip the antennae into the hot water for a few seconds. Be careful not to wet the wings.

Step 2
Using a small syringe, inject the thorax with hot water. I usually keep injecting until water has dribbled out for a few seconds. Be careful not to inject water into the space between the wings.
Place the specimen on a paper towel while you do any other specimens you have.

Have a shallow plastic container already prepared for the specimens. Put a few layers of paper towels inside the container and spray each layer with water until damp (not soaking wet).

Place a dry piece of paper or towel on top of the damp paper towels.

Step 4
Place your specimens on top of the dry  paper or towel.
Put the lid on the container and let your specimens sit for about an hour. I put the container on top of the container of hot water.

Once your specimens have been relaxed, you'll need to pin them out in the position you want and then let them dry again. We'll cover that in another blog post soon.

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