30 June 2014

the spreading board

I have already told you about my experimentation with the killing jar. It is only the first step in the very precise process of insect taxidermy, and now that I feel confident in my ability to use it, I have at last got up the courage to attempt using a "spreading board" -- the next, and highly necessary, insect-mounting step.

To be used while the insect is still soft and pliable--so preferably right after leaving the killing jar--the Spreading Board is for positioning insects so that they dry out the way you want them to. In the case of butterflies and moths, with their wings fully spread out to give an aesthetic shape and to reveal all the markings. My makeshift spread boards are nothing special: merely cardboard and sewing needles, with masking tape and little strips of paper to hold the limbs and wings in place. Not professional, but workable. I plan to invest in a proper one as soon as I can get it (this site has really cheap ones!)

By tomorrow, my specimens should be dry enough to be removed from the board. I'm excited to see how well they turned out! It's yet another step in this practice, and being a hobby that I value, I want to do it correctly. Mounted insects can be beautiful. I want mine to be.

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