Adding To Our Butterfly Collection

Am I the only one who thinks of Will Ferell’s Robert Goulet impression from SNL whenever I hear the word nature? Yes? Anyway, sometimes a little toddler discovery turns into a ten second project (free & fast = my jam) and it makes me smile enough to want to share the goods, so here they are. We’ll call this a tiny Friday update in the name of some “all-natural” fun. As many of you know, much like ceramic animals, outdoorsy things make my heart go pitter-patter (I’m a sucker for a framed sea fan or a collection of nature-ish vacation finds in labeled jars from each trip we’ve taken). So when Clara and I were playing outside and we found a butterfly just resting on the ground, it was nothing short of amazing (Clara said “the orange and blue part” was her favorite – that’s how close she looked).

And then I realized that gal wasn’t among the living anymore. So sad!

But she was too beautiful to leave out there in the grass, so I carefully scooped her up and decided to bring her inside so we could hopefully enjoy her beauty every day. I thought about putting her in a shadow box but we already have a faux butterfly shadowbox…

… that we made from a butterfly flyer at an exhibit we went to (more on that here).

So I decided to let her be just as nature intended, and “parked” her (or maybe it’s a him? aren’t the guys the colorful ones in nature?) on a piece of coral from a vacation a few years back.

Yup, just like that he landed there and decided to hang out with us in the dining room.

Is that weird? Clara loves looking at “her butterfly” (she knows we can wave, but there’s no petting allowed).

I do wonder if we should do anything to “preserve” the butterfly from eventually turning into dust or something (or getting coated with dust – although I wonder if a quick hair-drying on cool would work from time to time?). Does anyone know what they do when they make shadowboxes with real ones? Are they sprayed with some sort of varnish? Or treated in some other way to keep them looking bright and life-like? I wonder if I could track something down and give ours a little protective (and dustable) shell? Ooh, or what about putting one of our glass domes over the whole shebang (as seen in this old Halloween post) to solve the dust problem?

And since it’s Friday, what are you guys doing this weekend? Any fun plans? We have a crazy overdue dining room update along with some basement stuff on the agenda (as well as a bathroom makeover we’re planning to tackle for John’s grandma in little while), so we’ll be back with a lot of those details next week. Happy Friday y’all!

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner, so click here to see if it’s you.


  1. Hannah says

    This is completely unrelated, but did you hear that Richmond is the #1 river city in the coutnry according to Outdoors magazine? I’m in Milwaukee, and we’re, like, #17 or something, which is how I heard about it on the radio. Pretty cool! Have a great weekend!

  2. Dawn T says

    I have no idea, but my mom sent us a Luna Moth that we just kept in a box. It actually started smelling like death after awhile, so definately find some way to perserve it.

  3. Jane in STL says

    Our week-end will be DEMO! New bathroom in the works, complete with entire house re-plumbed and new soil pipe (or whatever it is called now). Yes, it will be a mess-and inconvenient. Can’t wait.

  4. Kate says

    “That’s why I come up here….Naaaattuuurreee! Goulet. The coconut bangers ball…its a rap”

    One of my favorite SNL skits of all time!

  5. Monika says

    Blow drying dust off a dead butterfly = hilarious! The thing would just start flying around the room! You guys are so funny :) I would definitely be scared of the thing decomposing as all living things do, so I am curious what others (more knowledgeable than me obviously) will say.

  6. Shannon says

    A couple years ago we found a perfect, dead monarch in the parking lot by our van. We took it home and put it in a small shadow box frame. We love it.

  7. Stephanie says

    Here’s what I found online…

    There are a few things you need to do, depending on how the butterfly died and what condition it’s in.
    If you killed the butterfly yourself for a collection, there are certain things you must do to preserve it. If you found it “freshly” dead that’s better than finding it after it’s all dried up, but either way it can be saved and preserved.
    It’s a little involved, but in a nutshell it is this:
    If the insect is dried out you need to put it in a large jar with a piece of window screen on the bottom, and under that screen you put cotton balls soaked in water and a “drop” of Carbolic Acid. The water will soften the butterfly and the acid will keep mold from growing on it and destroying it. You “can” do it without the acid, but you risk it. Tightly seal the jar and put it away for a week or so. When the insect is softened up enough that you can spread the wings and legs without breaking them, you’re ready to proceed. If the butterfly is not dried out all of this can be avoided and you can proceed to the next step.
    You then need either some Balsa Wood or some other soft, yet firm, material that can be cut and shaped. Put two pieces of the wood together with a “slot” running down the middle. You place the butterfly with it’s body in the slit, and spread the wings out over the flat parts of the board on the sides of the slit. Using straight pins, pin the wings down, spread out the wings the way they look normal. Do NOT push the pins through the wings, but put them along the edges and “lean” them inwards to hold down against the wings.
    Set this aside in a dry place (not in sunlight) for approximately one month or so, until the insect is thoroughly dry.
    Get yourself a “deep” picture frame, a Ryker Mount is best, but any deep frame will do. Place batting (fake cotton) within it nice and thick. Put the butterfly on top of this and gently lay the glass on top. Before “completely sealing” it up, put “one” Moth Ball jammed in the corner under the batting. If you do not, Dermestid Lavae “will” eventually get in and destroy your butterfly. Put the back on the frame and seal it up along the edges with tape.
    No other preservatives are necessary, and your butterfly will last the rest of your life this way. Every few years replace the Moth Ball.