Making a Butterfly Dome
On our last trip to Paris, we visited the famed taxidermy shop, Deyrolle, and marveled at all of the specimen creatures from Grizzly Bears to scorpions and everything in between. Though it feels like a museum, everything here is for sale, so I knew I wanted to bring some of this memorable shop home with me. After poring over drawer after drawer of butterflies, I selected a few in a pretty palette of yellow, blue and white (all French species, naturellement) and also purchased a glass dome from the shop. Each was already stuck with a pin and the shopkeeper packaged them up nicely in a box, secured to a piece of foam, as well as wrapped my glass dome in bubble wrap. Getting through U.S. Customs was not an issue with these because they aren’t living (though we waited in a really long line to eventually discover this, lesson learned).
When I got them home, I wasn’t quite sure how I would successfully display them, but I was able to improvise. Not wanting to risk damaging them by removing the carefully placed pins, I trimmed the pins down on the sharp end leaving enough to attach some wire and glue in place. I cut varying heights of a craft wire and wrapped one end on the underside of the butterflies and secured with my favorite all-purpose glue, E6000. I used a teeny, tiny drill bit to create 5 holes centered and evenly spaced in the wood base of the dome to insert the wires. I then played with the composition of the butterflies, trimming the wire as necessary and moving them around until I had them arranged perfectly. Deyrolle sent me home with a care sheet for taxidermy bugs which mentioned that over time, they may develop a brown powder (bacteria) and if that happens, just stick them in the freezer for a few days and that will take care of the problem. They also recommended to keep the specimens away from direct sunlight or the colors could fade. In addition to the butterflies, I picked up a beautiful, illustrated field guide, a reprinting of the 1898 original to keep near my butterflies. I love having this unique souvenir to remind me of such a memorable afternoon spent in Paris!