Monday, December 21, 2009

The joys of ebay

Inspired by the XKCD comic above, I decided to do a bit of good ol' shopping on eBay. I gave myself a budget of $50.00 (although I ended up spending the astronomical sum of $52.89, shipping included), and ended up with plenty of interesting stuff.

Here's what I bought myself with these 52 bucks:

- a pair of Florsheim Imperial brogues (my size! yay!)
- a 20'' leather cat o' nine tails (don't ask...)
- a silk tie with matching pocket square and cufflinks
- a sterling silver ring with an ornate fleur de lis on top of it
- a red, vintage looking t-shirt for the 2010 vancouver winter games
- a mistery gift (can't wait to find out what it is!)
- silver & rhodium triangle cufflinks
- black and stainless steel cufflinks sporting a sphinx's face
- a pair of 00g plugs made out of 3 different kind of exotic woods
- a sleek stainless steel ring with a cross design
- a lot of 20 sterile, individually wrapped piercing needles going from 18g to 12g

not too bad, right?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Secret santa can suck it

For the "virtual gift swap" organised by Cobwebs, I was assigned Tala, from Cryptstitch.

My gift to her is the beautiful work of taxidermy pictured above, by one of my favorite artists, Sarina Brewer. This work of art is unique, beautiful, and reminescent of years past. Perfect in my opinion for such an interesting blogger, who shows interest in a wide variety of topics.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Goat

Here's the music video of The Goat, by Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows

If you never heard of them, I strongly advise you to take a look. The gloomy nature of their music is not for everyone, however, but those of you who can find beauty in darkness, the words and voice of Anna-Varney Cantodea, which uses her art as a form of catharsis for her depression, and the beautiful, neo-classical music of the ensemble of shadows are a thing to behold.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Being a pipe smoker myself, I understand perfectly both of these fellows. Oh, the mirth!

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Passenger

Johnny Cat from Neatorama posted this amazing animated short today.

I love it!

This work by Chris Jones must have taken so much time and talent. Beautiful, funny, and deeply enjoyable.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I framed myself a new bug!

I just finished framing a 7'' female Nephila Maculata from east java.

This time, I made the shadow box myself using an old frame and styrofoam. Pretty happy with the results. I unfortunately don't have pictures documenting the process.

Friday, November 20, 2009

cute bat doll

Isn't it adorable?

Heather from HELLOmynameisheather posted the pattern for this beautifull little bat sock doll on her blog. I can't wait to try it out!

Take a look!

via Shadow Manor

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Nanowrimo! it has started! and I'm behind schedule! AAAAAAAAH!

I only have about 4000 words written right now. and I have to write 50 000 before the end of november. Gah!

Oh, btw, in case you don't know, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, the month of november, during which writers all over the world try to write a novel of at least 50 000 words.

It is my first year and I'm quite excited!

Go take a look at the Website

Friday, October 30, 2009


No halloween party for David.

Gah, and my neo-victorian vampire costume is so fucking PERFECT!
Instead of being covered in dirt and alcohol, it'll be gathering dust until I need it for a photoshoot with my friends.

What a sad life for a costume.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fairy corpse tutorial

The always interesting Cobwebs at Shadowmanor recently posted a great, fun tutorial on how to create a mummified fairy corpse using a twist on basic corpsing techniques (techniques that I shall soon cover in depth for your instruction and enjoyement).

The results, as you can see, are great, the tutorial is easy to follow, and it'll look terribly good in your wunderkammer!

go take a look HERE!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Val Jalbert

Look at these pictures. It's a ghost town called Val Jalbert (Jalbert's Hollow) lost in the woods of Lac-St-Jean, about an hour from my town.

This village was deserted about 85 years ago. Many of the most important buildings and of the hundreds of houses are still standing, although there are many ruins here and there. Beautiful, but you'll admit that it looks quite eerie.

Now imagine the same setting in fall, when the trees are without any leaves and stand naked and dark against the buildings and the desert road.

Imagine this village at night, lit only by the moon and a couple of lamp posts, the woods dark and ominous, and the buildings standing out bluish and ghastly from the shadows.

That's downright creepy, huh?

Well, that's great, because that's where I'll be spending my halloween night, getting drunk and partying for hours with my friends and a bunch of people I still don't know yet. Hell yeah!

Got my DVD!

I finally received and watched Christian Hanson's DVD "Make your own Scratch Built Corpse"!

I have to say that I can't wait to get started on my own corpse head.

His methods are simple, inexpensive, and terribly detailed. Everything is clear and precise, you don't need much artistic talent to pull it off, and the materials are very easy to find.

I'm especially impressed by the way he makes teeth for his corpses. Terribly simple, but so realistic! I think the DVD is worth it's price just for this simple trick.

I'm not fond of the not-so-subtle acting and comedy skits between the different chapters, but it's nonetheless a very usefull and high quality product.

Great for movie makers on a budget and home haunters!

Oh, and Hanson sure is handsome with his rockin' friendly mutton chops.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Steampunk skull - Deuxième partie

Hey there, lovely little bilge rats!

I thought I'd show you the progress on my skull.

Nothing very complicated, I just played a bit with its finish, and removed the crappy ol' single piece teeth and installed brand new, shiny, strong, acrylic choppers.

Here's the teeth before I started:

Image Hosted by

As you can see, they are the same color and same texture as the skull, they're short, they're cheap, they're made in one piece and our friend mr. skull has a nasty underbite.

This shall be fixed!

To start, I simply dremeled out the original teeth. I used a sanding disk attachement, but some kind of router bit would probably do a great job too.

As you can see, it now looks quite geriatric. I honestly like this; I'll probably by a plastic skull some day and make it look edentate like that.

Once clean and sanded, I was ready to attach the new teeth.

Acrylic teeth, the kind used to make dentures, come in little plastic trays, separating the top, bottom, front and back teeth. Very pratical; you don't have to guess which tooth goes where (although mouth anatomy is fairly simple).

I bought mine on ebay; it cost about 20$ including shipping from china, and I have 6 complete sets of teeth.

I started out with the lower incisors, and gradually covered the whole lower and top mandible by gluing the teeth one by one from behind with drops of hot glue. It's not the strongest bond, but it's quick and easy to use. We'll strenghten the teeth later.

As you can see, it doesn,t look good from behind; In my case, though, it's not a problem, since the skull won't be manipulated much.

Upper teeth done

All glued!

As you can see, I corrected my buddy's underbite. I even gave him a slight overbite, for more realism!

Once this was done, I added 5 minute epoxy between and behind the teeth to hold them strongly in place. Although not necessary, this will add some durability to the skull.

Of course, I couldn't let these teeth all clean and shiny and white looking freshly flossed, when the rest of the skull looked freshly dug up! So I brought out the walnut stain again, mixed it with a bit of yellow ochre paint to tone down the red tones, and got this mix in every nook and cranny of the teeth. I wiped the front clean so they still had a bit of shine, and did a little trick that also gave a smooth, old and dusty look to the skull.

I rolled the whole thing in ashes while still tacky. I then dusted the excess off, and fixed it with matte spray varnish. This step really brings the whole thing together, and can save a poorly done stain job.

Voilà, mes amis! beau comme un sou neuf.

Link to part 1

Monday, October 5, 2009

A few words of apology

Sorry to my almost non-existent readers if I've been a bit lazy posting lately, I'm working crazy hours, I have a couple of side projects, and I broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years so I've been a bit overwhelmed by everything that was happening around me.

I'm already working on some new stuff to post; just today I installed newer, better acrylic teeth on my plastic skull, it already looks a lot better. I'll keep you updated as soon as I'm done.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making your own scratch built corpse

From Christian Hanson, a talented sculptor and FX artist comes a DVD filled with the holy grail of halloween decoration and propmaking; Detailed instructions on how to build a gruesome, realistic, full-size corpse from scratch. I haven't seen the DVD yet so I can't give a full review, but I've seen the corpse heads made by some of his customers and I'm in awe. They look awesome, they are cheap to make, and they don't require expensive plastic skeletons or liquid latex to create.

I just ordered my copy from the Monster Closet and I can't wait to try it out!

Gotta love corpses.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cogitz - Incorruptible Corpses

While the preserved remains of mummies are generally found in states of rigor mortis-like petrifaction, incorruptible corpses are pretty pliable. Their skin is supple, even years after their deaths. They appear, for all intents and purposes, to be sleeping or only recently dead. What’s more, these corpses don’t show signs of having been embalmed

This is a quote from a fascinating article about incorruptible corpses, or bodies of religious figures apparently preserved by godly intervention. This article, published on, is very interesting and presents quite a few pictures and videos about such bodies.

I'd suggest taking a look at the other articles on the website if you have time, they all present weird and macabre stories, which are sure to delight the gothic and the curious.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Transi sculpture finished! yay!

I'm done sculpting my transi. There's still a little smoothing to be down here and there, but otherwise, it's done and ready for molding.

I'm still debating about the molding process... I'll probably do an alginate mold, from which I'll cast a resin copy, which I will use to create a reusable, stronger mold out of latex.

I could do a latex mold right ahead but i'm not sure if the oil from the clay would halt the curing process of the latex... I need to do a bit of research.

Here's some pictures of the finished sculpture and one taken besides my shoe to give you an idea of the size of the future candles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Transi update

I've been working again on my transi sculpture. I added flesh to the face, made the ribs stick out more, and started making a shroud hanging from the character's hips.

Just a couple hours more and I'll be ready to mold it. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Transi - Work in progress

I was feeling the urge to sculpt, so guess what I did?

exactly! I satisfied this urge!

The project I'm currently working on right now is a small oil-based clay Transi. A transi is a type of funerary monument which were most popular during the XVth and XVIth centuries, however examples of this type of monument started to appear during the XIVth century.

Unlike the popular gisant, which is a life-sized statue of the deceased in a peaceful, sleeping position, the transi presents the deceased as it truly is; A horrible, decomposing corpse, its skin tightly stretched over dry bones, in an eternal skeletal grin.

I absolutely ADORE this type of funerary monument, for it presents the true horror of death, without romanticizing it as with the gisants.

Of course, I'm not yet ready to do a full scale transi; my idea was to make a smallish sculpture, mold it, and cast candles from it. The symbolism of the body slowly melting and burning away as the candle burns goes hand to hand with what the traditional transis symbolizes.

To begin, I needed clay; I used the same type of clay with which I made my tsantsa, a cheap oil-based clay sold for 2$/pound. This type of clay won't dry, is very firm when cold, and softens as it heats up, making it perfect for detailed sculptures.

I use very few tools during the sculpting process; A small "ribbon" tool (I don't know the english name, but it's called a mirette in french), a knife, a wooden modelling tool (called an ébauchoir in french, I don't have any idea what it's called in english), a brush with alcohol to smoothen the clay, and a few toothpicks and needles.

I also fashioned a stand out of thick scraps of wood so I don't have to bend down as much while working on the sculpture.

Reference when doing anatomical work is also very important; During the sculpting process, I refer to the fifth edition of Gray's Anatomy. My copy is from 1870, but new editions are easy to find on ebay and amazon. However, I don't recommend this book if you're not familiar with human proportions, as it does not contain full-body illustrations.

As you can see, I'm also using a skull replica as a guide; the fact that it is in 3D makes it more practical.

Here's an example of what kind of illustrations you can expect to find in gray's anatomy. Although very detailed, only smallish parts of the human body are represented.

Once you've got all your tools, pictures, anatomical models and whatnot, you're ready to start!

Sculpting is like drawing; it's easier if you do a sketch first. There's no hurry to work on the details.

Here's a view of the front and back of my "sketch". The goal is to simply map out the pose, shape and proportions of the body. As you can see, I've left the head out. I personally prefer to work on the body first. There is also no legs nor arms; I'm not planning to add any, I only want a torso and a head.

Once this is done, you'll want to start working on the musculature; filling up some parts and removing clay from others to make it actually look like something. Knowing what to add and what to remove is a matter of practice, actually; most beginner sculptors will be afraid to remove too much clay, and end up with blocky results.

This, however, is a bit too skeletal for my tastes. I added small pieces of clay using my anatomy book as a guide to plump up the sculpture a bit.

Here, you have a shot of the back. Another common mistake is to work damn hard on the front without caring about the back, which can cause distortion and other problems in the finished product.

I've worked a bit more on the general shape of the body, and added a lump of clay on the neck so I can begin the head. Since the lump of clay I used for the head is still soft and warm from being kneaded, I let it cool down and harden a bit before working on the skull.

Here, you can see the skull slowly taking shape.

I still have a lot of work to do, but this still can give you an idea of what the finished product will look like.

I'll keep you updated when I finish the sculpture, with info on sculpting the details.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy plane makes me happy

You just gotta love this picture.

Steampunk skull - part 1

Here's the situation: I just ordered a plastic human skull from ebay, and let's just say that I could be more satisfied with its looks. Its jaw is slightly too wide, it has a little underbite, its teeth were filed down too short and some of the detail has been lost.

However, for 17$ bucks, I can't expect much better.

Before I gather some cash to get myself a quality replica (which can be between 100$ and 300$), I plan to experiment a bit with this 17$ skull and see if I can make him look like a thousand bucks.

The process will be like this: I'll stain the skull, hinge its jaw with brass hardware, and fashion a brass and wood stand to support it.

This should be enough to give it some much needed flair and a slightly steampunk aura.

So let's start out with the staining, will-we?

This process is really simple; it's just a matter of having the right materials.

read it again. The RIGHT materials.

I didn't read it enough, personnally, since I disregarded all the info I found on the subject of staining plastic bones and bought the first kind of walnut stain I found instead of trying to get gel stain.

So here's the materials you need:

- A plastic skull
- A rag
- GEL wood stain. (A dark walnut or antique oak looks great)

There you go. Now the process is quite simple. With your rag, apply a liberal coat of stain all over the skull. Be sure to get it in every nooks and crannies.

It's hard to see, but I realized why I should have used gel stain about at the time I took this picture.

The stain I'm using lacks opacity, and is RUNNY AS HELL. Also, it's oil based, so it's not easy to clean up. But I digress. back to topic.

Once your skull is covered, let the stain sit a few minutes, and simply wipe off the excess with a slightly damp rag.

Here's the results. I'm not 100% satisfied; It's not as smooth as I wanted and I was expecting slightly less reddish results. However, all is not lost; I'll try giving it a white wash to smoothen the color a bit, and will go over with a nice golden oak stain to bring out the yellowish tinge of the skull. This combination of colors will probably do the trick.

Stay tuned for the next part!

UPDATE: Link to part 2

The Wolfman - Trailer

I'm almost as excited as when I saw the trailer for Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Go watch the trailer HERE

And take a look at the official website HERE

Found it on Cryptomundo

Friday, August 21, 2009

Molding Skulls

I just found a great tutorial for molding a plastic skull and casting plaster copies. There's lots of pictures and detailed instructions. The most expensive part is the liquid latex (if, of course, you already have a nice skull at home), but the 20-30$ it'll cost you in materials is well worth the massive amount of skulls you'll be able to make!

from The Creepy House Next Door, which also contains many more interesting tutorial revolving around creepy halloween yard decoration.

For painting the skull, I strongly suggest this step-by-step demonstration, by Dave the Dead from The Shadow Farm. He uses an urethane skull, but there's no reason why it wouldn't work on plaster. I'd suggest applying a coat of sealer to the plaster first, however, so it doesn't soak up all the paint.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Making a hardcover out of a paperback

Rev. Marx at Marx Designs posted a great tutorial on how to cover a cheap paperback with boards to give it the look of an antique hardbound book. It's quite simple actually, and his instructions are more than you need to figure out how to do something like it. Definitively worth checking out.

Link to the tutorial

Found on Propnomicon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's time for book reviews!

Is there a better feeling than sinking into a comfy couch a dark and stormy night, resting your feet on the tanned bear skin's head in front of the fire place*, opening up many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore and reading 'till you nod, nearly napping?

Well yeah, there's better feelings, but this one's pretty darn nice anyways.

That's why I read a lot, and I thought I could share my recent findings(in terms of litterature) with you. There's some old, there's some new, but it's all good.

1. Paint It Black - Voltaire

A guide to gothic homemaking, he says. Damn right, he is! Although this little gem is a bit too tiny to my likings, it's filled with great info and ideas for transforming the most boring dorm room into a somptuous gothic den. From modifying toys to covering walls with draperies, you can be sure this book will help you. However, it's a quick read; a few more projects should have been included to justify the asking price (about 15$cdn on amazon).

2. Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoievsky

Every one needs to read a good russian realist novel now and then. Although a big piece to chew, Dostoievsky's masterpiece is definitively worth your time and concentration. The story is about three brothers, who's father is assassinated. It covers every subject from love, money, honor and fraternity, to murder, justice, depravity and religion. And these russian names sound awesome!

3. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories - Franz Kafka

Oh man, Kafka is awesome. I mean, really, he is. After Stephen King and Eddy Poe, he's probably my favorite author.

Just go read this book and tell me you liked it (I won't believe you other wise). It is filled with short, witty, surreal stories, which makes you think as much as it entertains. A salesman waking up as a giant cockroach (or whatever it is)? yup. Jackals asking a white man to kill a few arabian guys with rusty scissors? It's there. and there's many more stories present. If you like surrealist tales, you'll like this book by Kafka.

4. Dieu et Nous Seuls Pouvons - Michel Folco

If you can read french, it is one of the most enjoyable novels you can read. This book tells the story of the Pibrac, the greatest (fictional) family of french executioners. The story is told with great attention to historical accuracy, with a touch of dark humor. definitively a 5*****.

5. Secrets of the Sideshows - Joe Nickell

If you have any interest in the world of the sideshow, this book might just quench your thirst for knowledge. It covers every topic from natural freaks to sword-swallowing tattooed hotties. It also explains a bit how different types of sideshows were organized, and how certain stunts were performed. A must-read for the sideshow enthusiast.

Ok, so that's about it for now. I might give a short review of more books later, since I still have to go through a pile of unread volumes. If you want to know more about any of these books, just ask!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tsantsa; from clay to shrunken head

I love shrunken heads. I really do. These little guys are creepy, look great, and have that mysterious tribal vibe to them. And let's face it, they are damn cute. And after reading my 1925 copy of Up de Graff's Head Hunters of the Amazon, I decided I just HAD to have one.

Of course, buying a real shrunken head is out of my price range, but I wanted my own little tsantsa, and there is no better way to get something than to make it yourself.

Using sulfur-free oil based clay, I had a blast sculpting this little guy over a few hours. I won't go into details with the sculpting process; with a little bit of artistic talent, it's quite easy to do. The sculpture done, a mold must be made. It shalt be made out of plaster, said I!

I made a dividing wall with thin aluminum pieces (the bottom of a pie plate), and covered the head with plaster and strips of burlap. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of this process, so you'll have to imagine. I then sloshed some liquid latex inside the mold, following by the lengthy process of letting it cure, then removed and powdered the latex cast with baby powder.

I gave back a little color and tackiness to the skin using brown and orange grease makeup (applied thinly so that the wrinkles and pores aren't filled out), and following the information I had about the methods used to make shrunken heads, I blackened the head with charcoal.

I then applied a good layer of fixative. I personally like to use ultra-strong TRESemmé hairpsray. Following this, I sewed the lips and the back of the head shut with thin cotton rope, which I dyed a yellowish brown with coffee earlier.

I still have to decorate it a bit more and find a way to put hair on it (punching hair into slip latex is quite difficult; I'll have to find another solution)

However, I'm quite happy with how it looks like right now! It was quite a simple process, with plenty of info that can be found online, but if you want to try something similar and need any help, advice is just a comment or an email away!

Here is a great website about shrunken heads

and on here you'll find a friendly community willing to answer most of your questions about molding and casting latex props

Bottled specimens

Here's a great tutorial for making fake, antique bottled specimens by the folks at Propnomicon: Clickety-click!

HERE is another one by Baron Von Fogel at Indy Mogul.

Both would make great props to store in your wunderkammer. (you DO have a wunderkammer, don't you? if no, I might elaborate on the subject later.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I just found via The Steampunk Home a great shop, located on melrose avenue in LA, called Necromance.
It features an eclectic assortement of natural history items, curios, antiques, books, jewelry and other amazing stuff.

Definitively worth checking out; their online catalog is full of great objects of all kinds, with great prices!

more details here

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wax anatomical model making

Wax has been for a long time the most used material in the creation of anatomical models. At, a video has been put online showing briefly how Eleanor Crook, a modern wax model maker, creates her beautiful works of art.


This video gives us just a peek of what is to come at the wellcome collection's art show "Exquisite Bodies", showcasing antique and modern anatomical models. Definitively worth a visite; too bad I can't afford the trip!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

100 must-read books

I wanted to share with you a post from the always interesting Art of Manliness.

It is a list of 100 books that every men (or women) should read in their life; although I don't agree with every book in the list and I feel others should be included, it's still a very interesting and complete list.

If you ever wonder what you should read next, take a look at that list; there's a short description of each book, making it easy to choose something you'd enjoy.

head to the Art of Manliness now!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Mounting and Naturalization of Insects for Study and Exhibition

Today, freaks & spooks, I'll show you how to prepare creepy crawlies to hang on your bedroom walls! yay!

This project is quite simple indeed; it is just a matter of relaxing, posing and mounting some bug in a shadow box. The result is beauty where you'd least expect it; mounted properly, any garden spider or dust mite can look great. It's just a matter of knowing what to do.

First of all, you need your insect. I, personnally, used a whip scorpion. A great way to get FABULOUS insects without going hunting in tropical areas is using ebay, or looking through an entomological supply shop. My whip scorpion came from ebay, and cost around 7$, shipping and taxes included. When ordering, be sure to always check if the insect specimen is in A1 condition; this means it isn't missing any part or isn't broken in any other way.

Now, I know that a whip scorpion is not an insect but an arachnid, but for the sake of simplicity and generalization, I'll call it the bug, the insect, or the specimen. please bear with me.

You have to remember here that you do NOT want soft bodied insects; caterpillars look great but they can only be preserved in liquid (ethyl alcohol or formalin).

Your insect will most probably arrive in a lil package such as this:

However, if you order a butterfly or moth, or in some cases, a dragonfly, it may come in a little glassine paper enveloppe. However, lepidopterae need to be prepared another way, thus I won't cover how to mount them today.

Usually, quality suppliers will stick the insect's data sheet to the package. This is to ensure that the specimen preserves all its scientific value, so don't lose that info; you'll need it later.

In my case, the supplier didn't identify the specimen correctly; it's not a species of stygophrynus, but rather a species of thelyphonidae.

Once you get your insect, you'll realized that it is in quite a cramped position. However, don't try to put it in a more natural pose yet; it is so brittle you'll only able to break it if you try to change its posture.

The secret to having a nicely spread specimen is to let the insect relax. Of course, for this, you'll need a relaxing chamber!

Here you can see the relaxing chamber I used. I personnally enjoy using bruschetta containers, but anything that is airtight will do. All you need to do is to cover the bottom with an absorbent material. I used paper towels. Once it is done, you need to dampen the material with a mix of water and some kind of mold inhibitor; ethyl acetate or crushed moth balls work quite well. Next, you simply plop your insect in the box, cover it with another layer of damp material, and close the box. A good idea is to put squares of paper or cardboard under and over your insect, if it has hair or scales; otherwise, it might get damaged.

All you have to do now is wait a few hours for small insects, or a few days for larger ones. If your insect is tough, like some larger coleoptera, you can use a bit of heat to speed things up. Big fat beetles can even be dropped a few seconds to a few minutes in boiling water, which would relax them almost instantly. However, more delicate insects would be destroyed if dropped in boiling water.

While your insect specimen relaxes, you should start working on the frame.

I used a small shadow box I bought at the dollar store; it's quite cheaply made, but for 1 buck, what can you expect?

Of course, plain balsa like this doesn't suit my palette much. Thus, as Voltaire (the singer, not the french genius) wrote in his book paint it black, I painted it black! with gloss black spray paint, of course.

When the frame is dry, you need to think about the backing; Since your insect will be pinned there, you need something soft but firm at the same time; something like foam!

The best you can use is the plastic foam used to hold fishing flies. However, a thin layer of styrofoam or cork will do. I used styrofoam.

Since by itself, styrofoam is quite ugly, I covered it with a nice, shiny, deep red satin.

Beautiful, gothic and functional.

Now remember when I said that the data sheet of your insect was important? now it's time to use it. Print a label with the species of the insect, the place it was collected, and the date it was collected. Of course, 2007 doesn't sound very vintage, so I changed that to 1907. The fonts I used are called Telegram and Typewriter New Roman, and are freely avaible online.

A bit of coffee later, and it looks like it's quite a few years older.

a spot of glue under the label and now and your frame's ready!

Now, wait a few hours again. You want to be sure your insect really is relaxed before starting to mount it. you'll know it is when you can freely move its legs; as if it was still fresh.

When it is relaxed, plop it on a block of styrofoam, soft balsa wood, cork or whatever you can stick a pin through.

The next thing you want to do is to pin it down. Drive the pin through the thorax, a little bit at the right from the middle. the pin must come out between two legs.

On this picture, the pin going through the thorax is hard to see, but believe me, it's there. It'll be clearer in the final pictures. As you can see, I already started to pin the legs. Don't try to make the pins go through the legs, use them simply to support the legs in the position you want. don't be afraid to use a lot; it'll keep it the way it should be while it dries.

Here it is almost fully posed. You can see how it looks much bigger and alive than before.

Here you can see more clearly how I used the pins to lift up some parts and hold down others. It is now fully posed and ready to dry.

Usually, it takes 1 or 2 days to dry fully. Once it is done, just remove all the pins, except for the pin going through the thorax of the specimen.

It should now be stiff and ready to mount!

The last step is quite simple. Just push the pin through the foam/cork you put at the bottom of the frame, hang the sucker, and you're done!

you can see the head of the pin a little more clearly here. Since it is at an angle, it looks more at the right side of the specimen than it really is.

Hope you have fun sticking pins through defenseless little critters!


Helpful links:

Spreading and mounting butterflies and beetles
Entomology and other supplies and equipment
Unmounted and mounted insects of all kinds