A lesson on rehydrating insects

November 2, 2010 § 2 Comments

By Kelly,

Today I am going to demonstrate to Märta (and all of you at home) how to re-hydrate, and then position and re-dry insects. I have done more than these than I want to remember, (over 2000) for my Installation, A Small Light In A Dark Room at the Crypt gallery in 2007. (pictured below)

The process is relatively simple, and doesn’t require too much materials, you will need a plastic box with a lid, some nail polish remover (this helps to inhibit moulding while the insects are being re hydrated for positioning), some sponges and something to make a shelf within the box to place your insects.

First you place the sponges in the bottom of the box, and cover them with a mix of water and nail polish remover, then you fit the shelf into the box, while leaving a space around it for the moisture to reach the insects (I do this by making some holes in the side of the box, and using nails or screws to support the shelf. Then Simply place the insects on the shelf and wait. How long depends on the temperature in the room, the type of insect (butterflies and moths will be much quicker, whereas beetles and scorpions will take much longer) if you want to speed up the process then put the box in the sun, or under a light to add warmth.

Once your insects are flexable, you take some pins (you can use specialty pins for pinning insects, but anything will do) and position them while pinning them into the shape you want. I use a piece of foam core to attach them to. Be careful doing this as they will be fragile and can be broken easily. Once you have the shape you are looking for, simply put them in the sun to dry.


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