Anonymous asked in Home & GardenDo It Yourself (DIY) · 1 month ago

Can I use paint on dead insects?

I’m trying out something for a project and want to incorporate art with nature. I would take dead preserved bugs and then paint them. What type of paint would I use? Would the bug’s wings and body even be able to hold the paint?

5 Answers

  • elhigh
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Firstly you have to remember that you're dealing with a body of a creature that was once alive.  Don't spend their lives frivolously.  Knowing that, let's move forward:

    Larger insects can rot if they aren't thoroughly dried out.  If you try to seal one up before it's dessicated, you're going to have a nasty little puddle of goo inside that shell of color.  Prepare a specimen by drying it out in a container of Damp Rid or similar, or gently cover it with silica granules (like for drying flowers) and give it some time.

    As they dry out, they become a lot more fragile as the tissues lose their resilience.  Legs and wings can just snap right off.  You'll have to experiment with finding the balance between dry enough to prevent spoilage, and too dry.

    A couple of layers of sealant should go on first, to help ensure that everything stays together once you're done.  It'll both reduce moisture absorption through the film into the specimen, and glue parts into place.

    For color, it's worth remembering that many insects are quite colorful to begin with, everything from lurid Day-Glo colors to subtle, dramatic metallics.  If you want to enhance existing colors, you might want to experiment with shades of tint rather than fully-concealing paints.

    Since an insect's body is made up of chitin (not too dissimilar to cellulose), it's fairly stable and will stand up to most paints.  Chitin is not soluble in water, alcohol or most other organic solvents (including mineral spirits, turpentine or xylene) so just about any paint you might want to use shouldn't damage the specimen to the extent of causing it to collapse.  Just use a different solvent from your earlier, consolidating coats of sealant and you should be good to go.

    • Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      Well put, eth...

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  • Dave
    Lv 5
    3 weeks ago

    sure any type of house paint will work unless the bugs are real small

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  • 1 month ago

    I use Krylon on live spiders, I guess it would work on dead ones too.

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  • 1 month ago

    You could varnish them so you can still see them underneath. If you want them different colours, just use paint. 

    At work a long time ago someone spray painted a tomato white. It lasted forever because the paint made a shell that kept it together. 

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  • 1 month ago

    My first thought was enamel, but if you're looking to do the wings too you'll need acrylic paint.  To keep the detail you'll have to use an airbrush to apply it.  Your local hobby store should be able to help with both the paint and the airbrush

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