This post brought to you by The Orkin Ecologist. All opinions are 100% mine.

Dollar store bug - faux taxidermy

Want to put bugs in their place? How about under glass? My kids and I made some faux insect taxidermy specimens, inspired by The Orkin Ecologist site, where we learned about the Top 10 Insect Phobias. Want to make your own faux insect taxidermy specimens, for display in your home (or maybe a school science project?), read on for the tutorial!

dollar store insects - paint with nail polish

Project Materials:

  • 2 frames per specimen, $1 each
  • Industrial-strength glue, on hand or $1
  • Plastic bugs, 8 for $1
  • Various colors of nail polish, on hand or $1 each
  • Background paper for mounting, on hand or $1

Total: $2.15 each and up

About Our Supplies: we got our frames, our bugs, our backgrounds, and our glue at the dollar store. We already had nail polish on hand, but you can find an array of colors at the dollar store or drug store for $1 per color. May I highly recommend a metallic color for added pizzazz?

Depending on the depth of your frames and the thickness of your bugs, you might need three frames to create a shadowbox deep enough for your bugs. You can also use large frames to display more than one bug in a single shadowbox!

How to Make a Faux Insect Taxidermy Specimen

1. If you are working with kids, protect your work surface with newspaper or paper towels. Paint bugs with nail polish. Tip: Prime bugs with white nail polish and allow to dry to help your nail polish paint job really stand out.

painting dollar store bugs with nail polish

As we worked on this project, my kids and I discussed which bugs "bugged" us, and which ones we didn't mind. My number one bug phobia is definitely bees. My kids have seen me do the "Bee Dance" more than once! I don't mind spiders at all. How about you?

We learned from The Orkin Ecologist (a very cool site with all kinds of fascinating facts about insects) that fear of spiders is the #1 Bug Phobia, and is called "arachnophobia," while fear of bees is the #2 Bug Phobia, and is called "apiphobia."

What's your bug phobia? Visit the article to find out the Top 10, and then let me know in the comments!

We enjoyed visiting the site, which is appropriate for kids (researching a science fair project, perhaps?) or adults alike.

painting dollar store bugs with nail polish - my kids loved this project!

My boys LOVED painting their bugs with nail polish, and I really enjoyed this convenient way to paint using stuff we already had on hand. The nail polish already comes with paint brushes, and everything is self-contained. Yay for minimal mess! (Just be sure to have nail polish remover on hand in case of stray paint splashes). I also gave my four year-old the rules:

  1. Keep the nail polish bottle on the table at all times. Just dip your brush in from there.
  2. No painting while mommy isn't sitting at the table.

Painting dollar store bugs with nail polish

Allow bugs to completely dry while you construct the shadowbox. I really like how the metallic/holographic nail polish added that shiny look to the bugs — almost realistic, don't you think?

How to Construct a Shadowbox from Dollar Store Frames

How to create a shadowbox from dollar store frames

1. Remove the backing and paper inserts from 2 frames (ours were 5" x 7"). Bend the backing prongs back (or remove) from the frame with glass (Frame #1). If needed, glue glass into frame to secure it. Remove the glass from the other frame (Frame #2).

Allow glue to dry.

How to create a shadowbox from dollar store frames

2. Glue Frame #2 (the one with no glass) to the back of Frame #1. Allow glue to dry. You should now have an extra-deep frame shadowbox!

3. Glue your favorite insect to the center of the backing paper. Allow to dry before inserting in frame.

4. Insert insect and backing paper into shadowbox, and replace the backing cardboard. Bend the prongs down to secure everything into the frame.

Dollar store bug taxidermy

Display and enjoy!      

$100 Amex Card Giveaway from The Orkin Ecologist!

You can Follow the Orkin Ecologist on Pinterest ( and share something on their board using #EEKologist.

Use the widget below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit Sponsor's Site