Click to Print

Isle of Coco Mallo "Bugs in Boxes"

Ashley Woods creates fake bugs for her Isle of Coco Mallo shadow box complete with fake Latin names.

Materials and Tools:

purple silk fabric
coat hanger
wire and wire cutters
needle-nose pliers
synthetic sinew string
sewing machine or needle and thread
cotton balls
watercolor paper and watercolor pencils
mucilage glue
acrylic paints
furry fabric
white glue, scissors, paintbrush
4 straight pins with ball heads
2 shadow boxes
plastic dividers (out of a folder) and black permanent marker
craft knife
computer and printer
moth pattern template
aluminum foil

Steps 1-2


1. Cut a 3-1/2" x 6" rectangle of purple silk to make the caterpillar.

2. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise with right sides together. Machine-stitch on the long side using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Leave the ends open. Turn the tube right side out.

Steps 3-5

3. Cut a piece of coat hanger slightly longer than the length of the fabric with wire cutters. Curl the ends of the wire with needle-nose pliers.

4. Stuff the fabric tube with cotton balls. Fold the ends of the fabric tube to the inside.

5. Insert the piece of coat hanger wire inside the fabric tube along the seam.

Step 6

6. Gather both ends of the fabric tightly with sticky sinew string. Wrap the string several times around the stuffed tube to shape the body of the caterpillar.

7. Tie off and cut off the excess string. Bend the wire inside to give the bug a little shape.

Steps 8-9

8. Draw a plant on watercolor paper and color with watercolor pencils. Blend the colors with a paintbrush and water.

9. Cut out the plant drawing with scissors.

Step 10

10. Remove the backboard from a shadow box. Glue the plant to the front of the shadow box board with mucilage glue. Let dry.

Step 11

11. Poke a hole in the shadow box backing with an awl. Cut a piece of wire with wire cutters. Run the wire through the hole and attach the caterpillar. Pull the wire tight and twist it in the back until secure.

Steps 12-13

12. Dip the ball heads of two straight pins in mucilage glue and roll them in glitter. Let dry. Apply two dots of glue to the caterpillar head for eyes and dip the head into the glitter. Let dry.

13. Push one of the pins into the body of the caterpillar and through the backing. Push another pin along the stem of the plant.

Steps 15-16

14. Print out Latin terms on a computer. Cut around the words to make a rectangular label.

15. Paste the label with Latin name on the shadow box board at the bottom of the caterpillar.

16. Replace the board in the shadow box.

Step 18

17. To make the moth, use a pattern template and trace around it with black permanent marker onto a plastic folder divider.

18. Squeeze acrylic paints onto an aluminum foil paint palette. Paint the moth as desired. Let dry.

Step 20

19. Draw a body for the moth on watercolor paper. Paint the body with watercolor pencils. Let dry. Cut out the body and wings of the moth.

20. Cut a circle of furry fabric slightly larger than the head of the moth and glue it on the back of the moth body at the neck.

Steps 22-23

21. Place two dots of mucilage glue on the head area of the moth and dip them in glitter. Dip the ball head of a straight pin in the glue and glitter. Let dry.

22. Glue the body of the moth onto the wings. With an awl poke two holes through the center of the moth.

23. Remove the backboard from the second shadow box. Punch a hole in the backboard with an awl. Cut a piece of wire with wire cutters. Run the wire through the hole in the board and the two holes in the moth body, attaching the moth to the board. Twist the wire in back of the board to secure.

Steps 24-27

24. Push the glitter-coated pin through the top of the fur circle into the shadow box backboard.

25. Print out Latin terms on a computer. Cut around the words to make a rectangular label.

26. Glue the label to the board below the moth.

27. Place the backboard into the shadow box and secure. Display your Isle of Coco Mallo "Bugs in Boxes" shadow boxes.

Ashley Woods majored in art and enjoys painting, but after having her daughter a year and a half ago, she turned to projects that she could start and stop easily. One of her projects is making baby clothes and kimonos that she sells in a local shop. Another favorite is her eye-catching "Bug in a Box" series of fake creatures that are displayed like scientific specimens, complete with fake Latin names.

Advertisement will not be printed