Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Friday, April 30, 2021

As I said when I shared my last Treasure Trove Tuesday thrift haul, I've been having very good luck lately finding some goodies!


I have started listing some of it for sale in my Etsy Shop, some I'm adding to my craft supply stash, and some of it I'm upcycling!


Today I'm sharing one of those upcycle projects with a recent find ๐Ÿ˜€ And if you stick around to the end, I'll be sharing what I'll be upcycling next!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip
I found these three small pictures at Goodwill recently. When I bought them, I just thought the black and gold frames were pretty and I didn't much care for the little square metal pictures mounted inside.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

They were just .99 cents each so I couldn't pass them up!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

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Supplies You Need to Make Your Own
  • Small frames (you can also use black scrapbook paper or fabric to back them)
  • Tim Holtz Field Notes Ephemera Pack
  • Hot Glue/Gun
  • Black Sharpie Marker (optional)
  • Something to add space between the butterfly and the backing (I used small wood beads)
  • Scrap cardboard for making the specimen ID tags

Step 1: Prepare the Frames

My frames had small, square metal pictures mounted in them. They were just attached with double-sided puffy tape so I was able to just pull them off!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

These frames were meant for bugs because at some point some little spiders had made their homes here! ๐Ÿ˜„

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Once I had removed the metal pieces, there was a square where the area around those little pictures had faded, but I figured out a quick way to fix that!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Yep... a Sharpie! The backing in these is velvety fabric. I thought about painting them but that would have made the fabric stiff and I liked the softness of it.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

If you don't have pretty fabric backing in your frames, never fear! You can use scrapbook paper or even a scrap of fabric to cover them!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Here is what it looked like after I colored the whole background compared to one I hadn't done yet (left is colored, right is not). The spot where the tape was really doesn't show that much even though it looks like it in these pictures.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Here's a better picture... see? You can barely tell!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Step 2: Choose your Insects and Mount Them in the Frames

I found this Tim Holtz ephemera pack at the craft store but I have linked where you can buy it online up in the supply list. This pack has flowers, mushrooms, butterflies (obvi), other insects, etc.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Pick out your favorites! I almost used the other insects but decided I wanted butterflies, maybe I'll make more with other bugs next.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Now, I needed something to add space between the picture back and the butterfly because real butterfly specimens are mounted away from the backing. I had some wooden alphabet beads that I thought would work.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

I colored over the letters with the Sharpie.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Glue the bead to the frame back with a dab of hot glue.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Then just add the butterflies, also with a dab of glue.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

See how they sit away from the backing?

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Step 3: Create the Identification Tags

I just used an old piece of cardboard that had some rick-rack trim around it at one time. I save these because I like the look of the old cardboard. Any paper or scrap will work.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

I wrote the words by hand because most real specimen mounts I've seen have handwritten tags, but you could totally use stamps or print out your tags!

I also know next to nothing about the different kinds of butterflies so I just wrote: "Specimen No. 1, 2, etc." ๐Ÿ˜‚

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Glue the ID tags directly to the backing, no spacing is needed.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

I mounted one butterfly in two of the frames and then two butterflies in the last one. TIP: Make sure you pay attention to where the hanger is on the back of the frame or you'll end up with upside-down butterflies!!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

I originally intended to sell these in my Etsy shop but once I hung them up to take pictures I kinda fell in love ๐Ÿ˜ so I'm keeping them for now.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

I created a vignette with an old black metal shelf I found in the garage and then I added a brass vase with dried baby's breath and a real butterfly inside a dome that my daughter got for me.

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

These were really quick and fun to make, I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for more small frames that I could use for the other insects in that ephemera pack!

Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

PIN ME!
Butterfly Specimen Art - Thrift Shop Flip

Thanks for sticking around all the way to the end of this post!! Here is the lineup of thrifted finds that I'll be making over soon!

thrift shop flips
These mirrors are next up for a makeover!

Thrift Shop Flip Mirrors

Posted by: at Friday, April 30, 2021 Tag:

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  1. These turned out very pretty and are really trending right now. Your solutions are so creative!

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