Picture of Insect Cooperation Assistant
Ever wanted to get up close to a bug but you really don't want to just sit with it in your hand? I do lots of extreme macro and this makes the subjects more coopertive without harming them.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
IMG_2477 copy.jpg
1 Bic round Stick Pen (or similar removable on both ends pen)
1 piece of soft cloth
Masking Tape
1 Rubber Band
Fishing string or thread

Step 2: Preparation

Picture of Preparation
Remove both ends from the pen and cut a small section of cloth about as shown. You want to fold it over about 4 times and have it not much wider than the end of the pen.

Step 3: Band Hand? Fold!

Picture of Band Hand? Fold!
Fold the cloth over 4 times then to keep it together use a couple pieces of masking tape.

Step 4: Affixiation

Picture of Affixiation
Tape the cloth to the pen fairly tight so it doesn't slide around and cut off the excess.

Step 5: String it

Picture of String it
Thread your string over both sides of the cloth down and out the bottom of the pen. Tie a knot in the end and trim to the desired length. I would say about the length of the pen coming out the end would be enough you can always trim it down.

Step 6: Banding Experience

Picture of Banding Experience
Wrap the rubber band around the pen and the string going back up the side of the pen. This will make your string stay in place and not be too tight to hurt your subject.

Step 7: Subject Aquisition

Picture of Subject Aquisition
This was the first subject I have found so far so I just used it for the instructable. This was a little small but as you can see without really any pressure on the spider I was able to keep it still and get this beauty shot. The only thing I would say is if you have a pair of latex gloves it makes it easier to get it on at least then afterwards you don't need to worry. Using the white cloth and since my macro is so close you can get some good shots without the string in the way.
corsairdude3 years ago
I just realized how much those really scare me Dx
Superchef4 years ago
Really awesome instructable, but it doesn't reduce the extreme fear I have of bugs/insects.
jeoncs (author)  Superchef4 years ago
Well from everything I've seen on tv is exposure to your fears is how you overcome them. And when has tv ever been wrong?
jlms jeoncs4 years ago
When you fear tigers?
jeoncs (author)  jlms4 years ago
I would go on safari or maybe to a trained one. Then again I live in Michigan if I see one out of a zoo I don't know what I'll do
Light_Lab4 years ago
Most pro photographers just put the insect in the fridge for a while. Most insects metabolism slows down as it gets colder. Apparently it does not harm them if you don't freeze them solid.
After reading the above comment...

Hubby: "I like 'em better from the freezer. They're crunchier."
Me: "Gross"
That's nothing; here in Oz we have the Queensland Toadcicle, a frozen cane toad on a stick.
jeoncs (author)  Light_Lab4 years ago
Yea I'm guilty of that one sometimes
StickMaker4 years ago
A very good idea. I love to photograph BIG GAME such as Moose, Bears, etc but sometimes the VERY SMALL wildlife is just as cool.

To shoot insects and arachnids, I just SLOWLY crawl closer and closer. One WOLF SPIDER offered me some shots e.g. this one: and if you remove the bug(13).html part, you can see the others.

THIS made me realize one of my all time favs in NOT on that page; will try to add it today.

Thanks for the Instructable!
jeoncs (author)  StickMaker4 years ago
awesome I just did some good ones where I was letting one run free. The newest are at the bottom of the set but I was pretty happy with it
Silence jeoncs4 years ago
@ StickMaker, Fretka and jeoncs
VERY NICE.... what do you folks use for macro ?
I have a set of extension tubes I use with a 70-300mm lens (+crop factor) My pics are up on Facebook, If anyone's interested in a look, send me a message.
Silence Silence4 years ago
I decided to sign up for a flickr account. check it out
Still in the process of getting figuring it out and getting everything up.
Lately, I've been using the Canon SX20 IS and nothing else. Has a SUPER MACRO mode that works fine.

Maybe my own fav is this one which I printed, framed, and hung on the wall full-size:

Good enough for an amateur such as I anyway.
jeoncs (author)  Silence4 years ago
I use a reversal lens 28-80 canon and a ring flash sometimes a manual bellows
I just had to say... I went to your page and spent a good portion of my day looking at the photos...I didn't get any housework accomplished, but I totally enjoyed my self looking at the amazing pictures you took !!
Thank you for sharing and the work you did !
THANK you for that, Fretka; that made the page(s) worth doing. Must be tough to be an entomologist!
mickryobe4 years ago
This is a great idea.

I wonder if a very thin, transparent, monofilament thread would not serve as well as the string or thread and be less noticeable.
jeoncs (author)  mickryobe4 years ago
depends on how close you are getting. I've used fishing string before and because of how closer you get you can still see it. Main thing with this it really is good for cataloging or if you a REALLY close which I only operate in REALLY close haha
In my experience with insects the closer the better. They are rather small, at least in Ontario where I live.
If I were in the jungles of South America I would be a little more circumspect (cautious, cowardly, stand offish).
Your subject is missing a leg!
jeoncs (author)  mothflavour24 years ago
Yea I found him that way :/ It didn't seem to bother him too much though
Well, he does have a few extra.
If I remember rightly, they grow new ones when they shed their skin.

Here's an idea for the capture rope: Kevlar thread, available from magician's suppliers as Invisible Thread. (Also on Ebay.)

It looks like ordinary thread, but when you strip it down, there are 120 tiny individual threads, each having a breaking strain of about 3/4 ounce (20 grams) (If you buy it ready stripped, it's incredibly expensive.)

You will need strong reading glasses (or a fixed magnifier), good tweezers and excellent dexterity to handle it. Cut a length, e.g. 12", then tease out a single strand and pull. Stick each end to a tiny piece of card for ease of handling, take the center of the loop through your pen with a needle.

Post the results !
lovejess4 years ago
What kind of spider is that?
jeoncs (author)  lovejess4 years ago
I am not sure to be honest I thought it was a Dandy Long Legs but I don't think it is after seeing it closer. It has long legs like one I found it in a cool corner in a web off of cement walls. Maybe we have some arachnid experts around :)
Probably a cellar spider of some variety.
Cephus4 years ago
It's a blast-ended skrewt!
Parrhesia4 years ago
The American House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) seems like a match - check out "" might be more accurate, but maybe not so accessible to their target demographic. The site is geared toward people who are interested in "bugs" and want to learn more.

This is a nifty and kind little device, thanks for sharing it!
malsonc4 years ago
I hate to point out that the creature in your intial photos is NOT an insect. Spiders are quite different creatures - and ones I don't care to get any closer than a fly-swatter to. :-)

Otherwise it was a good Instructable - Thanks!
jeoncs (author)  malsonc4 years ago
Man, I had hoped to be the first to say that the "insect" in the first photo was actually a spider.

Anyway, this is a great idea! It seems like a very humane way to photograph our little friends without harming them.