Introduction: Preserve Insects in Resin

Picture of Preserve Insects in Resin

Do you have an insect you would like to display in a cool and interesting fashion? Then, you might be interested in preserving it in resin. Work in a well ventilated area. Make an attempt not to get any on your hands. It is very hard to clean off. I'm aware that another Instructable has been posted on this but my way is simpler and appeals to those that don't have a table saw.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Casting resin, Specimen, Ice cube tray or other ideal mold, Catalyst, Mixing cup (DO NOT USE STYROFOAM), Stirring stick

Step 2: Measure

Measure the depth of the ice tray well. If you buy resin that comes with catalyst, the package will tell you how much catalyst to add.

Step 3: Fill

Fill your well halfway. Place your specimen. Wait a little bit. Be patient. If you don't wait, your specimen will surface. Do not allow it to drift or it will dry abnormally. While waiting for your specimen to stay in place, cover it with something. Polyester resin does not cure in the presence of air. Cover the rest of your subject after 5 minutes.

Step 4: Dry

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Set it in a clean and dry area. It will harden eventually. Curing times will vary depending on how much resin is used. Cover tray with card board or anything to prevent air contact.

Step 5: Pop It Out

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Carefully, remove your creation from the tray. Be careful not to break it. Wait for 10 hours just to be safe. This will allow for maximum curing.

Step 6: Display

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Voila, you have a beautiful specimen encased in resin. Display it on your shelf and amaze your guests. I would advise you not to put it in your drink as it is a toxic chemical.


MikeB599 (author)2017-04-29

Could this be used to extract DNA at a later date? For ecample if you put a tooth in the resin , would DNA be preserved?

MatthewD230 (author)MikeB5992017-07-26

It would probably last a bit longer in the resin as it wouldn't be subject to decay. Of course DNA has a half life of about 500 years, and no amount of resin can stop that.

autumninteso (author)2016-02-26

I work at a school could I do this with larger items like a dissected frog for demonstrative purposes? It should work the same correct? It would be significantly cheaper then purchasing them premade.

Yeah, it should be possible. I've seen sites online that sell dissected toads and pigeons preserved in resin at least.

saige hill (author)autumninteso2016-03-17

hey i thoght of this too but you must remove all the air inside the frog too make sure it dossent rot inside the hard sculpture. hope this helps

PolkaM1 (author)2014-08-31

Hi. I want to know what you mean by a catalyst?

Curtis S.A (author)PolkaM12016-09-13

A catylyst is something im chemistry that speeds up a reaction, but is not used in it.

An example is the catalytic converter on cars. They contain platinum, which speeds the decomposition of Carbon Monoxide into Carbon Dioxode.

With acrylics, its something thst speeds the hardening process.

DIYWEAPONS (author)PolkaM12015-02-15

A catalyst is somthing which makes something react with something else.

dylan.rendall.52 (author)PolkaM12014-11-20

some resins come with a catalyst to harden it

gmont1979 (author)2014-07-08

i was wondering how that was done. im gonna try this on a dried up seahorse i found at work...thx

msdrpepper (author)2014-05-05

Okay but where do you find the casting resin? I was told years ago by a doctor that if I could put "bad bugs" into a resin or acrylic block where they can use it to demonstrate to a patient "this is what a black widow looks like" " this is what a brown recluse spider looks like" "this is what a yellowjacket" looks like that, he thought many doctors would snap 'em up!!

pablomar33 (author)2014-03-17

if you make a difuse led table, and putting the resin insects inside?? (sorry my english!)

katlinbr (author)2013-11-30

Fantastic! Many thanks for the simple and easy to follow instructions. I have a collection of things I've been wanting to 'float' in resin and the ice cube tray makes the perfect container!

davisbg1 (author)2013-07-25

I have an amazing picture of a spider and its egg sack I did after learning how to do it from your instructable, if you want to post it. how might I send it?

carpenterant96 (author)davisbg12013-07-25

Send it to me at

coolgirl55755 (author)2013-07-01

That's awesome I could use this as my project thanks! :-)

rosquillo (author)2013-06-18

What type of dye can be used to color the resin like amber?

grey_beard (author)rosquillo2013-06-20

I did this many years ago (some 40+) with flowers, photos and coloured the resin using ink from ball-point pens.

sysadmn (author)2013-06-18

Is is possible to dye the resin to get faux amber? That would be especially neat.

Javin007 (author)sysadmn2013-06-20

LOL! I thought I was the only one that immediately thought of that... Obviously not...

HelenaTroy (author)2013-06-19

I've got lots of delicate shells that I wanted to cast in resin, but was never sure how, or at least which way would be best - I'm visually impaired and have to lean close to see what I'm doing, and didn't fancy dealing wiht hot liquids or inhaling fumes. This sounds great for that, thanks!

ascii (author)2013-06-18

Nice Instructable. A couple of points: resin cures catalytically, the presence of air doesn't affect it at all. I've never heard of anyone trying to keep air out, and if it was a problem you couldn't do it with cardboard. Cured resin is pretty much inert, you could put it in a drink with no problems. There are joke ice cubes you can buy that are a chunk of resin with a fly in them.

rbessa (author)2013-06-18

Nice and simple, but you forgot to mention an important step:

The insects should be dried before you put them into the resin, otherwise it might not cure due to the enzymes present in their body fluids. It might not happen with all insects, but it's a strong possibility. Beetles in particular seem to have this problem.

carpenterant96 (author)2013-06-18

To sysadmn and rosquillo: I have heard you can use a razor blade and scrape yellow or faded orange chalk dust and mix it in. Idk how well this works. If you want die to use, google it. I'm not into added coloration.

fvaldes63 (author)2013-06-18

Great project. If there are any blemishes, you may polish it using waterproof sand paper from 400, 1000, to 2000 then finish with metal polishing wax, like Brasso brand, or toothpaste.

vincent7520 (author)2013-06-18

Nice !

byoho (author)2013-06-18

Did this years ago when Jurassic Park first came out. Made walking canes like the main guy had. Made a silicone mold for 'amber' ball, colored resin with manufacturers pigment, embedded giant mosquito, and mounted on a length of bamboo. Looked great. Surface of resin was tacky, and I spent hours trying to sand and buff it clear, learned that a quick shot of clear coat spraypaint did the trick beautifully. Wish I could find a pic to post, sorry.

Thoth (author)2013-06-18

FYI its not that polyester resin does not cure in the presence of air but it is hygroscopic (i.e. it will absorb moisture from the air) which interferes with the polymerization and thats why sometimes it'll be tacky to the touch. Though some resin formulations contain a bit of wax to prevent this. More likely you cover it to keep dust from the air from getting into your mold as it cures.

DIY Dave (author)2013-06-16

I used to just super glue bugs to sheets of clear plastic. The bugs ended up kind of flat, but it was still fun. I'll have to post some pictures of them on here

antibobthebuilder (author)2013-06-16

I hate yellow jackets

antibobthebuilder (author)2013-06-16

totally freaking awesome

maddisonninja (author)2013-06-16

Could you put a hole in to string a necklace through?

SWV1787 (author)maddisonninja2013-06-16

absolutely... I made a USB flash drive in clear casting resin and once it is dry the resin can be worked similar to a very dense wood

MR. Mysterious (author)2013-06-16

Then put PVC or some good substance to create a cane like in Jurassic park (favorite movie)

MR. Mysterious (author)2013-06-16

Did you ever think to cut out a hole in the cube tray like this
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avenger22 (author)2013-06-16


HollyMann (author)2013-06-15

Wow - looks pretty cool and reminds me of jurassic park! :) Awesome job! In the other comment about modge podge - I do not think modge podge would work for this.

alyxthegreat1 (author)2013-06-15

This is so cool, but an even cheaper and easier way to do it is by using Mod Podge. It sounds weird but it is true.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy most forms of art. I am learning how to woodwork. I enjoy gardening and growing anything. I love fishing but don't get ... More »
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