I wanted to do something fun and educational. Along with bringing awareness to the diminishing population of the Monarch Butterfly. I didn't see one Monarch Butterfly this past summer - I did see a mimicking butterfly called Viceroy which looks just like the Monarch but smaller. A way to help the Monarch Butterfly is to plant milkweed so they can lay their eggs on the leaves - the caterpillars only eat milkweed. So please find some milkweed seeds to plant and help save the Monarch Butterfly! There are places that will send you free seeds - just look up "free milkweed seeds" on the internet.
My kit consists of: one box, fridge magnet of a Monarch Butterfly, Milkweed seeds and growing instructions for the seeds.
Step 1: Set Up and Prepare to Cut Out
Download the file I provided. It's in dfx format and I use corel draw 14. I have an Epilog 35 watt mini 24 laser.
I used 1/8" x 12" x 12" baltic birch plywood for this project. You can mask the plywood with tape - I had chose not to and had some burn residue to sand off. You can finish with a clear lacquer first before cutting it out then wipe off the burn residue with rubbing alcohol after it is cut out.
Step 2: Engraving and Cutting Out With My Laser
It took me 44 minute to do this step. I think I would make some changes on the next one to speed it up a bit. I can't change the pictures being engraved, but I can change the letters to make it quicker. I would take the black fill out of the letters (make it "none") and just have a hairline outline (color code it as "cyan" and reduce the power and speed so it doesn't cut all the way through) that would save some time and still look nice. Then I would rearrange the parts so the engravings are closer together creating less space in between engravings for the laser to cover to engrave.
Step 3: Dry Fitting Your Parts
Everything cut out and fit perfectly! Sometimes I run into voids in the plywood (glue chunks or something) in between the ply's, which will happen and you have to recut.
Parts are: (4) sides, (1) top, (1) bottom and (2) parts for the butterfly.
Step 4: Sanding Your Pieces
Sand to prepare for the lacquer finish. I use a medium sandpaper and then a fine grit to finish smooth . Blow off your wood thoroughly with your air nozzle, getting all dust out of the cracks.
Step 5: Putting on Your Lacquer Finish
I like to lean my parts on a scrap piece of wood to finish - so they don't stick to the cardboard. I use a quick drying lacquer that is low odor. Put two coats on each side, sanding (very fine grit - the black wet/dry sandpaper is great!) in between coats for a perfect finish.
Step 6: Glue Your Box
I used Gorilla Super Glue to glue this - but I think using wood glue would be the better choice. That is what I normally use, but making a box that is only 1/8" thick, super glue seemed to work fine....so far.
Step 7: Spots
Originally, I did not engrave the spots on the back part of the two piece butterfly. I made another one with engraved spots which makes it much easier to see exactly where to paint the white.
Step 8: Painting the Two Piece Butterfly
I used a good quality spray paint for this. The front is black - you can paint both sides as I did, but only the front is going to show. The back part I also painted orange on both sides. Then paint the spots white with acrylic paint. The white spots didn't show as nice as I wanted with it put together, so after it's glued you can put your small paint brush in each hole for the spots and make it more defined, then wipe off excess white (if any) with a damp cloth.
Step 9: Glueing the Butterfly Together and Attaching the Magnets
Super glue worked well to glue these two pieces together. The only problem is you have to work fast and get it together just right before it dries. You might want to practice putting it together before you put the glue on it so you know the right spot to put your fingers after the glue is on and you're putting it together. Mine slid just a sliver - but I touched up the edge with a black marker and it looks fine.
I used neodymium magnets for the back of the butterfly. I glue these on with a polyurethane glue. Super glue will hold, but from my experience, they will fall off over time with super glue. They won't fall off with the polyurethane glue.
Here's a 4 page growing instructions booklet for the Milkweed seeds. I printed from corel draw to my printer and cut out with scissors and stapled together. Fits just right in the box. I attached the dfx file for this.
Step 11: Bag of Milkweed Seeds
I went out and found some Milkweed seeds this fall. I put (25) in a small 3" x 3" plastic bag and labeled it. You probably could get fancy if you want with a typed label. I just used a marker.
Step 12: Finished Product!
There you have it, your Save the Monarch Butterfly Kit!
It contains: One box, 4 3/8" square x 2 3/8 high (a place to save all the seeds you find in the upcoming years), a life size Monarch Butterfly to hang on your fridge, Milkweed seed growing instructions and, of course, the Milkweed seeds!
Have fun and help save the Monarch Butterflies!