Wire Sculpture - Female Pelecinid Wasp




About: I'm just me...and I suck at self promotion. So that's about as far as my "about me" is going to get for now.

This is something I recently finished. It is a crazy looking female wasp called a Pelecinid, they're common enough here in North America but I don't think they're too common elsewhere. Standing on a Silver Birch leaf.

I wish I had a picture of a real one of my own so I could upload it but you can do an image search in your favourite search engine online for "female pelecinid" or "pelecinus polyurator" to see more examples (or click the link below). The females have the groovy tails, the males are more regular looking type wasps.


This instructible isn't very instructive, it's mainly just a few work in progress shots I took during creation for consult with or approval from the client. He seemed fairly happy with the end result, I'm waiting to hear how the person he gives it to feels about it, they're both Entomologists so they'll be excellent judges for the subject matter.

Step 1:

Here's how things start. Usually there's a "skeleton" and/or an "outline" of the subject which is then added to, bulked up, etc. So, the evolution of the leaves went something like: do the outline of the leaf edge, attach the main vein, general shape bent to form, stem bulked out, other veins added and shaped. Then the same process for the other two leaves was done at a smaller scale, then the three were attached. Final image has a mocked up pelecinid I had made in the early stages negotiating with the customer, if you look closely you may notice it looks off compared to the finished version, and that's why.

Step 2:

And the insect came into being like this: skeleton parts assembled, tail and body attached, bulked out, legs and wings attached, more bulking out of the body and tail. Then the legs were bulked out, wings shaped and detailed. Lastly the head and antennae were shaped.

Step 3:

And of course, the last step is putting it all together, attaching it to the base and painting it up.

I really wanted to take more pictures...better pictures...of the finished project but time got away from me and I was really hard pressed to finish it on time. It was meant to be given as a christmas present and it was BARELY dry to the touch when it was picked up on the 24th. So I didn't get a chance to set up the lights and camera...



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    9 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I guess I'll never get tired of hearing that!

    Having seen your 'ibles, I should let you know, I work for food, if you want to work out a little deal! *nudge nudge, wink wink*


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. I love the closeup of the face in step 2. Do you work from a picture? If so, may we see? :)

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Generally, yes, I'll use picture references. For the head I can't find the site I used, but if you go here and scroll down to the Figure 4 picture, it's got one of the same pics I was using at the time (you'll know it when you see it, I think):


    And here's a wide variety of pics of the bug:



    7 years ago on Introduction

    totally awesome ! I'm kind of bummed there aren't more pics of the process so I could try my hand at it but I'm favoriteing this for further study and who knows...

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I'll be documenting the next project I do and creating a fairly detailed instructable. So, some day in the not TOO distant future...I'm just trying to decide what to do next, probably do a Demoiselle butterfly but I really want to do a Velociraptor dinosaur (the lizard ones, not the birdy ones, I don't care how they were or weren't before they all died off). I also want to do some skeletons, like a hand, bird, bat, lizard...dino...etc. So much to do and so little time to do it in!

    In the interim, if you have any questions, I'll do my best to help sort out any issues you come across. I'd love to see anything you come up with.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I know the feeling, I work in a lot of mediums and often have multiple projects going and another 100 in my head. I've done several wire sculptures over the years from small sports figures to a 3' dolphin and have several failed dragon beginnings but thats the life of an artist right? For every canvas I show there's probably 7 waiting to be stripped and re primed. Whats got me the most is the head, what size is the finished piece and what size wire are you using?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I believe we are kindred spirits in that way. It's nice to know I'm not crazy.

    Well, the plaque it's standing on is a 12" x 8" pine, the whole thing is about 14.5" x 8" x just over 9" tall including the base (roughly 37 x 20 x 23 cm). The head is about 17 or 19mm (about 3/4") across the widest part of the eyes when you look strait at it, if memory serves. Mostly done with18 to 20 gauge (around 1 mm diameter) galvanized wire from the hardware store. The body, antennae and tail had a central spine of a rigid steel, called music wire, it's just a really tough rod that doesn't bend easily, used to help maintain the shape long term. Got it from the local hobby shop, heard you can get similar wires some times at music stores, piano wire, guitar wire (not the braided ones), etc, but the stiff steel rods at the auto shop or hardware stores would work too, just harder to find the thinner sizes but it's not really required to use the extra rigid wire (unless you're doing something different and the weight becomes too much for the wire to maintain). Some parts on the tail and legs were wrapped in 26 to 30 gauge floral bright wire from the art shop (floral section at art/craft stores, walmart, michael's and the like would have it). I think it's just a coated steel, nickel plated, something like that but it's not labeled usually.

    There are several other examples of my wire work in my other, for lack of a better word, instructable (it's just pictures again, no real info, but if you haven't seen it yet...).