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how to seal butterfly wings  RSS feed

 
thomas rubino
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Hi all; Not sure if this is the correct forum but... My wife (the artist) has been working with butterfly wings (responsibly obtained) lately ,attempting to seal the color in . Bright colors such as red & yellow darken but can be covered with a polymer, but any attempt with a blue color ends with failure. Clear tape can be used before polymer but the end result is not good enough. Hoping that somebody out there has successfully accomplished this and... is willing to share their procedure , I would be willing to $ . She has tried numerous things all to no avail , its driving her crazy and by association myself also.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Part of the trouble is that the wings aren't actually colored in the way you might think.


 
thomas rubino
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Thanks Craig: Great video ! She is aware of how the color is seen and is determined to find the way to capture that exact color. It has been a long summer of trying different methods and none are just rite. Thought I would put it out in the permies universe and see if anybody else has been down this road ahead of us and can point out a better way.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Thomas,

If I may suggest, try a local entomology department at a college or museum. I can share that my mother wanted to do this at one time herself as an Artist which got us all the way to the Smithsonian, and me into a having a keen interest of zoological and museum sciences. As far as I know (things may have changed some in the chemical treatments and other modalities of technique and formulations) these iridescent colors and other qualities are "muted" or lost after the animal has died and continues to degrade further if exposed at all to UV light. This happens in fish, reptiles, birds, and most living thing with these types of colors.

Good Luck, and let us know what you have learned,

j

 
Craig Dobbson
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Somewhere in that series of videos Destin shows that a wing can be wet with rubbing alcohol which removes all the color. BUT, once the alcohol evaporates the wing goes back to it's natural colors. I think the trouble is that once you apply any thing to the wing, that creates a layer of material that refracts/reflects the light before it gets to the wing surface. That's why the wing colors are "off" when anything is applied. You'd need a material that won't interact with the light before hitting the scales of the wing. That's some nano-scale stuff I would think. It's got to be possible though.

What exactly are you trying to seal them for? just curious
 
thomas rubino
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Thanks all..grabbed Tom's account just to say thanks.. I'm wanting to seal them to apply resin. I have a friend who is designing a dress and would like to make a bodice of these. I know it can be done as a few people making them for jewelry. Unfortunately, they won't share their secret. I've tried varnish, shellac, polyacrylic, sealer for pastel drawings, sealer for photographs, fabric hardener, sun and moon resin, ice resin, diamond glaze. This could be a rather profitable venture for me if I could figure it out. so if any of you have any ideas that I haven't tried...I would love it...thanks so much!
 
Craig Dobbson
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I just spent a few minutes seeking an answer to this question. It appears to be some sort of super craft secret that only a few people have mastered and are NOT willing to give up.
One thing that does come up time and again is that pressing them between glass is a sure way to maintain the colors. Perhaps you could find some super thin glass like the cover slips used for microscopy and use those to sandwich the wings. Once sandwiched, seal the edges of the glass with superglue or resin. If you embedded that in some epoxy, you might be able to maintain the colors and obtain nice polished pieces that aren't just flat shards of pretty. I'm just speculating though. At least if it's embedded in epoxy, you can form the piece more gracefully and not worry about breaking the glass.

 
thomas rubino
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Thanks Craig for looking...can't go the glass route as they will be sewn together to form a dress bodice. Most products ruin the colors...it's just driving me nuts because they are doing it with blue ones..
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Guys; Cruising the web this morning and came across this(http://www.google.com/patents/US20060194002 ) a patent on sealing / laminating butterfly wings . The "BOSS' has not had a chance to inspect this yet... hoping ... maybe... we will see.
 
andrea kovacs
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi Guys; Cruising the web this morning and came across this(http://www.google.com/patents/US20060194002 ) a patent on sealing / laminating butterfly wings . The "BOSS' has not had a chance to inspect this yet... hoping ... maybe... we will see.


Hello,

I am doing the same thing as your wife, a found some incredible beautiful dragonfly wings on a cruise from Europe.
I want to seal them with resin, and if I mess them up, I cant go back to search for some more. And may I say, they are blue.

I want to ask you if your wife succeeded with the procedure, and can you help me with THE knowledge of coating them before dipping them into resin?
Thank you

Andrea
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Andrea, I have no idea what resin will do to dragonfly wings, but I have a suggestion...go on etsy and buy a dragonfly ...and practice with one that can be replaced. search for real dragonfly or do a search on ebay...buy one cheap and see what happens...I also suggest you spend the money and buy Ice Resin...very high quality jewelry grade ..no bubbles to worry about and I've had mixing and curing success with every batch I've made.
 
Susan Strong
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I know this is an old discussion but I was just looking into this and happened to stumble on it. I also stumbled on an answer, for what your wife is looking to use them for she can probably skip the resin step entirely and just laminate them. Like straight up school days laminating machine style. This just came out not long ago. I have not tried it yet so I hope it works (for both of us) and that this is not too late to be of any help!

http://www.resinobsession.com/resin-tutorials/casting-butterfly-wings-resin
 
Sebastian Köln
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As already mentioned the blue scales contain small structures that create the blue color by interference effects.
This means that the color depends on the interface between the air and the scales (or their refrative index).

Embedding the scales in resin means changing the interface to resin - scale, which changes how the light interacts with the scales.
Now you will probably not find any resin with the same refractive index as air (1.0, best resin 1.3), so the only way to preserve the blue color is not to use resin.

I would also suggest to put the wing between two thin glass plates and to seal the edge. You could use a metal band to cover the edges (copper, silver, gold, nickel silver).
The whole structure should be possible within 1 or 2 millimeters, depending on the allowed brittleness and weight.
DSC_4423.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSC_4423.jpg]
zoom in to see the scales
 
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