Paper Insect Collection tutorial

WARNING… don’t scroll down if you don’t like bugs. Hee!

 Say hello to my bug collection! My Paper Insect Collection! I love this thing… when I first described this idea to my mom… she was sort of grossed out. BUT, now that it’s finished she loves it… so do I. I love quirky little bits of art around my home. This is definitely quirky. The best part: you don’t have to kill bugs for your collection. Well, you could…. but, this is safer. Ha!

So, here you go! It’s mostly very simple… the most difficult part is cutting the pins for the bugs and gluing them onto the paper.


– A frame for your bugs. I found mine thrifting. It has space between the glass…. but, you don’t necessarily need to buy a frame like that. You can just take the glass out of a frame.

– Print out your freebie Paper Insect Collection pages. Here and Here.

– Pins (to make it look like you pinned bugs onto the paper)

– A white piece of paper

– Hot glue

– Scissors

– An acid-free marker.

Start by choosing which bugs you’d like to put in your collection. I chose my favorites and had to pick the right sizes to make them fit properly. Don’t be afraid to leave a white border around the bugs you cut. It makes cutting them so much easier…. and, if they are against a white background…. it won’t even matter.

Once you cut out your bugs… you can bend their legs/wings/etc. just to give them more life. Take your pins and poke a hole through the center of each bug.

Here’s the tricky part…. If your frame has space between the glass (like mine) you’ll need to trim your pins to the right height so they fit under the glass. BUT, if you have a frame that you just take the glass out of: you can put a cardboard or cork board background in the frame and pin the bugs right into the background.

Arrange your bugs ahead of time… to see how they’ll fit into the whole frame.

Next glue the pins to your paper bugs so they don’t slide. Then, glue the pinned bugs onto your background. You may need to glue some parts of the bug…. like legs or parts of their bodies to the paper so they stay in place.

Optional: add the names of your bugs to your insect collection. I honestly was not positive of the real names of all of the bugs… so, I guess a bit. Here are my guesses: green beetle with wings: Green Flower Beetle, beetle with pincers: Stag Beetle, shiny green beetle: Leaf Beetle, orange beetle with black spots on back: Face Bug, blue butterfly: Giant Blue Swallowtail, yellow moth: Lo Moth, pretty brown moth: Silk Moth, moth with two black wings and yellow body: Death Head Moth. Those are my best guesses. Or, you can just make them up. Hee.

 Here are your paper insects to print out: Here and Here.

Paper Insect Collection Tutorial

Enjoy! Let me know if you make your very own Paper Insect Collection…. And, there’s so many more ways you can use these bugs! Maybe a bunting? Have fun!

{Related Posts://Paper Terrarium//Paper Flower Frame//Teepee//}


  • Rita on said:

    I am a biologist/teacher. This week, I am teaching kids how to collect real insects and make collections. I will be sharing your idea (and giving you credit of course) with the families as a good option for making a collection without having to actually kill and pin the insects. I like the paper version also because a family could make a collection of exotic species that they would never actually see in their own area. This could be turned into a geography lesson by finding insects from different geographic locations.

    • Chelsey on said:

      That sounds like a fun project! I hope you and the kids have fun.

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  • alicia on said:

    Love this idea. And I think my kids would too. Thanks for the fun summer activity! 🙂

  • Ariel on said:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and came across this pin yesterday on Pinterest. My son, almost 4, and I did our own little version of it today (it’s on my blog if you’d like to see).

    As soon as I get ink for the printer we’ll definitley be doing something fun with the ones you made. Thanks again!

  • Eleanor on said:

    These are lovely. I'm printing one set for my LO to enjoy and a second set for my mom, who likes butterflies, too. 🙂

  • Emily S. on said:

    Bugs are so gross!! But paper ones are great.

  • silly eagle books on said:

    wow, this is so fun! thank you! my daughter has been asking if she could start a bug collection, but was a bit put off when I told her she would have to kill the bugs herself–this solves the problem nicely! Printing these out right now!


  • Sarahracine on said:

    Holy cow I’m so excited about this! I’m going to do it for my boys

    room. Gotta look for a frame….off to the thrift store!

  • Audrey on said:

    Very nice idea! Where did you get the bug images? Did you make those? I might have to make one of these things for my son's room!

  • aliviagrace on said:

    Very cool and quirky idea! Love it!

  • Moorea Seal on said:

    So totally awesome 🙂 I almost started an etsy shop a year ago with paper taxidermy, mostly things like this. But I didn't have time 🙂 So this is awesome, I'm totally going to print some out when I am back in Seattle!
    xo Moorea

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      I love paper. My favorite thing to work with. 😉 let me know how it goes! I want to see photos. 🙂

  • Emily @ Peck Life on said:

    Whoo hoo! I love these buggies – I'm partial to a cute beetle. 🙂 What a fun project!

  • Kara on said:

    Hahah too cute! I'm a bit terrified of bugs, but thanks for sharing!

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