Try the faux taxidermy trend with our Beautiful Bug Box. Give crafty critters a bright and contemporary makeover with Carolyn Letten’s stylish shadow box. Using pure silk fabrics and metallic threads, you can create a beautiful display that will shimmer in the sunlight and add a touch of sparkle to your home. The ultimate gift for lovers of the natural world, this stitched picture is the result of free motion machine embroidery that can be completed in just a few simple steps.
- Fabric: plain, deep pink, lilac; patterned, pale pink spots, neutral spots, pink crosshatch; organza, pink; scrap of grey plush
- Felt: white, assorted scraps
- Embroidery thread: neon pink, lilac, jade, purple, yellow, pale pink, orange
- Iron-on interfacing: light, medium weight l Sequins, five
- Square box frame, 18cm
- Aperture, 13cm
- Small embroidery hoop
- Water erasable pen
- Acid-free glue
Make the butterfly
Download and print the templates from sewmag. co.uk. Using the templates, cut out two pairs of butterfly wings from paper. Place deep pink fabric into an embroidery hoop, lay the paper template for the top pair of wings near the middle of the hoop and stitch around the edge of the paper using neon pink thread.
Machine embroider over the detail pen lines. Tear the paper away. Use assorted coloured threads to fill in the details as shown. Remove the fabric from the hoop, then back the wing with medium weight interfacing. Cut out the wing, leaving a 2mm border. Repeat this step with the bottom pair of wings using a pale pink spotty fabric.
Sew the moth
Place pink crosshatch print fabric into the embroidery hoop. Use the main detailed moth template to make a paper template, then use the plain moth template to cut out a piece of pink organza fabric. Place the organza in the middle of the hoop, then lay the paper template on top so the organza is slightly sticking out.
Using a lilac thread, machine embroider around the edge of the paper template and over the detail lines. Tear the paper away. Trim the bottom edge of the pink organza to the scallop shape. With a jade thread, machine embroider inside the two circles, then outline them with purple thread. Using neon pink, yellow and pale pink thread, fill the stripe sections. Remove from the hoop, back the moth with iron-on medium weight interfacing. Hand stitch six small sequins across the bottom of each wing, leaving a 2mm border. Cut it out.
Stitch the striped beetle
Place neutral spot fabric into an embroidery hoop. Using the template, draw the beetle onto paper and pin it onto the middle of the fabric. With a jade green thread, sew around the outside edge of the paper and all the details. Tear away the paper. Sew purple stripes next to the jade, fill the two oval shapes with purple machine embroidery, the top circle with jade and the narrow piece in between with neon pink machine embroidery. Remove the fabric from the hoop and back with interfacing. Hand stitch three small sequins to the head.
Leaving a fabric border of 1cm all the way around the beetle, cut it out of the fabric. Use the template provided to cut out large and small oval pieces of white felt. Lay the beetle wrong side up, then use a dab of acid-free glue to secure the smaller piece of felt to the middle. Use another dab of glue to secure the bigger piece of felt on top of that. Snip into the border of fabric all the way around at 5mm intervals. Fold each tab over onto the larger felt oval securing each one with glue. Set aside.
Make the spotted beetle
The spotted beetle is made in the same way as the striped beetle, but use lilac fabric in the hoop with purple thread, embroidering jade spots with an orange and yellow border. Add two small sequin eyes.
Assemble the shadow box
Cut the chosen background fabric at least 5cm bigger than the glass of the shadow box. Fold the fabric in half each way to create a crease that marks the centre of the fabric. Using the frame as a guide, place each bug where it needs to be. Using the templates and a water erasable pen, mark where the legs and antennae should sit. Remove the bugs and use the embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taut while embroidering the legs and antennae. Remove from the hoop and iron on the reverse.
Using the templates and grey plush fabric, cut out the butterfly and moth bodies. Place the butterfly over its antennae, using a little glue to secure the body and a dark brown thread to stitch around the edges and add the horizontal lines. Only sew the plush body so the wings remain free. Repeat for the moth, making sure to only sew the plush body. Cut the wings in half up to the plush body tail. Glue the beetles in place and mount to finish.