Butterfly Display Case

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Project by Sawdust posted 03-23-2007 07:11 PM 3255 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this for my wife. The box is maple with a narrow cherry strip inlay. Covered with clear Lexan, it made a nice display for the types of butterflies that visit our home gardens in spring and summer. My wife provided the the branching tree ( she found it at a pottery outlet store, I think ), and, most importantly, caught the little fellers. She adds a new butterfly to it from time to time.

Corners are mitered and reinforced with cherry. Finish is natural with clear lacquer topcoat.

17 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4187 days

#1 posted 03-23-2007 07:17 PM

the display case is really nice—delicate looking.

and the branch idea is brilliant – it is no longer “just” a display of butterflies but a picture. Great idea.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 03-23-2007 07:20 PM

Very pretty! But don’t let PETA find out you’re exploiting those innocent creatures for mere decoration. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4300 days

#3 posted 03-23-2007 07:22 PM

Nice display case… I really like the inlay and the splined joints, looks great….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4124 days

#4 posted 03-23-2007 07:30 PM

Nice case. I like it. I like the spline work. What did you use for the glass? Plexi or regular glass?

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4341 days

#5 posted 03-23-2007 10:12 PM

Makes a nice display.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4427 days

#6 posted 03-23-2007 10:17 PM

Very nice display case. I’m glad she doesn’t collect birds.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4204 days

#7 posted 03-24-2007 02:06 AM

Nice work, SD. Is access to the case gained by removing the Lexan, or some other means?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4354 days

#8 posted 03-24-2007 02:53 AM

Very nice… inside and out.

sure beats a board with pins.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Matt's profile


119 posts in 4443 days

#9 posted 03-24-2007 03:19 AM

I have to agree with Max. Beautiful inlay and splines that set off the light color of the wood. Great job!

-- Straight grains & sharp blades

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4119 days

#10 posted 03-24-2007 04:11 AM

The framework is beautiful Sawdust. The mitre and spline work is just terrific. And I really like the tree idea alot. Amazing creativity that takes it from display to real art. Thanks for sharing.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Sawdust's profile


128 posts in 4434 days

#11 posted 03-26-2007 01:55 PM

Don -
A small screw at top and bottom holds the Lexan in place, and it lifts out easily once the screws are removed.

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4338 days

#12 posted 03-27-2007 03:57 AM


-- Jesus is Lord!

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4150 days

#13 posted 03-28-2007 05:43 PM

I ditto what the first posted said. I have a question do you do something with the butterflies to keep them longer or does she just dry them and put them in. I’m asking because I have always wanted a butterfly displace of some kind. I love this it is truely a work of art with the way it is all put together. I also think you whole wall display works well together and is very beautiful.


View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4354 days

#14 posted 03-28-2007 05:54 PM

I used to just dry them as a kid… (pin on a board) but they’d eventually crumble. Pressed under glass might be just enough to keep them together. But you shouldn’t do it right away, lest you trap some moisture under the glass as they continue drying.

I’m still laughing at Karson’s Bird comment ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Sawdust's profile


128 posts in 4434 days

#15 posted 03-28-2007 10:56 PM


She places the caught butterfly under a small plastic bowl placed upside down, and slips a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol under the bowl. The alcohol quickly puts the butterfly to sleep permanently, keeping it from struggling and thrashing about, tearing its wings, etc.

Then she just temporarily pins the wings open the way she wants them, and lets it dry for a short time before putting it in the display box.

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