How to Make & Use a Relaxing Jar

How to Make & Use a Relaxing Jar

Sometimes insects you collect may get too dry and brittle before you have time to pin them. Their body parts are easily broken when you try to pin them or spread their wings. Butterflies and moths are good examples of this. Dry specimens should be relaxed before they are pinned or their wings spread. A relaxing jar is used to put moisture back into dry insects so they will be more flexible. You can make one easily according to the following directions.

Materials Needed:

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How to Make:

  1. Pour one inch of sand in the bottom of the jar.
  2. Make 1/2 cup solution of water and disinfectant. (Follow the label directions of the disinfectant for making the solution.)
  3. Pour enough of the solution on the sand in the jar to wet the sand.
  4. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit tightly in the jar over the sand.


How to Use:

  1. Place only a few dry insects in the relaxing jar at one time. Do not allow the insects to be piled on one another or touching each other.
  2. Place the lid on the jar, and let it stand for a few days to let the humidity build up in the jar.
  3. Check the jar every day to see that mold does not develop on the insects or that the insects do not get too soft and soggy. The disinfectant solution helps prevent some mold from developing, but if the insects are in the relaxer too long they may rot or mold anyway. Keep the insects spaced in the jar to reduce the risk of mold spreading from one insect to another.
  4. As soon as the insect is relaxed enough, pin or spread it immediately. Relaxed insects dry out again faster than freshly killed insects.