Insects All Year
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University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

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Sticks, Leaves, Seeds...and Insects!

by Stephanie Bailey
Entomology Extension Specialist

Here are some ideas for making insect ornaments from easy-to-find natural materials. The insects crafted can be displayed as is, painted, made into mobiles, hung on the Christmas tree or in a window. I will give a few examples but the insects that can be designed from leaves, sticks and seeds are only limited by the imagination.

Materials needed:

  • Maple seeds
  • Acorns (top and bottom separated)
  • Sticks (straight and 'wiggly')
  • Ginko tree leaves
  • Other seeds, leaves, etc. as nature provides
  • All-purpose glue
  • String (optional)
  • Paint (optional)


dragonfly ornament
S.Bailey, 1995

Use straight sticks, 3-4 inches long, and 4 maple seeds. Very small seeds or beads can be glued on one end of the stick for eyes.

With green eyes, red bodies and gold wings, dragonflies make excellent Christmas tree ornaments! dragonfly ornament in Christmas colors
S.Bailey, 1995


The bottom half of the acorn is the abdomen and the top half or 'hat' is the thorax. Glue a small seed to the top of the 'hat' for the head. If the 'hat' still has a point on it, it looks alot like a male dung beetle!

Many beetles have beautiful colors and patterns in nature. Check out a book on beetles from your local library to get ideas for painting and decorating your acorn "beetles".


butterfly ornament
S.Bailey, 1995

Pick up ginko leaves with a notch in the center. Glue two leaves of equal size to a straight stick of a length equal to or shorter than the length of the leaves. Leaf petioles can be glued on for antennae. The wings can be glued on flat or at an angle to each other.


Use straight or wiggly sticks. Paint in outrageous colors.

Insects All Year cartoon courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 1998

Photographs courtesy of S. Bailey, University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Original document: 7 July 1995
Last updated: 20 January 1999

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