Atlas Moth Restoration

I don’t usually take on projects involving restoring or reframing old insect collections because of the time and stress involved considering they are often very delicate and have sentimental value for the client. It really takes a careful hand and mind. Recently, I did take one on because it was a sentimental piece from a past customers (customer’s first!) — his grandfather’s old atlas moth displays (male and female).

pair of framed atlas mothsThe client wanted the pair of old atlas moths removed from the old frame and remounted into new insect displays with UV glass. The difficulty of restoring old insect displays is that the old insects are often brittle and decaying – from not being properly mounted. It takes time and a steady hand to restore them– if you can at all.

My first job was to remove the moths and insect the damage. After taking the female moth out, I noticed the body in bad decay and about to disintegrate. It also had a large rip in the wings, which I could not fix. The picture of the wing also shows an interesting characteristic of the wing — its appearance of a snake head to scare predators away.

atlas moth wing

Removing the atlas moths leaves an interesting impression in the old riker mount.

removing atlas moth from riker mount

The next picture illustrates the importance of UV blocking glass, which I use in my framed insect art. The atlas moth on the on the left (picture below) is a new specimen and the one of the right is over 50 years old. The colors are much more vibrant in the new one.

holding atlas moth

After examining the specimen, I coated it with a special adhesive that soaks into the body and strengthens it for remounting.

repairing atlas moth

The males body was so heavily damaged that I can to coat it with an epoxy resin, which was the only way to save it – gives the abdomen a shiny appearance.

After they dried, I remounted with with archival quality papers, UV glass and a sealed gallery display.

repaired atlas moth

You can purchase your own Atlas moth in my store.