Beetle wing purse, a labor of love – Part 1

I figured I’d dust off this blog to document a new project I’m working on. If you know me, you know that I have a 7 year old daughter that is fascinated by bugs. She is fairly fearless when it comes to them.

We have taken her to the butterfly exhibit at the nature museum, and it was probably one of the best days of her life.

So, now you understand her love of bugs.

Well, by now you should know that I am very into making things, and crafts. Well, I was watching one of my favourite crafters on youtube, and I saw a beetle wing embroidery tutorial. My interests were piqued. So I watched it.

And then I watched it again.

I fell in love with this technique. Quite the coincidence that Sadie was a jewel beetle for halloween last year. So in researching this costume for her, I became familiar with them.

Now as a parent that reads a million bug related books to her aspiring entomologist, I know that the adult jewel beetles in Thailand have a life span of 3-4 weeks on average. The wings are harvested off the dead beetles.

*The “wings” are not really wings btw, they’re called elytra, and they’re the hard outer shell that protects the wings.*

So, I bought 100 beetle wings from a seller in Thailand. Since it was right before Christmas, my Christmas present plans weren’t going to happen. In fact, I only just got them yesterday. So, now my goal is to make her something with these beetle wings for her birthday. Her birthday is in May, so that gives me plenty of time to figure stuff out.

beetle wing

beetle wing. The lighting does not do them justice. I’ll take better photos later, but the inspiration pics show them off better.

My plan is to make her an embroidered beetle wing purse/clutch with a metal clasp/frame.

I am going with a blue, green and gold colour scheme like Angela did in her video, and I will also do up some similar beetles that she designed because, well, BEETLES!

Here is my rough sketch of what I’ll be doing with the wings.


beetle wing purse sketch 2

with wings placed


I had some child free hours today, so shopped for sequins, beads, and fabric. I’ll be waiting a while for the sequins and beads, but the fabric should arrive soon, and I can at least embroider the outlines for things while waiting for the rest of my supplies. I ordered an ivory and white linen, and it was wayyyyy cheaper online vs my local store.

If anyone is interested, I found a wikipedia article about beetlewing embroidery. Click here

So I’ll leave you for now with some of my inspiration as I wait on supplies to arrive. I should be back to update you all on the next part of this adventure, and maybe other things that are happening around here.

Some of my inspiration:

Angela Claytons design



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