Stag Beetles in June

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Stag beetles can be seen in the South of England between May and August. Typically they emerge in June from their underground homes where they lived for 6 years as larvae munching on rotting wood. The males stag like mouth parts are much bigger than the females and are used for fighting off rival males. They are endangered in this country and it is thought to be because of a lack of available wood and the destruction of wood containing larvae.

I am amazed by their stag like ‘antlers’ and huge size for a beetle in the UK – although while living in Africa all the insects seemed to be ‘super-sized’!! After reading about their endangered status I was inspired to create an art journal page about them.

I wanted to add resin embellishments to this page in the form of stag beetles because it would make them really shiny. I didn’t want the pages to close on them so I added foam tape to 2 of the edges on each page and covered it with washi tape (click on image below to see full sized picture of this). Some of the sticky tape was still exposed so I dusted it with anti-static powder.

Next I added distress oxides to the central background but later I went over this again to give a more blurred effect. I apply the distress oxides from refill bottles using a blending tool (click on image below to see full sized picture of this).

To add embroidery to my page to create texture on the pieces of ‘wood’ I make 2 shapes from copy paper and then collage these with pages from a book (click on image below to see full sized picture of this and the embroidery). I use Neocolour crayons to add wood patterns and blend these out with a baby wipe. I would have added more embroidery but my machine has a fault and isn’t running very well. (I have since replaced it).

I created the stag beetles by drawing them on some patterned paper and then adding UV resin. I give the resin a quick cure before doing the next beetle and then leave them both under the lamp for 10 minutes or so to cure off all the sticky surface (click on image below to see full sized picture of this). I think I could have made the stag beetles a bit bigger really. To attach them to the page I used gel medium and added a heavy weight on top to ensure contact – the beetles had bent up a bit during the curing process but stuck to the page fine with the gel.

Finally I added a gold ink title and some ink splashes. There was plenty of space to add more journaling if I had wanted.



I hope this has given you some ideas to use in your own journals. Sewing and resin both have a lot of potential to give textural effects and create page mementos.

See the video of this spread on YouTube

Thanks for stopping by xx

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