Skip to Content

How To Make Fun Faux Framed Moth Taxidermy

Upcycling projects don’t always have to be practical and functional. They can also be fun and frivolous. That’s especially true of this upcycled denim moth taxidermy.

I love to upcycle fabrics, especially the little scraps that people often don’t think are worth keeping. I have a big bag of colourful printed fabric scraps and bits of old jeans waiting to be transformed into something fun.

There are many cool adult craft ideas on the blog, where I’ve upcycled fabrics into fun things such as flowers, whole succulent gardens and beautifully crafted denim and tartan feathers. This is the first time, though, I’ve attempted insect taxidermy.

Moth taxidermy body parts

Fabric Butterflies and Fabric Moths

Initially, I had the idea of making denim butterflies, but I changed my mind. I decided to make moths instead. Both insects are very similar. Butterflies are beautiful and the show-offs of the insect world, but I prefer the understated coolness of moths.

Moths, on the whole, are less pretty than butterflies and tend to be duller in colour. But some moth species often have hidden flashes of beauty that only show when in flight.

I could capture this with my fun taxidermy by creating two sets of wings for each moth—the top wings in denim and the bottom set in a more colourful fabric.

These denim fabric moths were made using a sewing machine, but they can easily be made as a no-sew upcycle project. Instead of stitching the fabric wings together, they could be glued with fabric glue.

Creating a Moth Taxidermy Specimen Display

Once I started making these upcycled fabric moths, I couldn’t stop. Soon I had a bit of a collection of faux moth taxidermy. I love upcycling denim and using scraps from several old pairs of jeans. It is a great way to show off the wonderful different shades of indigo denim that come in.

Every fabric moth was made from a different shade of denim and patterned fabric. I thought a fun way to display these moths would be in a traditional insect display case.

The idea of displaying real insects in specimen cases these days, as they did in the past, seems ethically and environmentally dodgy. However, I thought it would be OK with this faux taxidermy.

I even gave each of my upcycled denim moths a faux scientific Latin name to add to the effect. I mounted the fabric moths using the same insect pins that entomologists would use.

The denim moths featured in the alphabet of denim crafts, under the letter M. And in this collection of butterfly crafts for adults.

We’re a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What You Need To Make Fabric Moth Wall Art

  • Scraps of denim and fabric in various colours. When I say scraps, I mean scraps, as you only need tiny pieces of fabric for each moth.

You might have a favourite old patterned shirt or blouse that you want to turn into a moth. Fabric swatch samples would also work well with this upcycle project—the more colourful, the better.

denim and fabric scraps
insect mounting pins

How To Make Fabric Moth Taxidermy

1.. Print off the moth template and cut out the pattern pieces. There is a template for the top wings, one for the underwing and the body.

scrap fabric moth template

2. Fold over a piece of scrap denim that is double-thickness. Or use a denim pocket from a pair of jeans. Place the larger upper wing template on top of the denim right sides up and draw around with the tailor’s chalk.

Do the same with the moth’s body.

Chalking out the moth pattern
Chalked out moth pattern

3. Next, sew around the moth denim wing shape using a sewing machine, following the chalk marks. I set my sewing machine to a small zigzag stitch setting.

Then cut out the wing shape as close to the stitching as possible.

Top tip: If you don’t have a sewing machine, stick the two pieces of fabric together with glue instead of stitching. Then cut the shape out following the chalk lines.

Cutting out stitched wing

4. Cut out the two denim body pieces. Stitch them together, leaving a small hole. Stuff the moth body with fiberfill and then stitch it shut. Cut two small wire antennae from the craft wire and stick them into the moth’s body head.

making body
Stuffing the body
finished taxidermy moth body

5. Next, make the colourful under-wings the same way as the denim wings using the pattern for the smaller wings. But this time, use the colourful scraps of patterned fabric.

Making under-wings for moths
upcycled denim and scrap fabric moth wings

6. Carry on making the moth taxidermy body parts in different shades of denim and colours of fabric. I made enough to make nine upcycled denim faux moths.

upcycled denim wings and bodies
Faux moth under-wings

Putting the Upcycled Denim & Fabric Moths Together

7. Next, before putting the moths together, play around with the different combinations of upcycled denim wings and scrap fabric wings for each moth.

Playing around with wing combinations.

8. Once you have decided on the moth’s wings, it’s time to put them together. I used super glue gel with a brush for this. Firstly, I brushed the moth’s body sides with a small amount of glue.

Then I placed the body on top of one of the scrap fabric wings and stuck the underwings to the body. Ideally, the wings should stick to the sides of the body, so they are slightly raised.

Gluing the wing to the body

9. Again, stick the wings onto the top of the moth’s body using the super glue gel. Don’t forget to add a wire antenna if you haven’t already.

Carry on putting the moths together until all nine are made.

Making faux moth taxidermy
Faux denim scrap fabric moth taxidermy

Putting the Mounted Moth Insect Display Together

10. I wanted to display these scrap fabric moths as wall art in the style of old-fashioned insect taxidermy. This involved using insect mounting pins. So that the pins fix easily, I cut foam board to fit the base of my frame.

foam board frame

11. To add to the vintage insect display vibe, I made labels for the faux moths. I found a vintage-style handwritten font called Tell Us. You can make your moth names or download mine here.

To give the moth labels an aged look, I brushed them with diluted coffee.

Labels for denim moths

12. Next, play around with the moth display for how it best fits your frame. I arranged my moths for the insect display frame in a three-by-three layout.

palying with moth display layout

13. Once you are happy with the arrangement of the insect display, fix the moths in place. I used three insect specimen pins for each moth—one in the body’s centre and one for each denim wing.

pining moth taxidermy to insect display.

14. To finish this fun faux insect display of moths, I glued the labels to the foam board. I just used a simple glue stick for this.

How to make a faux insect display of handmade upcycled fabric moths
upcycled denim moth taxidermy
upcycled denim moths

My whole nature-loving family loves this faux insect taxidermy moth display. It is now hanging in my lounge. There is a tutorial for the Shibori indigo plant holder in the photo here.

Framed faux moth specimen display

The moth display also looks good next to the pom pom jeans flowers, denim bunny and the cute denim mushrooms I have also made.

You can set them free if you think it’s even cruel to pin faux moths in a display.

upcycled fabric moths
Yield: Denim and scrap fabric moths

Denim Moth Taxidermy

Framed faux moth specimen display

Make a fun piece of wall art inspired by vintage insect displays of the past. Use your denim and fabric scraps to make some cute faux moths and then frame them in an insect display box.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Scrap pieces of denim from old jeans
  • Colourful pieces of scrap fabric
  • Fiber fill
  • Moth pattern free to download from the site
  • Insect mounting pin
  • Frame and foam board
  • Super glue gel
  • Tailors Chalk
  • Thin craft wire


  • Sewing machine


  1. Print and cut out the free moth template.
  2. Place the large wings and body shape on doubled up denim scraps. Draw around the shapes with tailor's chalk.
  3. Using a sewing machine stitch around the chalk mark. Use a small zig-zag stitch setting on the sewing machine.
  4. Cut out the stitched wings and body pieces as close to the stitches as possible.
  5. Repeat with the small wing on colourful fabric scraps.
  6. Sew the two body pieces together. Leave a small hole for stuffing with fiberfill.
  7. Stuff the moth body and then sew it shut. Make an antenna for the moth from the craft wire.
  8. Glue the colourful small wings to the base of the moth body.
  9. Then glue the denim wings to the top of the faux moth's body.
  10. Repeat and make eight more moths in different combinations of fabric and denim.
  11. Back a plain frame with foam board.
  12. Print off Latin labels for the faux moths. Cut them out and age the labels with diluted coffee.
  13. Using insect specimen pins, pin the moths to the foam board. Use three pins for each moth one in each wing and one in the body.
  14. Glue the aged labels to the foam board, one under each moth.
Framed faux moths insect display

If faux nature-themed crafts are your thing, you should also check out my fabulous vintage fabric mushrooms art display and these other butterfly craft ideas.

Plus, I have more ideas of things to make with fabric scraps here.

Tracy King

Thursday 13th of August 2020

These are so incredible! I am amazed by your creativity and abilities. Thanks so much for sharing!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 13th of August 2020

Aww, thank you so much 😊

Michele M / Finch Rest

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Wow!!! That craft decor idea is absolutely unique. You did a fabulous job - and to be honest, they actually look REAL.

I am old enough that I remember actually doing butterfly and moth collection for school - yours is so much less creepy. I HATED killing those beautiful winged creatures. Ewww. Just ewww. It wasn't me at all - but this, this I truly admire!

So clever@!!!

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

I know it seems unbelievable that we used to kill those beautiful creatures just for display purposes. Thank you so much.


Sunday 12th of July 2020

This is such a creative and fun idea!!! I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing it at Charming Homes & Gardens!

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 12th of July 2020

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Saturday 11th of July 2020

Can you show how you made the Deming flowers

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 11th of July 2020

There is a link to them in the post. I have two denim flower tutorials on the blog just click on these links and you'll go straight to them, the ones in the post and some denim roses.

Kathy A

Friday 10th of July 2020

What a great project! I was a butterfly/moth collector as a kid. They were mounted on a blanket inside a large dress box--until my brother and I played with a large ball and it bounced into the, I prefer to just take pictures of them! My dad was a ham radio operator--and a night bird. Several times my poor mother awoke to a kitchen full of her glasses all trapping live moths that he and us 2 kids had caught in the middle of the night! Pictures--and faux--are so much kinder!

Claire Armstrong

Friday 10th of July 2020

That all sounds a bit mad! Thank you so much

Skip to Instructions