by Robert C Murray
(Fernley, Nevada, USA)
This is how I made the lady beetle from a bicycle helmet, a food strainer, two sections of fireplace screen, some scrap steel rods, and two 1/2 glass marbles.
First I removed the old plastic 'skin', harness and straps from the helmet.(fig.1)
After cutting the vegetable strainer in half it was trimmed on an angle for the wing covers. I cut two pieces from an old fireplace screen and fastened them to the underside of the two pieces of strainer with craft wire and fastened that to the helmet with wire. Six pieces of steel rod were shaped and pushed through the helmet for the legs. The head was carved from a scrap piece of Styrofoam, pinned, and glued to the helmet. Push two small pieces of steel rod for the antennae. (fig.2)
The inside was filled with a mixture of cement and perlite (1:4) this also locked the leg pieces in place. When the mix was hard - about 24 hours a (slurry) coat of cement, sand, and bonding agent was painted over the entire piece. A second coat was applied the next day. (fig.3)
After the piece cured for a few days it was painted, the eyes were added, and the lady beetle was placed in the garden. (fig.4)
After two years out-of-doors and surviving the freeze-thaw cycle of the high desert summer/winters this garden bug was given a fresh coat of urethane and gifted to a relative and now lives in sunny Southern California.
Woman of Many Sticks reply:
Oh Robert, you truly are amazing! That is the cutest thing. I'm so happy that your Lady Beetle will be spending her time in a lovely locale (where it's warm) and I just know that her new owners must be thrilled. Your generosity is second only to your skilled artistry!
Thanks so much for posting, and all the details.
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