To collect spider webs and preserve them for demonstration.
Spider webs are one of the most beautiful and complex creations of any type of insect. Not only are they useful to spiders by collecting their food, they’re useful to humans by helping to keep unwanted insects such as flies and moths from overpopulating.
- Area present with several spider webs or the ability to travel to find spider webs
- Can of aerosol hairspray (try to find one without CFC’s) or a can of spray glue
- Can of silver or gold spray paint, or baby powder, cornstarch, talc or flour
- Sheet of black construction paper
- Can of spray varnish (clear)
- Cardboard box slightly bigger than your sheet of black construction paper
Estimated Experiment Time
A few hours, once you get the hang of it
- 1. Find your spider web and make sure the spider is not near it.
- 2. Hold the box behind the spider web and proceed to spray the web with your spray paint or blow the cornstarch or talc on it to completely cover the web. Make sure that you do not harm or damage the web in any way during this process!
- 3. Spray the black sheet of construction paper with hairspray or spray glue while it is in the box – the box’s purpose is to protect the surrounding vegetation from harmful chemicals during the collection process.
- 4. Before the hairspray or glue dries, quickly sweep the spider web on to the paper from behind. Don’t pull the web away from what it is attached to – instead, simply remove the strands with your fingers.
- 5. Once again, place the sheet of paper with the spider web on it inside the cardboard box and spray it with clear varnish, coating it evenly. This will create a protective shield over your spider web and also help adhere it to the construction paper.
When you begin collecting spider webs, you’ll need practice. It will take a few tries before you get a spider web positioned and preserved well, without it breaking or sticking together. Make sure you have plenty of supplies to allow for several tries.
Many people, including friends, parents and classmates will enjoy looking at how you’ve preserved the spider web. Metallic silver or gold paint can make the web stand out against the black background even more, making it seem like a work of art – and it truly is!
At the end of this experiment, you will have a beautiful mounted spider web that can be displayed for months!
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