Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Capture  a Garden  Spider's  WebWeb.png


Carolyn Nixon



A spider web is a truly beautiful piece of natural art, and you can capture a garden spider’s web and preserve it on a piece of paper.  You will need a can of quick drying spray paint, a piece of stiff paper such as poster board, a pair of scissors, and several newspapers.   Use a dark-colored paint, such as black or brown, if you use white or light colored paper; use white paint with  dark-colored paper.


Find a nicely formed spider web.  It will work best if it is not wet from dew or rain.  Cut your paper so that it is larger webcatcher.pngthan the web.   If the spider is present, shoo it from the web.  You do not want to injure the spider as it is beneficial to the habitat.  The spider will make a new web once its old one is gone.


Hold the can of paint about a foot from the web and spray it at an angle to the web.  Spray paint on both sides.  Have a partner hold up a piece of newspaper to catch the paint that misses the web.  Quickly place your piece of stiff paper against the web, lifting the web onto it.  Have your partner cut the long silk threads that hold the web to the supporting plants.


Lay your collected web on a flat surface for several minutes while the paint dries. Write the date and location where you collected the web on the paper, and the species of spider, if you know it.  You can either spray the collected web with clear acrylic to protect it or place it in a picture frame with a piece of glass or plastic in front of it.  

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