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Discussion Starter #1
I'm preparing a framed mounted display of flies. The basic challenge is to position the flies so that they will stay in place indefinitely, but without being slimed with glue or looking like a spider's unfortunate victim.

I was once presented with a framed fly display. The flies were attached to little wood dowel sections glued to the backboard. The hook points were stuck into little holes near the front of the dowels, with a speck of glue. The display looked fine. But over time, about half of the flies (behind glass, of course), came loose and fell to the bottom of the frame.

I made a framed display a few years ago. I worked out a method that involves two tiny holes in the backing paper, a needle and thread, and two collar buttons on the back side of the holes. It was secure, but tedious to attach each fly at the eye and hook bend.

Searching online, I found not one, but two promising alternatives: tiny magnets, which could be glued to the backing paper, and glue dots: little plastic discs with sticky surfaces and peel-off paper backing; popular for student's craft projects. Both are inexpensive and would be easy to attach to the backing paper. My question is, how long would the glue, or the magnatism, last? Any thoughts?
 

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I don't think that either magnets or glue dots are the answer for a permanent solution. I use the small clear adhesive "bumpers" for temporarily mounting flies in baseball card holders, but I wouldn't trust their longevity for more than a few years before the adhesive breaks down and the fly falls. Thread/wire and some small, clear beads is certainly tedious, but definitely the most secure method.
 

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go to the craft store and look in the bead section, you will find little clear cylinders, get some very thin SS wire. wire through the bead looped to the back of the fly and one at the head. You can actually push the bead into the backer board and near invisible.
 

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some of the best displays I've seen are dioramas with the flies stuck (well) into branches.
the clear bead application described above does sound the best though... I've also used glue and tiny white filters for rolled cigarettes as substrates.
the first time I used a painted white dowel but of course the glue bollocksed the paint.

cheers,
shawn
 

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How I Do It Anyway

This may sound a bit tedious, but once you get the hang of it...no problem

I use clear glass beads, brassie size black Uni-Wire, a bodkin and some 5 minute epoxy.

I set fly in place, mark the backup material behind the eye and at the balance point in the bend. Remove the fly, make 2 holes at each of those points. Then take several inches of the wire, fold into a loop and put through the glass bead. Be sure to maintain a loop large enough to slip over the hook after you put the wire through the 2 holes in the backing. Then gently pull the wire up tight and twist the wire behind the backing. Once the fly is stabilized the wire can be more tightly twisted to hold the fly rock steady. Bend the wire in the back over, mix up a small batch of the epoxy and apply a small spot where the wire comes through.

At this point have a cup of coffee and allow the glue to dry. The mounted fly is now ready for the frame.

The attached photos aren't the best from a few years ago...but they should illustrate well enough what I do.
 

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I use an approach similar to CSF, but I use small HMH tubing and heavy tying thread. I also mount my backing board on 1/4 in foam core so the tube has a better base support. A loop of thread half way around the bend, and another right behind the eye will do for most. I've mounted a few 4/0 and larger, and usually use three post/loop combinations- one at the barb, another at the rear of the fly, and the third behind the eye.

I tape one end of the thread loop to the back of the board, then thread through the tube, which is slid into a hole in the backing board and foamcore, around eh hook, and back through the hole, snugged tight and taped. Once all the flies are mounted and wiggled to where I want them, I put a drop of epoxy on the end of each tube where they emerge in the rear from the backing board.

I've used the techniques on and off for years, cobbing together different ideas I saw when I ran a framing shop after college.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all for the excellent ideas. I think I'll stay with my collar button backing method. They're cheap, thin, and have more than ample surface area to resist pull. Black or bronze wire is probably more durable than even heavy thread, which might have to resist centuries of UV rays from light. I find that thread around the rear of the hook bend and through the eye holds flies securely, and is unobtrusive in appearance.
 
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