Dry-mounted permanent slides

Wings of insects, small insects and other small specimens do not have to be enclosed in a mounting-medium, they can also be dry-mounted. If they are completely dry, then they will also store for a long time.
Materials: microscope slide, cover glass, adhesive tape which sticks on both sides, sharp cutter knife.


  1. Make sure that the specimen in completely dry. You may first place the specimen in alcohol to withdraw water, and then let the alcohol evaporate. Note, that this procedure may deform the specimen, however.
  2. Stick a piece of the double-sided tape on the slide. The tape should have about the same size of the cover slip, or be slightly smaller.
  3. Using the knife (not suitable for children!), cut out a square in the center part of the tape and discard this piece of tape. You should now have a square “frame” of double sided tape on the microscope slide.
  4. Place the specimen into the center, it is now surrounded by the tape. The specimen should not be thicker than the thickness of the tape.
  5. Place a cover slip on the tape and carefully (!) press the glass against the tape. The tape will hold the cover glass in place. You should not apply pressure to the center part of the glass slide, or it may break. You could roll a round pencil over the cover glass to press it against the tape.
  6. Observe using low magnification. The specimen is not embedded in a mounting medium with an appropriate refractive index. The resolution of the image will therefore be lower at higher magnifications.

Suitable objects for dry mounting:

  • Wings of insects
  • Whole small insects
  • Scales of butterfly wings
  • Sand or soil particles
  • Dust samples
  • Dried skin, dandruff
  • Different types of paper, etc.

2 thoughts on “Dry-mounted permanent slides”

    1. Why not? Provided that the specimen is sufficiently dehydrated using an alcohol series and then xylol, I see no reason why not.

      I do prefer Euparal, however. Euparal is quite common for mounting etymological specimens and there is no need to use the poisonous xylol. You can dehydrate the specimen in alcohol and then directly transfer to Euparal. Euparal also has a slight clearing tendency, making the exoskeleton of the animals brighter.

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