Making semi-realistic butterflies for craft projects doesn’t have to be difficult. Even though there are several steps to this process, a little patience makes it easy to achieve. Once you’ve done one or two, you’ll be able to whip up a whole herd (a herd of butterflies?) in a short time.
Actually, a group of butterflies is called a “kaleidoscope“, though some people say swarm. I like kaleidoscope better.
You can use these butterflies in all kinds of vignettes, fairy gardens (inside only), floral arrangements; on wreaths, banners or pennants; as table decoration, or seasonal tree ornaments; or just to stick on anything around your home that needs a butterfly.
I found my butterfly stickers at the Dollar Tree. They’re actually wall decoration by “Main Street Wall Creations”. You can use any size stickers you like, but smaller butterflies need smaller wire and less felt. This tutorial is for butterflies no smaller than 2 1/2″ by 1 3/4″, and will work for larger sizes, as well- basically, life-size butterflies. Once you’ve mastered this size, adjusting your process and materials to smaller scale will be easier than you may think.
Black Sharpie Marker
20 Gauge Craft Wire
Black Felt Fabric
You’ll need 2 of the same sticker. Back one to the other so you end up with a double-sided butterfly. They won’t match up perfectly, and you’ll have a bit of white showing on some of the edges, but that’s OK. We’ll fix this. Trim as much white off as you can without cutting into the design of the wings on either side. Again, some white will show.
Using your black Sharpie marker, colour the white edges still showing on both sides of your butterfly.
See the difference a little Sharpie can make?
Cut 2 pieces of felt. One should be as wide as your butterfly’s body, and twice as long so it can wrap around from end to end. The second piece should be as long as the body.
Cut a piece of wire for antennae that will be bent in the middle and be proportionate to your butterfly. Using your needle-nose pliers, make a tiny loop at the end of each antenna.
Dab glue onto 1 side of your butterfly’s body. Add your felt. Hold the antennae at the top of the butterfly’s head, dab a little glue there and on the other side of the body, and wrap
the felt around the wire, adhering it to the body. Squeeze between your fingers while holding the antennae straight.
It’s a little tricky, and you may get glue fingers, but patience pays off as you can see in the picture. Let the glue dry before moving to the next step.
Cut 3 pieces of wire for the butterfly’s legs- 2 pieces the same length, and 1 piece about 3/4 the length of the others.
By using the thicker part of your pliers, or bending the wire around a pencil, bend each leg wire so the legs are the same length on each side, but you have a space between them as wide as the butterfly’s body. Notice the shorter legs are not as wide apart. This is because they fit at the “neck” of the body where it is narrower. Curve the ends of each leg inward.
Dab glue along the belly of the butterfly. Place your legs at 3 points on the belly:
a) The smaller legs at the neck;
b) A long pair at the bottom of the fat part of the body;
c) And the last pair halfway between the 2.
More patience needed here as you have to hold the legs in place as you add the smaller piece of felt to cover the belly, which will hold your legs in place.
Using a pencil, paintbrush, or something that will fit between the legs, support the legs so they stay up and weight it down to hold tight until your glue dries.
Once the glue is completely dry, use your pliers to grip the butterfly along its body, and gently bend the wings upward slightly from the body as shown in the picture.
Still holding the butterfly with your pliers, curl just the edges of the wings down.
Your butterfly can hold onto things with its legs, allowing you to use it in many applications- on flowers, on a branch, or wherever your imagination takes it.