Paper Butterflies

Make these colourful and delicate butterflies to liven up your potted plants, a vase of flowers or stick them on a plain picture frame!

Materials needed;

White tissue paper
Flour
Bowl
Fork
Plastic plate
Silver plated wire, diameter 0.4mm
White cotton
Pliers
Selection of paint brushes
Watercolours
Scissors/scalpel
Greaseproof paper
Pencil
Masking tape
Small pritt stick foam pad or….
A wooden stick, small spring and glue gun
Old mustard jar
Modge Podge
Butterfly images

1. Select which butterfly you want to make by having a look around the net. This is a great site http://www.britishbutterflies.co.uk/ Try and pick an image which has a flat bird’s eye view of your as it will be easier when we start to draw it later on.

2. Next, mix the flour and luke warm water together in a bowl.

3. Now tear up pieces of the tissue paper and with a paint brush, spread some of the mixture onto your plastic plate and start layering your tissue on top of each other, flattening wrinkles with your brush. You can hold the plate up to a light to see the overall thickness. It should be a couple of layers thick at least. Leave to completely dry.

4. Whilst waiting for your paper to dry we can make the body. Cut some wire with your pliers roughly twice the length of the butterfly’s body in your reference picture. Double over and twist the wire with your pliers, making a little loop at both ends. Triple knot cotton thread into one of the loop and start wrapping it around the wire until you have a shape that resembles a body. Fasten and dip the entire body into the flour/water mixture and leave to dry.

5. Now we can start to draw our outline image to transfer onto the paper. As butterflies are symmetrical, tracing would give better results than freehand drawing. So to do this, take a small square of greaseproof paper trace the butterfly you have chosen. A light box is really handy for this but a glass lamp would also work well. When you have drawn all the details, turn the greaseproof paper over and go over the lines.

6. When your paper I completely dry, peel it off the plate. Secure the greaseproof paper with small bits of masking tape onto the paper and go over all the lines once more. Remove the greaseproof paper and you should have a faint image of your butterfly. Go over the outline again if needed.

7. Start to cut your butterfly out, either by using scissors or a scalpel, depending on the wings edges.

8. In my tutorial pictures, you can see that I started painting the butterfly when I hadn’t attached the body. This is because I was watching the 6 nations at the time and had a temporary lapse in concentration!
Before you start painting you can secure the body with Modge Podge and dab the flour mixture between the body and wings. Leave it to dry for a couple of minutes.

9. Start painting! I paint the main base colour first, then add the other little blocks of colour and then move onto the detail. Try not to over clog your brush with excess water as it will curl the paper edges. If the edges do curl though, it can be fixed with dabbing on glue and pressing it down for a couple of seconds

10. When you have decided that everything looks good and your happy with the butterfly you can either seal it with Modge Podge or leave it as it is, depending on what you want to do with it. If it will be going anywhere near water, like a vase of flowers, then sealing it would be a good idea.

11. If you want your butterfly to liven up a plain picture frame, just get a small sticky foam pad or even blue tac and…well….stick it on.
If you want it on a stick for a plant pot, just attach the spring to the stick, making sure its secure and glue the butterfly onto the spring using a glue gun. And there you go….your all done!

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