Butterfly themed crafts are our favorite and my daughter and I really enjoy making these at home. It's a topic that is perfect for spring and summer because that's when you will see these creatures in abundance. Many children love to look out for these beautiful insects. Butterflies are often colorful with intricate wing patterns. No wonder they inspire so many fun projects and craft activities.
This particular project focuses on making use of colored and patterned papers. I tend to use brightly colored scrapbook papers for this. You will also need some chenille stems, also known as pipe cleaners, that are lots of fun for children to bend and twist into shape.
Young children can learn some really good skills with this activity. It can help with concentration as well as building up hand dexterity. The papers need folding in a specific way using an accordion fold. Kids also get the chance to use some creative flair by decorating the finished item to make it their own. Hang the butterflies up when finished as colorful and pretty handmade decorations.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed
- Some chenille stems or pipe cleaners in assorted colors
- Pretty patterned squares or rectangles of paper
- A pair of craft scissors
- Optional stickers, colored pens and embellishments for decorating
Luckily there are not many items that you need for this particular craft. You will probably already have what you need. The main item is paper. My daughter likes to choose some pretty and patterned papers for this activity but you can use a plain color construction paper as well. You want a paper that is not too stiff for children to fold and not too thin like tissue paper which tears easily.
The chenille stems come in a wide variety. We get them in big packs which include different widths, some which are thick and fluffy, and with patterns on as well like stripes. Using a range of these is good for creativity.
Children might also want to decorate the butterflies as well. They can add stickers, draw on the paper and add glitter. You might have a group of kids making this craft. The activity can last longer if you also provide ways for them to make their creations even more unique.
Step 2: Making an Accordion Fold
The child doing this craft needs to learn how to fold a rectangular piece of paper with a concertina or accordion fold. This fold makes a series of zigzags across the paper. Many adults know how to do this type of fold. If you don't, I have some written instructions as well as a video tutorial to follow. My young daughter makes this fold easily after I demonstrated it for her.
How to Make an Accordion Fold
- Place a square or rectangular sheet of paper in front of you. Have the tall or long side going straight up.
- Grab hold of the bottom of the paper. Pull it up slightly and make a horizontal fold across, about an inch or so wide. Make a firm crease in this fold.
- Now get hold of the sheet of paper. Lift it upwards and then place it so that the folded area is now at the top of the sheet, facing down towards the work surface.
- Pull the top of the sheet back and down towards you. Make it about the same width as the first fold and crease the paper to make another fold.
- Take hold of the paper, lift it up towards you. Place it so that the folded section is now at the bottom and the folds face downwards towards the work surface.
- Go back to the second step. Continue folding in this fashion until you reach the end of the sheet.
If you prefer to see how to make this fold, there are video instructions below.
Video Showing the Concertina or Accordion Fold
Step 3: Wrapping the Chenille Stem Around the Paper
Once you have folded the paper, it is time to wrap a chenille stem around. The chenille stem makes a fun looking butterfly antennae. This part is a little hard until children get used to the twisting action. Here's how I do it.
- Fold the stem in half and make a V shape with it.
- Pop the folded paper down into the middle of the folded chenille stem.
- Push the stem together so both sides meet up and trap the folded paper in the middle.
- Twist the chenille stem just above the folded paper to secure the paper in place.
- Spread out each stem piece to resemble antennae. You can even curl the ends around a pencil to make them look pretty.
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Step 4: Decorating the Paper Butterflies
Now children can enjoy beautifying their designs and making them unique. They can use scissors to round off the folded ends of paper on the wings. They can also cut patterns into the wing ends before opening the wings out. You can also use scissors to cut shapes into the sides of the paper before the folding starts. My daughter preferred to cut afterwards and either way works.
It is fun to paint designs on the butterflies using a white craft glue. You can then tip glitter or sequins over the top for added sparkle.
Folded Butterflies are Fun to Create and Make Cute Decorations
Once you've got some butterflies made, kids can decorate them in so many ways. They can draw on them, use glitter glue pens, add stickers, glue on sequins and many other decorative elements. They can make a beautiful decoration that they will love looking at once hung up.
Thread some cord or string under the antennae and tie at the top to make hanging decorations. This is a craft that can work well for younger children such as those who are at preschool and kindergarten. It may appeal to older children too.
Image Credits: The introductory image belongs to the author, Marie Williams Johnstone. All other images (unless watermarked with the author’s name) are product photos from Amazon.