What could be more inspiring for young artists than butterflies? Nature at its best, butterflies provide unlimited arts and crafts opportunities to experiment with colours, patterns and designs. Paint, paper, modelling and colouring are all skills that children can try out when they are recreating these beautiful creatures.
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Coffee Filter Butterflies
Coffee filters are a cheap and clever material to use for arts and crafts. The paper has some great qualities which create wonderful effects. Drops and splodges of colour run and blend together in stunning random patterns. You can add the colour in a number of different ways.
For the youngest artist, use chunky fibre tip colouring pens. When they have daubed the filter paper with colours, spritz a fine mist of water over the filter and watch as the colours do their magic.
Older artists can paint the filters by using thin water paints, the colours will start to merge and run instantly. To mix the colours even more, add another mist of water.
When finished, the filters must be left to dry thoroughly. This will only take about thirty minutes. Complete the butterflies by pinching together the middle of the filter and twisting a length of coloured pipe-cleaner around the middle to secure. Add a little crook at each ‘loose’ end of the pipe cleaner to create the creature’s antennae.
This is a lovely use of arts and crafts skills and children will want to make lots of the little creatures at the same time. Suspend them all from curtain rails or tree branches during the summer to create wonderful and effective summer decorations.
A Butterfly Model
Start by using an empty toilet roll tube as the body of the butterfly. Get the children to decorate their butterfly’s body with paint, glitter and stickers. Don’t forget to stick on a pair of cute, googly eyes.
Take two pieces of rectangular paper, making sure that one piece is larger than the other. Fold both papers into a concertina. Secure the larger of the two at the ‘head’ end of the butterfly’s body and the smaller concertina at the lower end. Don’t forget, if the children want their butterflies to be extra colourful, they will find it easier to colour or decorate the paper wings before they are attached to the butterfly.
Finish the creation with a pair of antennae made from strips of curled paper or pipe cleaners.
Paint Effect Butterflies
Paint lends itself particularly well to creating butterflies. There are lots of different ways to explore making butterflies, especially for younger children.
- Paint a sausage shape on a piece of paper. Use painted hand prints to create the wings of the butterfly splayed out on either side of the ‘body’. The hand-prints could also be cut-outs stuck onto the paper as a collage.
- Often a child’s first experience of creating recognisable paintings are old-fashioned mirror prints. Crease a piece of paper at the centre and draw a thick line at the crease with paint to create the body, new paint one half of the paper with two overlapping circle shapes of differing sizes. Fold the paper together and press firmly. To the child’s delight, when the paper is opened, a beautiful butterfly emerges.
Don’t Forget the Caterpillar!
If you are going to create butterflies, use it as a spring-board to discuss the amazing natural phenomenon of the butterfly’s life-cycle. Then think about the ways you can craft a caterpillar to go with your butterfly.
Simple arts and crafts methods create a super caterpillar with lots of paper plates. The plates are decorated in various wild and wonderful ways. This is a great group activity as each child can create their own ‘segment’ which will go together with all the others to make up the caterpillar.
Stick the paper plates together so they overlap each other slightly to create a multi-coloured creature. Add eyes and antennae to the head segment and display for everyone to admire.
Butterflies never fail to raise the spirits. Make your own and try out colours, designs, special effects, arts and crafts. The sky really is the limit with these little creatures!