15. How to Make Paper Butterflies

Paper Butterflies

This episode is subtitled: “A lazy week…”

Do you ever get a week where not much is happening? We’re fairly quiet in Tulips so we keep taking it in turns to nip next door for a coffee and a cake in Teacups (bit naughty really!). I should have taken the opportunity to spend time on a big crafty challenge but instead I went for something quick that you can do in less than and hour this week.

I chose to use paper, even though papercraft isn’t my strong point, but there’s a lot of inspiration on the internet so I scoured Pinterest until I found these lovely paper butterflies. They are very simple to make; in fact, the tutorial that I followed was designed for children. Obviously, in this Salvage Box post they are made from recycled paper instead of the coloured paper used in the original tutorial, plus I thought I’d turn them into a picture by gluing them to an art canvas to give the butterflies a bit more of a purpose. I realise they will be a nightmare to dust but they are so simple and cheap to make that when they get too dusty I’ll probably just use the canvas for something else.

Blue's signatureStart by choosing some paper – maybe some colourful pages from a magazine or an old Laura Ashley catalogue like this one. It’s great because the pages are already set out with the colour schemes.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies
I cut out three squares that were 10cm x 10cm and two that were 9cm x 9cm because that was what was available on the page, even though I knew I’d not fit them all on the picture (but they are so quick to make it didn’t matter and it meant that I could choose which looked best when they were all done).

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

If you are using recycled paper then your squares are likely to have a front (with your chosen colour scheme) and a back (with boring colours or writing on) which is fine because you only get to see the front in your finished design.

There is quite a bit of folding which is difficult to describe. I will document it below, but I got my method from a video by foreverymom.com so this will help you if you get stuck.

Start by creating four folds across your square…..

….two of them are created by folding corner to corner diagonally (first one way, then the other)…

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

…the final two are created by folding the square in half lengthways, first one edge, then the other.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

So when you open out your square it looks like this.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Then you need to tuck in the middle triangles at each side of your square.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

You will end up with a triangle with the bottom open.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Then fold the triangle in half so the two corners that were at each side of the open bottom edge are now on top of each other.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Take a pair of scissors and round off those corners that are now on top of each other. Leave the other two corners as they are.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Open it out, just one fold, and lie it down with the pointed corner at the bottom and the rounded corners at top right and top left. At each of the two rounded corners the paper is four layers thick. Fold two of those layers down towards the point on both the right and the left so they meet down the middle.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Then turn it over and lift the point from the bottom so a bit of it peeps over the top of the straight edge at the top. You will be forcing two little wings to follow up slightly but that’s correct. Tuck the point over onto the other side.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

This point is now on the top of your butterfly and as you crease it over from the back, also pinch the left and right wings together from underneath. And there you have it!

I made the rest of them from the catalogue pages and chose which ones I liked the look of best (notice that the one I photographed didn’t make the cut!).

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

At the last minute, I decided I’d paint the canvas blue so that took another few minutes.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Then I glued the bottom two wings of each butterfly into place using PVA glue. At this stage I also put a bit of glue on the point at the top that had been folded over from the back. This is origami so glue shouldn’t be necessary but one of mine did pop out so I thought it would be safer to do this.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

For a finishing touch I added some details with a Sharpie, directly onto the painted canvas.

salvagebox.co.uk - paper butterflies

Tips:

  • Start with a perfect square and make neat folds.
  • If you’re making a few then it might be worth making a cardboard template to save you (or the children) measuring every time.
  • Add a bit of glue if you think the ‘head’ of your butterfly isn’t going to be secure enough (although this does take away some of the origami authenticity!).
  • Watch this video from foreverymom.com if my instructions are hard to follow.

Salvage Items:

  • Old catalogue pages

They are very sweet and you could use them as an alternative to table confetti for a party or a wedding. Can you think of any other uses for them? Please let us all know.

If you like working with paper then you might like Salvage Box’s very first post in January where we showed you how to make paper beads out of old magazine pages.

Hope you enjoy another week of creativity, and see you all next week.

Jenny signature

 

 

 

 

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