Learn How to Make Butterflies Out of Art Materials



Students create butterflies out of non traditional materials.

Project Ideas

Compassion, Science, Intra-personal, Theatre, Body Kinesthetic.

Recommended Ages



Insects: animal with six legs and typically one or two pairs of wings

Metamorphosis: process where an insect goes into its adult form 

Wings: part of some animals’ bodies that allow them to fly 

Antennae: part of an insect that allows them to sense their surroundings


Liquid water colors

Tin bowls/containers to put watercolors in

Small plastic droppers

Coffee filters

Pipe cleaners


1. Give each student a coffee filter.

2. Demonstrate how to use the plastic droppers (squeeze very gently so that watercolor doesn’t spray everywhere).

3. Once the butterflies have dried, pinch the center and wrap a pipe cleaner around it.

4. Have the student curl the antennae.

5. Students act out stages of a caterpillar pretending to be a caterpillar, then hug themselves in a cocoon, then break  free then flying around room looking for flowers.


1. In the classroom, we have discussed migration and travel based upon the life of monarch butterflies.

2. We have discussed the important role butterflies have as pollinators and their habitat needs. 

3. Life cycle of butterfly  discussion and comparison to the stages and challenges of kids growing up themselves.


This is a great project for younger students to practice flying around classroom. We have followed this project with older and more advanced students making origami butterflies. We have stapled butterflies to string to make mobiles and installations. Tissue paper flowers are a good follow up project after habitat discussion. Symmetry paper butterfly painting (folding a paper in half and putting paint on one side students refold paper and then rub transferring paint for wings to other side of paper.

To go along with this project you could also create paper flowers! Visit https://artsphere.flywheelsites.com/creating-legacies-through-art/ to download our free book of lesson plans, including instructions for creating paper flowers.


Monarch Butterfly Migration and Overwintering – USDA Forest Service 

Monarch Butterfly Migrations – Learn About Nature

As Dwindling Monarch Butterflies Make Their Migration, Feds Try to Save Them – National Geographic

Monarch Butterflies – National Geographic 

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