Paper Plate Butterflies

Emily DaFoe

The challenge for a lot of parents is how to do fun things with the kids without breaking the bank. Today the girls and I collected some odd arts and crafts materials we had lying around decided to make something around that. We grab some paper plates from a BBQ we had the week before, old glitter piping from a previous craft we decided to reuse, a gold card from a birthday card we wanted to recycle, some craft tape with white polka dots, paint and glitter. I asked the girls what animal we should make. "Lion, Kitty, Rhino, Flea (yes, a flea) and Butterfly!!!!!" were shouted out loud with passion. Looking at the goodies we had in front of us, we decided on making the butterflies (can you believe I gave up the chance to make a flea?).

The girls loved this project and the painting part was easy for my two-year-old, so this is a good one for little ones. Some of the parts I managed and had the girls assist like the craft glue and the eyes for the butterfly. 

The next day, I decided to sneak out and pin the butterflies to a tree, so when we walked outside later in the afternoon we saw them magically perched on the tree. All in all, this was an engaging craft and the result was beautiful.



Craft Glue

Kids Paint

Paint Brush  


Paper Plates

Glitter Piping 

Gold Card (or any other Card)

Dots for eyes (you can use a black marker, but I decided to get creative and use the polka dot tape) Sticky tape (to hold paper plates together while drying)



Set up the paint and brushes. Create lines of paint across the paper plates.

The little ones I just let do their thing. Let the paper plate dry.


Meanwhile, take two glitter pipes. Twist the piping together making sure to leave enough room (2"-3") for the butterflies' antennas.


Grab something around the house the diameter of approx. 2" to trace on the card to make the butterflies face. Cut around the circle. I did this because my girls are too small yet for real scissors. 


I cut two black circles from the craft tape around one of the white circles to make an eye. You can use a white card and simply add a dot of black marker. Or use craft eyes – they are awesome! Glue onto gold card. Let it dry.


Once the paper plate is dry, grab the craft glue again and carefully make 4 circles on each side of the wings. Mirror each circle. It doesn't matter if the circles don't hold shape. That's what makes each butterfly so vibrant, unique and beautiful. These circles will be each butterflies eyespots; the circular, high-contrast marks on a butterflies wings.


Carefully sprinkle glitter onto the glue circles. I suggest helping your little ones with this step.  I let glue dry overnight as it was a thicker application.


Once the glue is dry, cut the wings down the middle so in two halves. I let my four-year-old use her craft scissors. I then cut a small diamond to create a wing shape. See photographs.

Place the two curved wings together using craft glue on the backside, connect by slightly overlapping. Use sticky tape to strengthen the bond while it dries.


When dry (I waited 4 hours) we placed the antenna down the center of the butterfly.

The first time I used craft glue, but it didn't cut it, so we use super glue and stick tape again to strengthen the bond. (I didn't let the girls help with that as obviously super glue and kids is a disaster waiting to happen!)


After everything dries, another 2 hours, feel free to hang your butterflies from anywhere your heart's desire.

I feel like my girls always have such a good time while crafting, and the beauty of this project is that no matter how they put the paint on the plate, each butterfly turns out so interesting and unique. Just like in real life!