Easy DIY craft: Decorative paper butterflies

I had so much fun writing about different ways of expressing yourself recently that it really made me think about how I explore my own self-expression and how I can best share with you what I enjoy, including my own creative tips and experiences to help inspire your creativity too. These decorative paper butterflies really are the perfect way to start!

Easy DIY Craft: Decorative Paper Butterflies

Easy DIY art and craft tutorials

I absolutely love blogging, it’s like therapy for me as it allows me to express myself in so many ways, however before blogging came my passion for art and design.  In fact, before I became ill I had a career in teaching art to high school and sixth form students and I led a successful art department for many years.  Sadly, my MS means I no longer have the energy for the crazy demands of teaching but my desire to help others express themselves and explore their own creativity will always be an integral part of who I am!

As I have quite a few health limitations now the way I approach creating my own art and craft pieces has had to change.  I now prefer quick and easy art and craft projects which don’t require too much time and energy but which are still fun to do!

I know there are loads of us who can’t commit to lengthy projects requiring a huge time commitment, whether that’s due to battling chronic illness, the demands of parenting or the reality that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  My art and craft tutorials are designed for those of us who would really appreciate ideas for some DIY craft quick wins and I really hope these simple tutorials are useful, encouraging and accessible!

Decorative paper butterflies

easy diy crafts decorative paper butterflies

This easy DIY craft project was inspired by my son and his love of butterflies (or da-das as he used to call them) from when he was around 18 months old.  He absolutely loved us reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle, to him, especially when we got to the end of the story (spoiler alert) and the bright and beautiful butterfly emerged.  As his second birthday approached I knew that butterflies and caterpillars just had to feature in his party decorations so I started to think about how I could creatively explore these ideas.

I love paper craft butterflies and Eric Carle’s bold and stylised illustrations are amazing so it seemed natural to me to experiment with combining them both to create the decorations.  I really like his use of paint and the bright colours which often feature in his work so I based my painted paper effects on that style before creating a butterfly template and using it to help create and cut out the butterfly shapes.

My original idea was that my son would go crazy with some paint and create some great toddler art that I could use to cut my templates from but he was having none of it!  However, this would (usually) be an ideal project to work on as a family and a fun way to display your child’s artwork.

The butterflies could be easily completed in stages and once I’d created my decorated paper and template I could create a few butterflies each night I felt up to it without getting tired or bored!

On the day of his 2nd birthday I felt really ill but I still managed to present the pre-prepared butterflies into a number two shape and dotted a few around on the wall to look like they were flying around.  I even positioned a few on the table to look like they had landed there!

birthday party decorative paper butterflies
Getting set up for the party. We had butterfly cakes and caterpillar balloons too!


I really loved the overall effect and the beauty of these butterflies is that they are so versatile in how they can be decorated, arranged and presented.  They are such a fun little project that you can be completely imaginative with!

What you’ll need

decorative paper butterflies equipment

Your choice of paint (I used yellow, red and blue ready-mixed poster paint)

Plain paper

Sponge or large paintbrush

Butterfly template




White tack (to display)


decorative paint effects for paper butterflies

Prepare your working area.  Put down a protective sheet or if you’re working with a small child you might want to complete any painting in the bath tub for ease of cleaning up afterwards!

Lay out your pieces of plain paper and squirt a few small blobs of paint onto them.

Use your sponge or paintbrush to scrape the paint around the paper, mixing the colours together as you go in whatever pattern you like.  Try to paint right to the edges of the paper as this will give you the largest possible surface to cut your butterflies from.

Leave your decorated paper to dry while you clean up any mess.

Print out the butterfly template printable and cut out the size of butterfly you prefer.

Create a fold on the wrong side of your decorated paper by just over the width of your template.  To get a really crisp fold you can angle a ruler and slide it along your fold.

Place your template against the fold of the paper and draw around it.  Move your template along the paper and draw around it again, trying to fit as many butterflies onto your paper as possible.

Create another fold in your paper, again just over the width of your template and draw around your template.  Repeat this process until you have as many butterflies as you require.

Cut out your butterfly shapes.

Present them as you wish (I’ve included a few ideas below)

Make it your own!

This is such an easy project to adapt and personalise, you really can be as creative as you like with it!  You don’t even have to spend time painting, you could use pre-coloured or patterned paper instead.  You could even cut your butterflies from old book pages, maps, sheet music or printouts of your own photographs.

Try your own preferred colours and paint effects.  You could easily create your own painted patterns or decorate your butterflies on both sides of the paper if you like.

Also, consider how you want to present your butterflies.  I chose to use mine to help decorate a birthday party but you could create wall art, present them in a box frame, hang them as a mobile or use them to decorate a photo frame.  You could even glue a few to some push pins to help brighten up a memo board!

number 2 party decorative paper butterflies

Most importantly have fun just being creative!

I would absolutely love it if you shared your DIY decorative paper butterflies with me so please send me a photo of your creations.  I’ll even feature them on my blog or social media if you’re happy for me to do so!

One of Each #littlemakesDouble the Monkey Business

19 thoughts on “Easy DIY craft: Decorative paper butterflies”

  • This is definitly my favourite post from #craftycorner this month – you are my featured post for the month. The finished product is so effective, I love it 🙂 Thanks for joining us for #craftycorner. Apologies for the late commenting, I have been in hospital. xxx

    • Thank you so much for selecting this craft as your featured post for the month, I feel so honoured! I hope you are ok after your spell in hospital. Take care xxx

  • Oh these are so pretty. I love the number birthday butterflies! These worked out so well. I’ve pinned to save for another day! #littlemakes

  • Thank you for sharing a little of your background in teaching and how you came to do tutorials like these. The butterflies are gorgeous and I can truly imagine them nestled alongside the book. #littlemakes

  • These are so effective yet so simple! And I love how you have used lots of the for decorating the room for the birthday party which looks so beautiful. Side note: messy art in the bathtub with wee kids! Genius! Thanks for joining in #littlemakes

    • Thank you! I hope you have fun making your Spring crafts and show me how your butterflies turn out if you have a go at them! x

  • These are so pretty, and a crafty project that actually seems realistically achievable so thank you for sharing! I love how you made them in to your son’s age for his party too. x

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I had so much fun making these and I know how hard it can be to find the time to complete DIY craft projects, especially when you’re battling a chronic illness like we are, so easy and achievable was exactly what I was aiming for. x

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