This activity took me a bit longer than I expected, but it worked out so well that I wanted to share it with you. First some background though. I was browsing Target a few weeks ago when I came across a decorative paper butterfly chain. I almost bought it, but then I though, ‘Why buy this when I can make it?’ Which is what started this whole activity.
Yes, I admit it, those butterflies are hanging above my bed. It actually adds a nice touch to my room! To make this fun decoration, all you need is some colored paper, scissors, pencil, glue, and tape. These are the colors that I used:
To make the butterfly shapes you can either free hand a butterfly onto the back of the paper or you can trace one using a template. I’m not very good at free hand, so I used a template in 2 different sizes (mainly because I had paper to spare). I found that it was better to trace my shape on the side of the paper that wouldn’t be seen, to keep a clean look.
The tracing and cutting took the most time. Depending on how many butterflies you make will obviously affect how long it takes to complete this project. For me I did 4 pieces of paper with 7 butterflies on each piece. I would say it took me at least 2 hours of work, and I had to take breaks because my hands got tired. But finally, success!
Next I bent the wings of the butterflies with stripes and dots up towards each other, making sure not to bend the body of the butterflies. Then I glued the bent butterflies to the solid colored butterflies with hot glue (You can use other glue if you want, hot glue was what I had on hand at the time and it worked well. I just had to be careful not to put a ton on). Make sure that you only glue the butterfly bodies together, not the wings!
Whoo hoo! Now I had a flock of butterflies, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them. Originally I was going to sew them together in a line along their bodies to make a chain like the one I saw at the store. My roommate also had the suggestion that I could string them together by the middle of their bodies so that they would hang parallel to the ground. In the end I couldn’t decide how I would want to have them hang, so I taped them to the wall with washi tape (which is awesome, but that’s another blog post!)
As I worked on this project I thought how awesome it would be as a therapeutic activity, especially in the hospital. Sometimes children will stay in the hospital for long periods of time and can quickly become bored when they have done all the activities they can find in the playroom. Add to this that hospital rooms are often very boring and sterile. For kids who have to stay a long time in a hospital room, it is helpful for them to make the room their own by decorating according to their tastes. This can be difficult since you can’t use decorations that are permanent plus you have to follow fire and JACHO codes.
What’s great about this project is it doesn’t take up much space and you can put it up in a way that complies with codes. It also takes time to do, and can be broken up into parts over as many days as you want. This activity doesn’t have have to be done by patients either. Siblings can make these butterflies for a sister or brother who is hospitalized, helping the family become more involved in the hospital experience. You can also go a step further and encourage participants to write their wishes, hopes, or dreams on the back of their butterflies. As you can see, the possibilities are endless! Try it out and let me know what you think!
Paper Butterflies Activity Notes
Ages: 6 and up (For the young kids keep an eye on the scissors and use school glue!)
Materials: Colored Paper, pencil, scissors, glue, and tape