Wednesday 15 August 2012

Tutorial - Window Butterflies

~by Emi

Good morning, campers!

I don't know about you, but on a grey and dreary day like today, I like to do three things to cheer up the house.

1. Have a living room disco starting with THIS song...

2. Buy fabric (which I'm doing later today as my FAVOURITE fabric shop is having a sale!)

and 3. Make something, anything, just SOMEthing involving butterflies!

So today, I bring you, Window Butterflies!

Before I start though, you will need to collect a few materials! You will need scissors, those clear plastic file pages and Sharpies. They *need* to be Sharpies, normal felt-tips pens just WON'T work, they just don't stick.

First off, you need to draw some butterfly outlines onto one side of the plastic file page. Turn over and trace the outline. Once you've done that as many times as you like (or until you get bored!), draw some flowers and some other little critters, like beetles and ladybirds. Then cut round them... If you have smaller children, you can do the drawing and cutting, but if they're older, you could adapt this activity by letting them find butterfly images, either online or in books, then trace and cut them out themselves...

Once everything is cut out, grab some big sheets of paper and lay the plastic pieces on top of them. This is purely to protect my kitchen table from errant, exuberant toddler-drawing-with-Sharpie marks!

Now, colour in your shapes! However you want! Go crazy, be simple, it's your choice. There is scope here, if you're doing this with older children, to replicate *actual* wing markings from real butterflies. You could even tie this in to a homeschooling activity by having your child observe and photograph butterflies either in their own garden or at a butterfly center, or even research them online, and then copy their wing markings. This way, you're tying in observation, photography and IT skills as well as the more obvious artistic ones.

You can also include a reading of Sibylle Von Olfers 'The Story of the Butterfly Children', because... hey,, who doesn't love that book?

This drawing business takes a LOT of concentration...

Alright, are we done? Great!

Now, choose your window. This is a tough decision. Usually, we'd pick the living room windows, but they're currently adorned with a tissue paper toadstool house, sun, cloud, rainbow and flowers! Instead, we went for the upstairs landing window, the one we can see when we walk home from the local park.

Now, there are two ways to go about the next part. The first one has potential for mess, but is less gross. The second is tidier, kinda grim but Littles will love it...

To get the images to stick to the window, use one of the following methods.

1. Fetch a bowl of water, dip your fingers in and drip onto the back of the image, then stick to the window, pushing out any air bubbles.

2. Lick the back of them. Kids LOVE licking. (My son particularly enjoys licking his sister) Then, stick them to the windows, pushing out any air bubbles.

I did tell you that the second option was slightly grim.

You can layer the images over one another too, just need more water... or licking...

And voila! Window butterflies!

There is so much scope for this activity too, you could draw outlines of just about anything, letters and numbers, colours, shapes; provided you have enough adult supervision ('Many Sharpies and small hands make much mess' - ancient Chinese proverb), you could adapt this to the theme of a birthday party, drawing the outlines and cutting beforehand.

Feel free to leave comments and links to your own versions!

There you go.

Window Butterflies.


Emi, x

'The cabbage white and brimstone butterflies are the
first to receive their wings. They have learned all
about the flowers and plants, and how to dance and
weave among the stalks and grasses. They have done well!
Together they flutter happily over the green meadows.'
~Sibylle Von Olfers


  1. Cool! Grace will love the licking! CD marker pens and OHP pens will work on film too - for some reason we have hundreds of them around!


    1. Hadn't even thought of those! I had one solitary cd marker pen, but put it back in the box!

      Thanks for the tip!

  2. These look great, we have our seasonal 'table' on a windowsill these would work well on the window as part of it. Thank you for sharing.