Article

Craft: Paper-Plate Butterflies and Caterpillars

Watch paper plates morph into beautiful butterflies and cute caterpillars with these imaginative crafts inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

To celebrate Earth Day, gather recycled materials to make caterpillars and butterflies inspired by Eric Carle's classic The Very Hungry Catepillar. With paper plates, a splash of paint, and some ingenuity, you’ll have colorful butterfly and caterpillar puppets to brighten up your classroom!

Caterpillars

What You'll Need

  • 9" paper plate, one for every two students
  • Toilet paper tube, one for every two students
  • Acrylic or tempera paint
  • Black pipe cleaners (or skinny strips of black paper), three per student
  • White paper, one sheet per student
  • Popsicle stick, one per student


What You Do

Step 1: Cut off the outside rim of a paper plate. Make sure to cut where the ridged edge meets the flat center of the plate. Then, cut this rim in half to create 2 caterpillar bodies.

Step 2: Cut the toilet paper tube in half to create 2 smaller tubes. These will be the caterpillar heads.

Step 3: Paint the two halves of the paper-plate rim green. Then, paint the paper tube red. Allow to dry.

Fun Tip: Try adding stripes or a fun design to your caterpillar with extra paint!

Step 4: Draw eyes and a mouth on the white paper and cut them out. Then, glue them onto the paper tube.

Step 5: Fold a pipe cleaner in half. Glue the pipe cleaner to the inside of the tube for antennas. Allow to dry. (Use masking tape to avoid waiting for the glue to dry!)

Step 6: Cut the other two pipe cleaners into 3 sections. Next, fold each section in half to create legs. Glue these to the caterpillar body. Now, attach the head to the body of the caterpillar. Then, glue a popsicle stick to the inside of the paper tube to make your caterpillar into a puppet!

Butterfly

What You'll Need

  • 9" paper plate, one per student
  • Toilet paper tube, one per student
  • Acrylic or tempera paint
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black pipe cleaner or skinny strips of black paper, one per student
  • White paper, one sheet per student
  • Popsicle stick, one per student


What You Do

Step 1: Start by cutting a wedge (like a pizza slice) out of two opposite sides of the plate. Leave about 2" of paper plate between the two cuts. This will form the shape of the wings.

Step 2: Paint the wings with a symmetrical pattern. Then, paint the paper tube. Make it solid or paint a pattern for a really unique butterfly!

Step 3: Next, draw eyes and a mouth onto white paper and cut them out. Glue onto the paper tube. Now your butterfly has a face!

Step 4: Fold a pipe cleaner in half. Then, glue the pipe cleaner to the inside of the tube for antennas. (Use masking tape to avoid waiting for the glue to dry!)

Step 5: Glue the paper tube in the center of wings and allow to dry. Then, glue a popsicle stick to the inside of the paper tube to make your butterfly into a puppet!

 

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