Design a Paper Butterfly Garden

Learn how to make your own butterfly garden with lots of room for personalization!
By Diana MacKenzie
Aug 17, 2016



Aug 17, 2016

Recently, several families joined us at The Eric Carle Studio for the family workshop "Butterflies and Caterpillars," where we made a series of fun spring-themed projects. One activity that was a big hit with kids and parents was working together to make a paper butterfly garden. We provided an array of colorful paste papers, stamped construction papers, and other fun accessories like pom poms and sequins to turn into beautiful flowers, leaves, and butterflies.

What You'll Need to Do This Project

  • cardboard boxes to cut up
  • scissors
  • rubber bands
  • tempura paints
  • heavy duty stapler
  • pipe cleaners
  • glue
  • colorful paste papers or stamped construction papers
  • fun accessories like pom poms and sequins

How to Make the Paper Garden

Step 1: Print out templates of different butterfly and flower shapes to get started, or encourage kids to use their own shapes to make their gardens unique.

Step 2: To prepare the gardens, cut out several tree stump shapes (imperfect ovals) from cardboard boxes. Glue them together into stacks of four. I recommend rubber banding the individual stacks until completely dry to prevent the cardboard from curled up on the edges.

Step 3: Once the stacks is dry (overnight), use tempera paints to paint the sides brown and the tops pale yellow. I left a gap around the top of the stump to add detail later.

Step 4: Next, use a wooden skewer to etch imperfect circles in the wet paint to look like the tree growth rings.

Step 5: Then, fill in the top border of the stump with a dry brush and light brown tempera to look like the bark. This layer can be imperfect and overlap the yellow a little to look more natural.

Step 6: Assemble the gardens together — it's fun for parents and children to create side by side.

Step 7: When the stumps are dry, use a heavy duty stapler to attach a few wires and chenille stems to the center of the stump. Put a spot of glue under the wires so the staple doesn't pull out of the cardboard.

No two gardens looked exactly the same!

Why not make butterfly gardens at your next celebration! Share how you and your family get inspiration from nature on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.

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