This monarch butterfly craft is quick and easy but the results are stunning. Have the kids make a bunch and hang a kaleidoscope of monarch butterflies in your home or classroom this fall.
Oh my goodness! I have such a great butterfly craft to share with you today! We made coffee filter monarch butterflies one day last week, and they’re so gorgeous and life-like, it’s hard to believe they’re a kids’ craft. The 6-10 year olds made the butterflies you see here in the photos, but they’re simple enough for toddlers and preschoolers to make with very little assistance.
We were inspired to do several monarch crafts last week because there are so many real monarch butterflies fluttering around our yard these days. At this time of year, the monarchs are preparing to migrate, so they’re stopping in great numbers to feed and rest in our garden.
The hooligans love to chase the butterflies around the yard, and observe them fanning their vibrant wings as they rest on the flowers.
We’ve made a number of beautiful butterfly crafts over the years, but these coffee filter monarchs are my favourite yet. They’re so gorgeous and life-like.
When we took them out to the garden, and clipped them to plants and vines and various other objects, you’d swear that a kaleidoscope of real monarchs had taken over our yard.
I took so many pictures, trying to capture how real they looked in our garden. I hope you get an idea of just how lovely they are.
Today, I’m going to show you how to make our monarch craft, but be sure to check out this post to see how to turn them into a mobile for your classroom. You can see it here in this video:
For now – how to make our monarchs!
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To make our easy monarch butterfly craft, you’ll need:
- white coffee filters
- undiluted orange and black liquid watercolours (we love these liquid watercolours by Sargent)
- paintbrushes and/or droppers
- black paint
- baking rack (for drying)
Making your monarchs:
Colouring your butterflies’ wings:
Have the kids place their coffee filters on their work surface and cover them completely with undiluted orange liquid watercolour. They can use paintbrushes or droppers (or both) for this process. The hooligans love using droppers to drip their watercolours on. It’s fun and a great way to strengthen fine motor skills.
Teaching tip: during this step, you can talk to your kids about water absorption. Have them observe how the coffee filter soaks up the liquid.
Next, using black liquid watercolour, have the kids make dots and lines all over their orange coffee filters. Let them know to go a little easier with the black watercolour. If they drip too much on, they’ll end up with a black butterfly.
Drying your coloured coffee filters:
To dry your coffee filters, you can move them to a baking rack that you would cool cookies on. You can even give them a blast with a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
Next, have your kids paint some wooden clothes pegs with black paint. You can use black liquid watercolour, but you’ll a more intense butterfly body if you use paint.
Assembling your monarch butterflies:
There are a couple of different ways to assemble your monarchs.
With the first method, you just pinch your coffee filter in the middle and clip it with a clothespin. This results in a rounded puffy butterfly wing.
For the second method, you fold your coffee filter in half, and then you pinch it and clip it with a clothespin. This will result in a realistic wing shape.
You can add a dab of glue inside the clothespin to hold everything permanently in place, but it’s not necessary.
Displaying your monarchs:
Once your butterflies are assembled, have some fun clipping them in various places around your home and yard.
If you clip them somewhere where the sunlight can shine through the, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful they look. Wouldn’t they look lovely in a sunny window?
These monarchs would also look beautiful bordering a fall bulletin board in a classroom, or hung at different lengths from the ceiling in your child’s bedroom.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.