How to Make a Construction Paper Butterfly

By Marybeth Kufen

If you are looking for an entertaining and educational craft to do with children, make butterflies out of construction paper. Options for this project range from the simple for young children to the complex for older children or those who are more artistically inclined. The most important thing to remember when making a butterfly is that the wings are symmetrical, meaning that they are mirror images of each other. If you folded one wing on top of the other, the patterns and colors would align.

Make a Folded Paper Butterfly

Cut 2 inches off of the long side of the paper to make a 9-inch square.

Lay the paper out flat on your work surface. Measure 1/2 inch down from the top of the paper. Draw a straight, horizontal line across the top of the paper at the 1/2-inch mark.

Make a mark 1/2 inch from the right edge of the page. Draw a straight, vertical line down the right hand side of the page at the 1/2-inch mark.

Beginning at the bottom right corner, cut along the vertical line until you get to the point on the upper right hand side where the two lines intersect. Pivot your scissors and cut along the horizontal line. You should be left with an 8.5-inch square that you will use for the wings and an V-shaped piece of paper that you will use to create the antennae.

Fold the 8.5-inch square of paper in half and cut along the fold to create two 4.25-by-8.5-inch rectangles.

Lay the rectangles on top of each other and fold them in half lengthwise to make a 4.25-inch square.

Lay the folded rectangles flat on your work surface so that the fold is to your left and the open edges are on your right. Starting about 1/4 inch from the upper right hand corner, draw a tall, thin, backward number 3 that extends to the bottom and ends about 1/4 inch from the bottom right hand corner.

Cut along the curved lines you drew through all of the layers of paper at once, creating the curved edges of the butterfly wings.

Unfold and separate the two rectangles. Lay one rectangle horizontally on your work surface. Make accordion folds along the 8-inch side. Beginning at the bottom, fold the bottom edge of the paper up 1/4 inch. Turn the paper over. Turn the folded edge up 1/4 inch. Turn the paper over again and turn the folded edge up 1/4 inch. Continue making folds in this manner until the entire rectangle is folded.

Repeat the accordion folds with the other rectangle.

Hold one of the folded rectangles in your hand. Stack the other folded rectangle on top of the first. Pinch the stack in the center with your fingers and slightly open up the accordion folds to create four butterfly wings, two on each side.

Take the V-shaped section of paper you cut in the beginning, and arrange the center tip of the V in the center of the butterfly wings.

Cut a 2.5-inch piece of cellophane tape, and wrap it around the center of the butterfly, joining all of the pieces together.

To curl the antennae, wrap each section tightly around a pencil and hold it for a few seconds before letting go.

To hang the butterfly, tie one end of the yarn around the center.

Hand Print Butterfly Craft

Another way to create symmetry and make a keepsake at the same time is to trace a child's hands and use them as the butterfly wings.

Trace both of your child's hands on one of the pieces of construction paper.

Have your child cut out both of the hand prints.

Tip

Depending on the age of the child, an adult may have to assist with the cutting.

Lay the hand prints next to each other with the four fingers pointing out and the thumbs overlapping. The thumbs make the body of the butterfly, and the fingers make the wings.

Glue the hand print butterfly in place on the other piece of construction paper.

Glue the googly eyes in place at the top of the butterfly's body.

Draw two antennae next to the butterfly's head.

Decorate the butterfly's wings with crayons, markers, colored pencils, stickers, sequins or other decorative embellishments. Remember that both of the wings should be symmetrical, so whatever you place on one wing should be repeated on the other.

About the Author

Based in Philadelphia, Marybeth Kufen has been teaching since 2007, and has been writing education-related articles since 2013. She holds a master's degree in elementary education and is a certified Reading Specialist. Kufen was named Teacher of the Year for her district in 2014.