How to Make Butterflies With Feet & Hands

By Miranda Brumbaugh ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Tempura paint in neon colors
  • Paint brush
  • Black heavyweight paper
  • Tempura paint in black and pastel colors
  • Sheet of scrap paper
  • Butcher paper
  • White glue
  • Glitter
Turn an evening into an art class that is ideal for children of all ages.

Paint butterflies by using your hand and footprints for a custom-made piece of art. By applying the paint directly to the skin, you have more freedom in creating multi-colored designs. This can also prevent younger artists from making a mess with this project. Give your printed butterflies personality with embellishments and place the critter in a picture frame. This craft project is a thoughtful way to present a loved family member or friend with a memento of a child’s ever-growing hands and feet.

Neon Butterfly

Paint a design on the bottom of your left and right foot, such as stripes, swirls or stars, using neon-colored tempura paint. Cover the surface of each toe with a solid circle of paint.

Stand on the center of a sheet of black heavyweight paper with your heels and big toes lined up side-by-side with your feet touching. Press your feet with the toes facing the bottom of the paper to form the bottom side of the butterfly’s wings.

Paint a design on the palm of one of your hands using the neon colors, giving the fingertips definition by painting filled circles on these. Press the painted hand, fingertips facing out and wrist touching the outside of the footprint, on the left side of the footprints for a butterfly wings. Repeat the process with the other hand, so the fingers are symmetrical in shape, and press this painted hand on the right side of the footprints.

Springtime Butterfly

Pour two different colors of pastel-hued tempura paints into a plate. If desired, use one plate to allow the colors to touch for a two-tone butterfly or fill one plate per color.

Press each hand, palm-side down, into the plates filled with paint. Remove the hands and press them on a sheet of scrap paper to get rid of excess paint from your hands.

Press the painted hands on a sheet of butcher paper with your wrists touching and the fingers splayed outward.

Paint the soles of your feet with black tempura paint. Stand in the center of the handprints with the heel of your left foot at the end that is the top of the butterfly with your big toe straight down the wrists and your little toes pointed out to the left. Press your right foot so the heel overlaps the heel print and big toe of the left foot and the toes point to the right.

Outline the butterfly with white glue in a squirt bottle. Squeeze glue into circles around the toe and fingerprints and fill in the circles with glue. Sprinkle glitter liberally over the glue and allow the glue to dry. Shake away the excess glitter before displaying the butterflies.


Paint several butterflies, some overlapping, for a 3-D effect that is more realistic. If you are painting these prints with a child, write his name on the finished work along with the date, or ask him to write it if he is capable, for a keepsake.


Do not allow children to ingest the tempura paint; wash the hands of young children as soon as the prints are pressed before they taste their painted fingers or toes.

About the Author

Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.