wind-up paper butterflies are my fave (guest post from amelia)

May 8, 2012

I had a baby so I’ve invited some fave guests to take over for me while I spend time with the little guy. Today’s post is from super crafter and cute mom, Amelia of The Homebook.

Photo 1
Growing up, I had an aunt who lived in Canada. Every year for my birthday she’d send me a card and a fancy little gift. She always found the neatest things! One year, when I was maybe 10 or 11, she sent me another card—and when I opened it up, a paper butterfly fluttered out of the card. It was magical! I was enchanted. I remember wasting an entire afternoon trying to make my own out of paperclips and a produce rubber band, only to miserably fail. I was convinced only Canadians could make those magical butterflies! Fast forward to 2012 and I found myself still thinking about them. But this time, after much research and diligence, I think I’ve finally cracked the code!

I made my butterflies into Monarchs, but you could use different materials to create any sort of colorful butterfly. I think a sweet floral paper would be so pretty for an invitation to a little girl’s birthday party.

Photo 2
Materials: You’ll need heavy cardstock, 24 gauge wire, silicone rubber bands (I found mine in the hair aisle at Walgreens) needle-nose pliers, scissors, tape, a paintbrush, a black marker, and a white ink pen.

Photo 3
Step 1: Measure and cut your wire. The wire used for the top wings will be 4 inches, and the wire used for the bottom wings will be 5.5 inches.

Photo 4
Step 2: Find the center of the longer wire. Wrap it around the base of your paintbrush to form a loop.
Step 3: Keeping the loop horizontal, bend the tails of the wire down vertically.
Step 4: Bend each tail in towards each other to form a hook to hold the rubber band.

Photo 5
Step 5: Find the center of the shorter wire, and wrap it around the base of the paintbrush. Instead of forming a loop, pinch the wire to form a circle, and bend the tails of the wire out to form the base for the wings.
Steps 6 & 7: Assemble the body of the butterfly. Wrap the rubber band around the top wire and set it in the center. Thread the rubber band through the loop of the bottom wire, and attach it onto the bottom hooks.

Photo 6
Step 8: Draw the shape of your wings and cut them out. You can make them as plain or fancy as you want. They don’t have to be perfect—be creative!
Step 9: Outline the edges of each wing with your black marker. Draw lines and doodles on the wings to replicate a Monarch. (Google image helps!)
Step 10: Use the white ink pen to draw dots on the outer edges of each wing

Photo 7
Step 11: Tape each wing to the body of the butterfly.
Step 12: Holding the body of the butterfly with one hand, use your forefinger to turn the top wings and wind up the rubber band. I found that between 40-50 rotations made the wire nice and tight. Be careful not to wind too far, or the wire might bend!
Step 13: Carefully insert the wound-up butterfly into a card or book. Whoever opens it will get a flutterly little surprise!

Photo 8
Thanks for the chance to finally figure out how these darned things are made, Melanie!

See more awesome from Amelia on The Homebook


  • On June 22, 2016 , Cristina Jones said:

    This is the coolest thing I have ever seen!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this idea!!!

  • On July 17, 2016 , hoodiebuddies said:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
    I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later
    on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now

  • On August 10, 2016 , Martha said:

    Extremely cool! I want to make some soon. I have a Dover butterfly coloring book with lots of different kinds of butterflies.

  • On August 29, 2016 , Zeenat said:

    Definitely helped me with a school project thnaks so much

  • On August 29, 2016 , fiona said:

    thank you for your time and effort. I will try one today!

  • On November 12, 2016 , Russell said:

    Thanks so much for these simple instructions. My grandaughter just loves them.

  • On January 5, 2017 , Jack said:

    Can this be used for home decor?

  • On March 31, 2017 , meine internetseite said:

    neue Modelle ab 6200 € inkl.MwSt.

  • On May 11, 2017 , Heang Trang said:

    Hi there. What brand of 24 guage wire did you use? I believe i used the artistic wire also 24 guage but it was too flimsy and bendable.

  • On May 13, 2017 , Primanola Perdananti said:

    wow! this tips are great.. the fake butterfly now looks real! thank you for sharing.. 🙂

  • On May 29, 2017 , Kim said:

    Is there a pdf available for the wing pattern?

  • On May 31, 2017 , Jane said:

    Is there a PDF of butterfly so that I can print then cut ?

  • On June 7, 2017 , How-To: Wind-Up Paper Butterflies | Make: said:

    […] am absolutely in love with this wind-up paper butterfly tutorial that Amelia from The Homebook shared on You Are My Fave. It really doesn’t get much better […]

  • On June 13, 2017 , Chris Long said:

    I can’t get my butterfly to flutter

  • On June 14, 2017 , Darrel Rundus said:

    Remember, if you love these wind up flying butterflies but are to handy making them, you can always buy one for a couple bucks at

  • On June 16, 2017 , End of Year Teacher Gifts - Hartshorn Portraiture said:

    […] nifty flying butterfly needs little more than a few paper clips, a popsicle stick and glue as well as card stock to create […]

  • On July 21, 2017 , Kayde Gilbert said:

    I love this idea! I made one but it won’t fly out of my card☹️ I’ve tried winding it 30-40 and 40-50 times but it won’t take off. What am I getting wrong?

  • On July 22, 2017 , Angie said:

    Could you explain what you mean by tape each wing to body?

  • On July 25, 2017 , Flurina said:

    Hi Amelia, thanks for this great tutorial!
    I finally got around to make a butterfly.. but all it does is jump out of a card and then wriggle and spin on the floor like a dying indect.. is this the way it is or do I need to continue experimenting with lighter/heavier/smaller/bigger wings?

  • On August 3, 2017 , LINDA FIELDING said:

    Don’t you wish the ‘authors’ would answer the questions posed?

  • On September 12, 2017 , מעופפים, עפים, מעיפים, קופצים ומקפצים למיניהם – יצירה ופעילות עם ילדים | הזמנה ליצירה said:

    […] נושא – הפרפר שמזנק מכרטיס ברכה […]

  • On October 2, 2017 , Amber said:

    I make jewelry and 24 gauge wire is WAY too thin! I’m trying 20 guage (which is thicker) and it’s still very delicate (Artistic Wire). I’d try 18g if I had any.
    Going this route, I’m using the elastic cording I use for bracelets (.5mm by Beadalon) in place of the rubber band and I think it will work. Might have to have small wings, maybe not card stock, not sure yet. Experiment time!

  • On November 28, 2017 , Mikel said:

    I had this idea of making flying paper angels for my granddaughter this Christmas season, and I am going to take this basic idea and turn the butterfly into an angel. The lower wings will simulate the robe and the upper portion will transform to angel wings. Thanks so much for the idea, I can’t wait to see her response!

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