How to Make Realistic Butterfly Wings

Written by gracie sprouse
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How to Make Realistic Butterfly Wings
Butterfly images (Butterflies image by A.Rowley from

Adding realistic-looking butterflies greatly enhances floral arrangements. Myriad other craft projects become distinct works of art through their inclusion. These butterflies can be painted in realistic colours or simply painted with white or gold craft paints. Apply liquid acrylic paints with a small brush and make the butterflies look like they just landed on a flower blossom. Butterflies can be added to hundreds of craft projects.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 24-inch piece of wire, 22- to 24-gauge
  • 17-inch piece of wire, 22- to 24-gauge
  • Thin fabric or pantyhose
  • White craft paint or stiffening product
  • Your choice of paints
  • 2 beaded straight pins

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  1. 1

    Bend the 24-inch piece of wire into a pretzel shape with loops on each side that are about the size of a small orange. Twist the ends of the wire together at the bottom of the loops and in the centre, leaving about 1 1/2 inches hanging loose on each end. Wrap the wire around the centre to create a circle on either side.

  2. 2

    Bend the circles into oval or triangle shapes so they look like wings. Bend up the ends of the loose hanging wires 1/8 inch to form two of the butterfly's legs and feet.

  3. 3

    Bend the 17-inch piece of wire the same way to form the smaller set of wings. Place the smaller wings just below the larger ones so the top edge barely touches the bottom edge of the larger wings. The loose wires from the smaller set of wings will be the butterfly's other two legs.

  4. 4

    Cover the larger and smaller wings with fabric--pieces of old pantyhose are lightweight and easy to paint--and gather it in the centre, where the butterfly's body would be. Wrap a loose end of wire around the bottom of the gathered fabric to secure the wings and to attach them to the body of the butterfly.

  5. 5

    Hold and wrap the gathered ends of fabric in the centre to form the butterfly's body. Loose wires can be bent up on the ends just slightly to form the butterfly's legs and feet after you have secured the body.

  6. 6

    Apply white craft paint or a découpage stiffening product to the excess material gathered in the centre, and smooth it by hand to form the butterfly's body. Let it dry before you continue painting.

  7. 7

    Apply a light edging of gold or silver paint around the outside edges of the wings. The rest of the butterfly can be spray painted or painted in your choice of realistic colours.

  8. 8

    Insert two beaded head straight pins into the front of the butterfly at its head to form the antennae. Put a small drop of regular white glue on the point of each pin before you insert it.

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