How to Make Butterflies Out of Wire and Stockings

Updated July 20, 2017

A butterfly has two pairs of wings, with the front pair being larger than the back pair. Wing shape varies depending on the type of butterfly, but a rounded triangular shape for each wing is a reasonable one to use.

The body is segmented, but for simplicity it can be represented as a cigar shape. Butterflies also have a pair of antennae which are quite large relative to the size of the body and wings.

Bend a little less than half of the length of the 2mm wire into a figure-eight shape with pliers and your hands, starting and finishing at the centre of the eight. Twist the end of the wire onto the centre of the eight so as not to leave any sharp ends sticking out. Shape one side pair of wings from this figure eight. The front wing should be slightly larger and both wings should be approximately triangular with rounded corners.

Make a second wing pair starting from the other end of the wire in a mirror reflection of the shape of the first pair, again using pliers and hands to shape them.

Form a cigar-shaped body from the remaining middle section of the wire by folding and shaping it.

Pull one stocking foot section over one wing pair to form wing surfaces on both sides with the stocking material. Cut off at the required length, gather at the centre of the figure eight to form two separate wing pieces and sew into place using an overhand stitch at the centre point of the figure of eight. Repeat with the other wing pair.

Attach a V-shaped piece of thin wire to the front end of the body by wrapping loops of it over the thicker wire two or three times and curl the ends to form the ends of the antennae.

Decorate the surfaces of the wings with paint, or attach feathers, sequins or beads using glue or a needle and thread.


The ends of wire can be sharp, and it can spring back when being shaped, so be careful when working with it.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire for making the shape, 2mm wide, 1.5m long
  • Thin wire for antennae 1/ 2mm wide, 15cm long
  • Nylon tights or stockings in a pale colour
  • Feathers, sequins and beads
  • Paint
  • Cotton
  • Needle
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Glue


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About the Author

Nicola Harrison is a technical librarian who has been writing since 1998. Her work has appeared in U.K. publications including "Library and Information Update," "Engineering Education," "Ariadne," "TACIT" and "Echoes From The Past." Harrison has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Brunel University and a postgraduate diploma in information management from Queen Margaret's University College.