I’m not a scrapbooker but I can’t walk past a scrapbook store without getting sucked in every time by all of the gorgeous textures, patterns and colors. Once they’re in my hands I’m instantly like a preschooler; I don’t really care what I make, I just can’t wait to play with pretty things!
I think I’m not alone in feeling that this virtual age, which definitely has its benefits, needs balance. Thankfully the growing DIY movement and my favorite website, Etsy.com, can provide that. It’s therapeutic to just have a handmade object in your space but even more enriching to spend time crafting a tactile, dimensional work of art. If you feel the same, here’s a fun way to play with paper -and if you are a scrapbooker you can put all of those leftover paper pieces to good use! The result is a rejuvenated soul and also colorful wall art that would look good in the common areas of your home or child’s bedroom.
Tools and Materials
Picture frame in your desired shape and size (I like my art open but if you’re worried about it getting damaged you can use a shadowbox…a particularly good idea if your art is going in a nursery where little fingers will be tempted to pluck!)
Watercolor or poster paper large enough to fit inside your frame
Scrapbook paper in assorted colors and prints
Butterfly paper punch (Mine is by Martha Stewart and I purchased it at Michaels.)
Low temperature glue gun and glue sticks or another kind of glue
DIY: 3D Paper Butterfly Art Directions
1. Open the back of your frame and take out the glass. Place the glass over your watercolor paper, lining up as many edges as you can to save you cutting time. Trace the glass’s edges onto your watercolor paper and then cut along your lines. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect; they’ll be covered by the frame. Put your newly cut watercolor paper into the very front of the frame with the glass behind it, at least for now.
2. Use your butterfly punch on your scrapbook paper to make as many butterflies as desired. I prefer to use scrapbook paper with lots of different prints for a patchwork feel and colors that complement, but don’t exactly match, the room the finished art will go in. Try making an ombre gradient or a rainbow!
3. Without gluing yet, place your new butterflies on the watercolor paper inside the frame to decide how you want to arrange them. You can put them in a perfect grid, use a ruler and lightly mark with pencil where you want them glued, or scatter them across the page as if they are taking flight. For quick and easy help making a perfect grid without a ruler, see directions below!
4. Once you are happy with your layout begin gluing. I prefer to use a low temperature glue gun because it gives me a lot of control and dries quickly and cleanly. If you prefer to use liquid glue or a glue stick that will work as well. Place a small dot of glue on the underside of each butterfly’s body. Try not to get any glue on the wings or you will not be able to make them 3D.
5. After the glue is dry gently lift each wing, bending it up and away from the watercolor paper. You don’t necessarily need to make a crease in your butterfly; just a subtle lift looks great.
6. Erase pencil lines and remove access glue. If using a shadowbox, move glass in front of art. Hang your beautiful, 3D Paper Butterfly Art where everyone can see and enjoy!
Cheat Sheets for Making Quick, Perfect Grids (Without a Ruler!)
If you’d like to make your 3D Paper Butterfly Art 8.5 x 11 inches, which includes 20 butterflies, click here for a printable grid! You can print right on your desired paper, but I recommend printing a test copy on cheap paper first to make sure everything is in working order. Then just glue the center of your butterflies onto the dots! If you don’t want to risk ruining your paper in the printer you can print on cheap paper, use a pin to poke holes in the dots, then place your grid on top of your desired paper and mark hole placement with a pencil. After that you are ready to glue the center of your butterflies on to your pencil marks.
If you’d like to make your 3D Paper Butterfly Art 20 x 24, which includes 54 butterflies, click here for a printable grid! With a little trimming this size also fits into 18 x 24 or 16 x 20 inch standard frame sizes. You can have this printed at Staples for around $10. Then use a pin to poke holes in the dots and place your grid on top of your desired paper to mark hole placement with a pencil. After that you are ready to glue the center of your butterflies on to your pencil marks. Save your grid! You can use it to make more or share it with a friend.
Make More Using this Technique
If you had fun with these colorful little bugs you can glue them to just about anything! I’ve used them on handmade greeting cards and place cards, I’ve used sticky tack to apply them directly to walls and glued them to the tops of wrapped presents. You can glue them to bird cages, magnets, hair bows, paper lanterns, mirror frames, the sky is the limit!
Interested in purchasing one of my already made 3D Rainbow Butterfly Art pieces? Visit my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/mindileatham!
Blogged on November 17, 2012 at http://www.mindileatham.com/paper-butterfly-punch-art/ and on December 4, 2012 at http://www.mindileatham.com/more-rainbow-paper-butterfly-art/.