It’s Spring, the flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are singing and the butterflies have begun fluttering! With the welcoming of Spring, I decided to create these plywood butterfly ornaments for our garden.

My eldest already has a strawberry patch planted, and now she’s decided to make a butterfly garden. She wants them to be planted in a heart shape, so we will see how that turns out!

For this garden butterfly ornament art project, I’m going to show two different ways to paint them. One is a more traditional paint and brush method, the second is more of a pour and press method effect.

This butterfly garden ornament art project is great to get the kids talking about symmetry and nature. If you would like to enrich this project, grab a butterfly book or a few pictures from the internet, and start asking your kids questions about what they notice about different butterflies.

You can highlight that all the wing patterns are symmetrical, and that maybe they could try and do that when painting up their own butterflies.

butterfly project butterfly page

You could also talk about the parts that make up a butterfly, for example the wings, antenna, eyes and abdomen etc. And you could look into the life cycle of a butterfly, or research different butterflies found in your area.

If you want to take the project one step further, grab some flower seeds and plant your own little butterfly garden together.

Garden butterfly ornament art project

What you need
Paint brushes and a speed brush
Resene test pots in GetReady, Lickety Split, Wonderland, So cool, Yeeha, Hi Jinx, Enchanted and Quarter Moon
A length of decking timber (or any treated timber for the stake)
Resene Quick Dry Primer
Light sandpaper
Hairdryer (optional)
Thick paper
Permeant marker

How to cut out the Butterfly

1. On a piece of plywood draw out as many Butterflies as you would like to make.

2. Cut out the butterfly shape with your jigsaw. (This is a great step for older kids around 9 and up, with adult supervision of course).

butterfly project cut out

3. Once the butterflies are cut out it’s a good idea to use Resene Quick Dry Primer all over. This will help seal the wood.

butterfly project primer

How to paint butterflies using paint and brush

1. Paint your first butterfly in Resene Energy Yellow on both sides. To speed up the drying time we used a hairdryer.

butterfly project yellow

2. Once the colour has dried draw in the shapes using a pencil; thinking about making the shapes mirror each other, just like they do on a butterfly.

3. Next paint the different colours in. This butterfly has been painted with Resene Get Ready, Lickety Split, Wonderland and So Cool.

butterfly project painted

4. Let dry or use the hairdryer, and give the colour shapes a second coat if you want the colours to pop a little more.

5. If you like use a black marker to outline all of the shapes. Just make sure all the paint has dried before you do this step.

Garden butterfly art project finished


How to paint butterflies using the pour and press method

This is a great method for young and old, but especially for your young ones! They truely love the results! Make sure you paint a coat of primer and one coat of a base colour all over the plywood butterfly before you start. This gives your child a good base to work from.

1. Grab a thick piece of paper and trace around the outline of the plywood butterfly. This will act as a guide for the paint.

Garden art butterfly project pour

2. Using spoons for each colour scoop and pour the paint on to the butterfly outline.

Garden art butterfly project

3. Once the whole butterfly outline has paint poured over it, you can then press the plywood butterfly down on to it. And watch the magic unfold and let dry.

butterfly press and pour

Completing the plywood butterfly garden ornament

Now all you need to do is screw your butterflies to the treated timber stakes, and find a fun place for them in the garden…

If you liked this article then check out more great ideas in our School age: Creative arts and crafts section.

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Alayna lives in the Horowhenua with her husband and two beautiful children, where she runs She's a qualified primary school teacher with a passion for visual arts. Alayna's work has featured in print and online publications, you can check out her work on her website.

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