How to Make Butterfly Decorations from Plastic 2 Liter Bottles

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Instead of throwing away your 2-liter bottles, turn them into a fun craft project. These bottles can be used to make colorful butterfly yard decorations. This project only uses a few arts and craft supplies and is a good craft for children.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic 2-liter bottles
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Fabric pearlescent and glitter paints
  • Piece of soft wood or Styrofoam
  • Marker
  • Glue

Remove the label from the 2-liter bottle. Most of the time the label will peel off easily, except for a line of glue on one side. Don't worry if everything won't come off; the whole surface will be sanded later and then painted.

Cut the top and bottom off the bottle using scissors. Only the straight sides of the bottle will be used for the butterfly decorations. Once the top and bottom are off, cut up along one side to give a rectangular piece of plastic. This arts and crafts technique does require adult supervision with the sharp and dangerous tools that are used.

Sand the top surface with 180-grit sandpaper to ensure the paint will stick to the plastic. The top surface is the one that was the outside of the bottle. This way the butterfly wings will curve correctly on the finished yard decoration. Sand the plastic until it looks like frosted glass and is opaque.

Find a butterfly pattern from a library book or kids’ books. Look for large pictures. Coloring books are also a good source. Trace the patterns onto a piece of paper and cut them out. For butterfly wall decorations be sure the colors will go with the room colors.

Pin the plastic down to the wood piece at the corners and along the edge to make it lie flat, or use a piece of Styrofoam.

Use a marker and trace around the paper butterfly to transfer the patterns to the top of the plastic sheet. Be sure to trace the butterfly patterns so they point toward what were the top and bottom of the bottle. This is so the wings will curl correctly. Once all the butterfly patterns are drawn, pin down the plastic all over, anywhere outside a butterfly.

Pick the color of acrylic paint to use as a background color and paint the entire surface of each butterfly. Build up a couple of coats and be sure to let each coat dry completely before doing the next. If using more than one main color, do the second one next and then add lines, dots and other designs last to really set it off. Some good quality artist paintbrushes are important for good results.

Spray the surface with a clear glossy finish, or brush on a clear water based varnish, once the paint is dry. Water-based fabric paints with glitter and water-based varnish can both be used. For the body parts, glue on some craft wire or a piece of twist tie for antennae. Cut the round heads off a couple of sewing pins, with wire cutters, for eyes. Either paint on a body or make one and glue it on. A short piece of wooden dowel, some modeling clay, even a short cut off pencil can be made into a body for these butterfly decorations.

Cut the butterflies out carefully when they are finished and dry. Use these as decorations. If you want to make garden stakes for yard decorations, drill two small holes near the middle and use a wire or twist tie to connect them to a wooden or plastic stake or use decorative screws for attaching them to wood. To make a butterfly ornament, take a regular clothespin and glue it to the bottom of the butterfly body so it can be attached to items such as plant pots or basket handles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lexcel glue is one of the best for this project.
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