How to Make a Butterfly Model

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Use a simple toilet paper tube and other craft items to make your own butterfly model.
Use a simple toilet paper tube and other craft items to make your own butterfly model. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Butterflies are not just beautiful, they are fascinating creatures that undergo remarkable changes in their lives as they change from egg to caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. Constructing a model butterfly allows you to make an attractive craft object inspired by these insects' colorful wings, but also helps you learn about their different body parts too.

Things You'll Need

  • Toilet roll tube
  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • 5 black pipe cleaners
  • 1 red pipe cleaner
  • Colored cardstock
  • Craft paint
  • Brush

Place the toilet roll tube so it stands vertically upright and make a series of small cuts about 1/2 inch deep at 1-inch intervals around the edge. Fold the tabs you've created backwards so they point outwards. Paste with glue and stick onto the tennis ball. Leave to dry. The ball is the head of the butterfly and the tube is its thorax.

Cut one egg "holder" from a cardboard egg box and place over the opposite end of the tube from the head. Glue in place. This will be the model's abdomen.

Paint the body, head and abdomen black with craft paint and leave to dry.

Use the point of your scissors to create three pairs of leg holes (six holes in total) along the underside of the thorax. The holes in each pair should be about two inches apart from each other. Push a black pipe cleaner through one leg hole and out the paired hole. Bend each end of the cleaner downwards to create a leg on each side of the thorax. Repeat with the other two sets of holes.

Make two holes on the top of the head with the point of the scissors and insert a black pipe cleaner into each hole, pushing them down into the ball as far as they will go to make antennae.

Wrap one end of a red pipe cleaner round a pencil several times to create a coil. Remove the pencil. Make a hole in the front of the butterfly's head for the mouth using the point of your scissors. Insert the non coiled end of the red pipe cleaner into the hole as far as it will go. This is your butterfly's long tongue which it uses for collecting nectar.

Cut two small circles of colored card stock and glue these on the butterfly's head as eyes.

Draw a set of butterfly wings into a sheet of stiff colored card stock and cut out. The wings should have a span of approximately 5 inches. Print out the wing template in the Resources section if you do not want to design your own wing shape. Glue it onto card stock and cut out. Paint the wings using craft paints. Leave to dry.

Glue the wings onto the top of the thorax to complete your butterfly model.

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