Jul 20, 2014

DIY Butterfly Wing Kit


I normally consider myself a 'rule follower'. Just ask my husband and he'll give you countless examples of my inability to break a rule. Or don't ask him, rather, as I am sure that would end up in some embarrassing story. However, one of my favorite little people turned 3 a few weeks ago and I promptly ignored the 'no gifts, please' on the party invitation without a second thought. I'm such a rebel, I know. Well, if I am being completely honest here, I thought about it a little bit, but only to come up with a way to give her a gift without contributing to the over-abundance of toys that plagues many a parent. Solution - give a gift that is really an activity. And instead of another 'craft' that gets stuffed in a box, how about a project that results in a unique set of butterfly wings for playing dress up? I can't exactly remember being 3 very well, but I have a feeling this craft/dress up combo would have been right up my alley. And bonus for the parents - it takes up minimal space once completed. Just throw it in the dress up bin with all the princess dresses and call it a day.
 

Wing Materials
Fabric - I used muslin, but other fabric like canvas would work also
Scissors
Pencil
Black Craft Paint
Fabric Medium
Paint brush
Black ribbon
Black thread and sewing machine
Fray Check (optional)


To make the wings, fold the fabric in half and sketch the wing outline with the fold of fabric as the center of the wings. Be mindful of the age/size of the child. Cut along the outline and lay the fabric flat on the ground. Outline (again in pencil) the areas you want to paint black. Using the monarch butterfly as an inspiration, I drew a simplified black outline with white spots around the wing edges. Be sure to leave lots of open space for the little artist to add her special touch. After mixing the medium and black craft paint per instructions on the paint medium bottle, paint the outlined black sections and let dry. I had originally intended to only paint one side of the fabric, but after seeing how the paint bled through, I thought making double sided wings would be even better. The following day I flipped the (now dry) fabric over and painted the same pattern on the other side. I didn't need to fray check the edges of the wings because the black paint 'sealed' the edges pretty well on its own.


At this point you will have beautiful wings, but no way to secure them to your little butterfly. Without exact arm measurements, I needed a simple and adjustable way to attach the wings to her arms that would allow for a range of sizes. After a little brainstorming I settled on a simple ribbon to tie on each arm.  First you will need to cut black ribbons about 18" long. Fold the ribbons in half and pin the center of each ribbon in position along the top of the wings an equal distance from the center. Sew the ribbon to the wings by sewing about an inch up and down a few times. You can fray check the edge of the ribbons as desired.



Now for the really fun part - assembling the kit. To fill your kit, you will need the following:

Kit Materials
3 Paint colors
Paint brush
Fabric Medium and black paint (used above)
3 small mason jars (for paint/medium mixing)
Printable Instructions for the parents
Clear plastic paint can and Silhouette Cameo with vinyl (optional for gift wrap)

You can use as many paint colors as you want here, but I found three to be a good balance of giving the little one options while not requiring mom/dad to mix a bunch of different colors with the medium. I did include the bottle of black paint used to create the wings in case they wanted to 'touch up' the black outline after the other painting was completed. I also printed some instructions for mom and dad, which can be found here.



At this point I had an adorable pile of paints, tiny jars, and butterfly wings and it would have been a shame to hide all of this in a box. So I packed it all up into a clear plastic paint can and the result was almost too perfect. I mean a painting kit in a paint can...come on. The contents of the paint can were already a bit 'busy', so I kept the can decorations minimal. By now you have probably realized that I use my Silhouette Cameo in nearly every project, so it should be no shock that I pulled it out here to make a custom label. I meshed a butterfly onto a scalloped frame, added the text, and then cut the whole label from a roll of hot pink vinyl. The vinyl stuck perfectly to the side of the paint can.


I look forward to seeing how they turn out! She's going to make a lovely butterfly.
 

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