Classic Summer Craft: Coffee Filter Butterflies

When I thought about all the crafts I’ve done with the kids, I realized we haven’t done many classic crafts for kids!

This butterfly craft is definitely a classic craft that you probably remember doing yourself when you were a child. The kids loved the process of prepping the butterflies. Dying the coffee filters especially! But putting the butterflies together… that part didn’t work out for them as well.

Because of all the drying, this is a couple day process to make. I probably could have planned better and painted the clothespins the same day as the coffee filters. But this way it got spread out for the boys and they didn’t get tired or cranky during a craft.

[That's my tip for the day: If a craft has multiple steps, make them separate activities. My kids got excited for each part that was going to make a butterfly.]

The kids’ favorite part of the activity was dying the coffee filters! There’s so many ways to do this.

Ways we’ve dyed coffee filters in the past:

This time, the boys used paint dab markers [dot markers], that we received from CraftProjectIdeas.com, and colored them as much as they liked. And then sprayed them, using a squirt bottle, with water.

Dye coffee filters for a classic butterfly craft

George absolutely loved the squirt bottle and often squirted on the colored coffee filters so much so that there wasn’t much for color left.

But they loved it so much that they kept coloring more and more coffee filters just to squirt more.

They made a lot of colored coffee filters!

Find 30 more classic summer crafts for kids to make!

Dye coffee filters for a classic butterfly craft

So we had a few brightly colored ones to choose from to make into butterflies!

Dye coffee filters for a classic butterfly craft

We set these aside to dry and came back to them a couple days later.

Henry brought one of these coffee filter butterfly crafts home from preschool this past year and its been sitting on his nightstand ever since. [He kind of hoards his artwork there... his tape resist trees are still showcased there as well.]

The one he brought home used pipe cleaners for the body and antenna. So that was my plan as well, until I spotted the clothespin pegs that I had out from doing the string scavenger hunt.

Those are perfect bodies for butterflies, but they needed a little sprucing up.

We decided to paint them first.

I tried our regular go-to Crayola washable paint first. It didn’t pan out this time. It seemed too watered down to show up on the wooden peg. It must have just soaked into it.

Instead, we used some of my acrylic paints. The boys never paint with these, so they thought it was a real treat. [Be careful though because I found out that these do stain clothes...]

I just squirted a little bit of each color onto a cheap sheet pan and handed them a paint brush. George tried rolling the clothespin in the paint too. Whatever works!

Paint clothespins for a classic butterfly craft

And here’s another waiting period. We let the clothespins dry overnight.

Assembling the butterflies was much harder for the kids to do than I anticipated. Being able to scrunch the coffee filter in the center wasn’t working for them…. in any way…

I almost had success by having them just slide the clothespin onto the coffee filter and to keep pushing it in until they reached the other side. But that was even a stretch for them.

Scrunch a coffee filters in a clothespin to make a classic butterfly craft

Thinking about it now, I think a line drawn down the center of the coffee filter would have helped guide them to help them understand exactly what they were supposed to do. Because I do think they would be fully capable of doing it, they just didn’t quite understand the concept of how to do it.

I had the best success with just pinching them in the center myself and doing a little twist.

I tried the pipe cleaners for antennae on some of them. I wrapped the pipe cleaner around the center of the scrunched up butterfly wings and then slid on the clothespin. It worked sometimes, but other times it was just too tight of a fit. So I just left them be without since the boys weren’t able to help put them together anyway.

Classic Craft: Coffee Filter Butterflies

We’re sending out a bunch of these butterflies to the kids that have been sending us artwork as part of the Kids Art Exchange! George had a little bit of a hard time parting with a couple butterflies, but he’s so excited when he gets a piece of art in the mail, I just had to remind him of that and how fun it will be for the next kid to receive this butterfly craft!

Have you signed up to join the Kids Art Exchange? Please join us!

 

While these may not be considered a classic craft, these crayon crafts and activities are still fun for the kids!

 

Henry is 5 years old. George is 2.5 years old.

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