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Make Your Own Beautiful Butterflies

Butterflies are a perfect example of symmetry. Symmetry is something that is the same on both sides of a middle line. In the case of butterflies, both the left and right wings have the exact same pattern. Making these butterflies is a great craft to practice pattern making and see symmetry in action.

Photo by Suzy Lyttle


  • 2 coffee filters per butterfly

  • A tray to work on

  • Washable markers or dot markers

  • A glass of water

  • An eye dropper

  • Clothes pins or pipe cleaners

  • Butterfly field guides (optional)


1. Stack two coffee filters on top of each other. Make sure they line up and fit exactly.

2. Fold the coffee filters in half, and create a fold in the middle. Then open them back up.

Photo by Suzy Lyttle

3. Place the coffee filters on your tray. Using washable markers or dot markers, create a pattern on the filters on one side of the center line. Make sure you only make your pattern on one side! Need some inspiration? Look at a butterfly field guide to match real butterfly patterns. Tip: Try to replace black and brown with lighter colors. The lighter colors work better when we get to the water phase.

4. Once your pattern is done, fold the stacked coffee filters back in half.

Photo by Suzy Lyttle

5. Fill the eye dropper with water, then use it to squeeze water drops on the folded coffee filters. Do this slowly to see the colors bleed together. Keep adding drops until you like the results. If you don’t have an eyedropper, try using a spray bottle or let the water drip from the tips of your fingers.

6. Carefully unfold the coffee filters. Your pattern should be the same on both sides, creating symmetry. Tip: Pat your hand on the coffee filter once done to help the colors get to both sides.

7. Lay the coffee filters out to dry.

Photo by Suzy Lyttle

8. Once dry, pull apart the two coffee filters. Create small folds in the filters, as in the photo above.

9. Pinch the coffee filter along the center fold and clip it with a clothes pin, creating a wing on each side. If you don’t have a clothes pin, just twist a pipe cleaner in the center to form the wings.

Photo by Suzy Lyttle

10. Carefully pull apart the folds on the wings. Now, let your butterfly flutter!


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