Monday, February 20, 2012

Handmade 3D Butterfly Art on a $0 Budget

Do you remember one of last year's favorite crafts, specimen art? You know, where you cut out a hundred butterflies and beautifully arrange them in a frame. I had intended to create one for my daughter's room but just never got around to it. With an electronic cutter (i.e. Silhouette or Cricut) or a paper punch in the correct shape, the project would have only taken 30 minutes but 30 minutes I just didn't seem to find. Until now.

I wanted to make something a little more unique than the specimen art so I hunted around Pinterest and Etsy, two of my major suppliers of inspiration, and found these two items that I love:
Source Ikea - $15
Source Etsy - approx. $40
 These can be made with a Silhouette, a Cricut if you have Sure Cuts a Lot or by hand. So for those of you who do not have an electronic cutter, don't worry, this is a simple project that anyone can do.

The first thing I did was found a few free jpeg images of butterflies online that I liked. I saved them to my computer and opened them in Picasa. Since I did not want the entire butterfly cut out and wanted the wings to pop out of the page, I cropped the image so I had two separate halves. 
 If you have Sure Cuts a Lot (sorry this software is no longer available for the Cricut), insert both halves of the butterflies and line then up. Group them and then you can resize, rotate etc. You can see, that the Cricut will only cut where there are lines. The middle of the butterfly will not be cut.
If you do not have a Cricut or Silhouette, design the page in Microsoft Word. Using an 8.5x11 blank page, insert the jpegs one at a time to create the design you like. Reformat the page to be grey scale making the lines a really light grey. Print the design on a nice card stock and cut the grey lines carefully with an Exacto knife. A little more time is needed for this, but it will still produce the same amazing end product.
I did this one..sorry it is hard to see but you can get the idea.
After I cut the card stock using my Cricut it looked like this.
 I have a pointy tool that came with my craft knife set that I use to score things. I placed my metal rule between the two points of the butterfly and gently scored where I wanted the butterfly wings to pop up.
 Sorry the photos are dark. I was too lazy to go get my good camera so these are from my horrible little point a shoot.
 After each butterfly is scored twice, carefully bend the wings back.
I had a DollarStore frame on hand for this. I had to remove the glass because there is no depth to the frame. Ideally I will eventually do this with a shadow box style of frame so the paper will be behind glass..
My daughter selected a bright pink piece of scrapbook paper to put behind the butterflies since her room is pink.
 Isn't it pretty?
It was my neice's birthday yesterday, so my daughter wanted to give her one too. We used the same DollarStore frame but spray painted it with glossy purple and a piece of purple scrapbook paper. To be honest, I like this one better because of the contast between the paper and the frame. My daughter's one might have to venture into the garage for a little spray paint.
 I love this!
I might be pulling this downstairs soon for my Easter decorations.

Grand total for this was $0..I had the frames, scrapbook paper and card stock all on hand. If I had to buy everything, I think it would be under $2!

I think I will design a dragon fly one next or maybe hearts.  I will share those when/if I finish them.

What do you think?  I am really happy with how they turned out.


Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home


  1. Hi Stephanie,
    I love the 3D butterflies, but thought the only way to do it was with a circut. Cutting out 8 or 10 of these with an exacto is not that difficult. Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Joanne, Thanks for the comment. I fully agree cutting a few of these by hand with an exacto know would be pretty easy. I would love to see your end result if you make one.

  2. These are lovely! Thanks for sharing all the details.

  3. I'm not sure how often you check old blogs, but I would really really love the template for your wedding date art. If you would send it to it would be amazing. Thank you so much, Nicole

  4. Love this! We have our Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday Link Party going on now and would love for you to share this!

  5. This is an amazing idea! I can't wait to make one! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  6. This is such a creative idea! I would love for you to Link up at my Linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  7. Hi,

    I put à comment here. Apparently it did not go through. First of all, thank you for this because I was wondering how to make such butterflies. I don't have a cutter so I have to do this by hand. Which paper would you recommend? I have tried cutting butterflies by hand but it goes rough edges and it does not look neat.
    Thank you in advance. Keep up the good ideas.


    1. Hello Samantha,

      I used cheap card stock from Michaels in the ones I did. I would recommend using a simply butterfly design and carefully cutting it was a craft knife to prevent roudh edges.

      Good Luck,

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