Use a fun painting technique to create a gorgeous DIY butterfly mask with your kids (our printable template takes the guesswork out of sizing and shapes). Just add wings for a lovely handmade Halloween costume…
Did you know that between mid-spring and late fall, Monarchs produce FOUR generations of butterflies? The last group of Monarch butterflies usually emerges in November. Instead of living the same short life cycle as their predecessors, November Monarchs fly south for the winter, take a little vacation, then migrate back north in the spring to start the generational cycle all over again. The wonder of nature!
Inspired by amazing Monarchs (and a fun new painting technique we learned from our friends at Make It Your Own) we created this DIY Monarch butterfly mask! It’s a wonderful chance for kids to experiment with new ways of making art – and the warm reds, yellows, and oranges of butterflies are a perfect compliment to the late summer and early autumn atmosphere.
Our artfully handmade masquerade mask is such a fun way for kids to create useable art. You can put this lovely mask to work for a little butterfly garden play, stick it in a potted plant for some gorgeous seasonal art, or even ditch the handle and make a set of oversized butterflies into a late summer or autumn garland.
When October rolls around, combine this with a beautiful pair of kid-made paper bag butterfly wings for a gorgeous DIY Halloween costume your kids can make (with a little bit of help!) themselves.
For a variation on the butterfly theme, turn old crayons into beautiful melted crayon butterfly art with our easy step-by-step tutorial (one of our most popular spring posts!).
To make your own kids butterfly mask you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Watercolor paper (we used a sheet of 11″ x 15″ watercolor paper. If you’d rather use what you already have, you can tape/glue together two 8.5 x 11 sheets instead)
- Black tempera paint or acrylic paint (with a secret ingredient added…!)
- Liquid watercolors or watercolor cakes
- A Paintbrush
- A Q-tip
- A stick or craft dowel and a couple of small twigs
- Our printable butterfly mask template (with 2 small butterfly eye mask template options, 1 large Monarch mask, 6 different butterfly template styles)
DIY Butterfly Mask Instructions:
Print, cut out and trace our printable butterfly mask template
Print and cut out our butterfly mask template PDF. Trace around the edge of the butterfly template with a pencil. For the eye holes, you can use a ballpoint pen or dull pencil to trace over the shapes on the template – making sure to use enough pressure that it creates indented lines on your watercolor paper underneath.
Trace pattern lines and cut the eye shapes out of the center of the template
Use scissors to cut out your butterfly and the eye holes.
If you’re making a butterfly mask with younger kids, would like to free-decorate your butterfly, or simply don’t want to use our specific Monarch template lines, skip to step 4.
If you want to make the same kind of Monarch we did, you can use the same ballpoint pen/dull pencil embossing technique we used in step 1 to create embossed lines on your watercolor paper. Once you’ve finished tracing all the shapes, use a pencil to go over the lines on your watercolor paper so they’re dark enough for you to see clearly.
Stamp circles or other simple shapes onto your butterfly
We used a special paint combination & really fun technique we learned from this watercolor butterfly tutorial over at Make It Your Own. Visit the incredibly simple step-by-step (with the cutest video EVER!) to see how we were able to make our patterned wing painting easy enough for kids to accomplish on their own! The special additive in the black paint also keeps the paint from bleeding when watercolors are added!
Add details to your butterfly with black paint
If you’re making the monarch as we did, add larger decorative circles or shapes first, then paint around the outlined shapes with black paint, as we have. If you’re working with younger kids, you may want to add the black paint yourself (it will make the next step a breeze for them!)
Use watercolors to add color to your butterfly
Add watercolors! You can use realistic Monarch butterfly colors as we did, or get wild with your palette. Experiment with color-blending and adding more/less water. Having black areas pre-painted and dried will make the watercolor color-in process easier for younger kids.
Add finishing touches with a Q-tip and paint
Once your butterfly has dried, use a q-tip dipped in white paint to add small dots anywhere you’d like. We used a printed picture for reference so ours would be more similar to a monarch’s, but this is also a fun opportunity for kids to stamp out simple q-tip circles anywhere they want.
Glue a handle to the back of your mask
Use strong tape, craft glue, or a hot glue gun to attach two twig antennae and a stick, craft dowel, or chopstick you can use as a handle.
Continue the theme and try making some watercolor peace & love butterfly wreaths, or use up some old crayons with these melted crayon butterflies.
Into more insect ideas? Grab a clothespin and plastic spoon to make your own DIY clip-on cicadas! Or make an incredibly cool insect observation box from recycled supplies.
Loving the fun new painting technique and tips? Bonnie and her kids, the family team behind Make It Your Own, provide endless inspiration and always have the most creative ideas so be sure to stop by the amazing site for a visit through the vast collection of kids’ projects!
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!