I first began making these decorated paper butterfly boxes when my daughter was very young and obsessed with butterflies. One year, I made a bunch of them to give out at her butterfly-themed birthday party. The girls were thrilled to get fancy little boxes containing jewelry instead of goody bags of candy. It was amusing how these boxes made cheap, plastic jewelry look like they came from Tiffany's! In fact, some of the girls thought they were little purses and used them to carry around their prized trinkets long after the party was over. I even began receiving orders from some of the moms who saw them and wanted to use them for giving out special little gifts.
The great thing about these boxes is they also double very nicely as ornaments once the holidays roll around. I made enough to fill a small Christmas tree for my daughter the same year of her butterfly birthday party. It became sort of a "butterfly-Advent calendar" as I put little toys and candies in each box. The butterflies looked beautiful hanging on the tree with tinsel garlands and little clear Christmas twinkle lights that made the glittery butterflies sparkle and shimmer. (Unfortunately, the glitter doesn't show up well in my photos, but you can believe me when I say they are quite dazzling in person.)
These butterfly gift box ornaments are very simple and satisfying to make. You'll feel like a real artist after putting a few of them together, so feel free to sign your name or initials (like I did) to your completed masterpieces! My daughter even began making her own once she saw how easy they are to make (basic kindergarten skills like cutting, pasting and glitter-gluing are all that is needed once you print the butterflies). So what are you waiting for...get you paper papillon on now!
Step 1: Supplies
1/ Decorative Butterfly Illustrations (CD-ROM & Book) by Dover + Color Printer
2/ Satin Ribbon (or whatever material ribbon you like)
3/ Small Black Jewelry Boxes
4/ X-Acto Knife + Cutting Board (or scissors, whichever works best for you)
5/ Heavyweight Paper (for printing the butterflies)
6/ Black Spray Paint (for the backs of the butterflies)
7/ Protective Clear Finish Spray (for the printed side of the butterflies)
8/ Craft Glue (or other quick-drying adhesive)
9/ Glitter Glue + Puff Paint (or other decorative glitter/paint of your choice)
I bought all the above either online (#1& #3) or at craft & paper (#5) stores. It's all very easy to find.
Step 2: Choose Butterfly Images
Using the CD-ROM from the Decorative Butterfly Illustrations book, choose the butterfly images you'd like to use for your boxes.
Step 3: Print Butterflies
Print two of the same butterfly image for each box you are making. Then, spray the prints with quick, even shots of the protective clear finish spray. This will prevent the printer ink from bleeding if your butterfly boxes should happen to get exposed to moisture.
Step 4: Cut Out the Butterflies
Once you have your printed and protective coated pair of butterfly images, cut them out. This can be done one of two ways. I used an X-Acto knife, but other people (especially young children) may find it easier to use scissors. Both ways work well, but if you choose to keep the butterfly's antenna intact (which I generally don't recommend doing as they often break off), the X-Acto knife will work better for cutting out that part of the butterfly.
After you've cut out both butterflies, spray the backs of them with the black spray paint and allow them to dry completely.
Step 5: Printed Butterfly Pairs
Aren't they pretty? Look at all those butterfly pairs just waiting for glittery enhancement.
Step 6: Make Those Butterflies Shimmer!
Once the black spray-painted sides have dried, decorate the printed sides with glitter glue and puff paint. I found the clear glitter glue added a sparkly shimmer effect to the larger printed surfaces and the puff paint added nice highlights and definition to the detailed parts of the butterfly.
Step 7: Box Assembly
Once the glitter glue and puff paint have dried completely, it's time to assemble the boxes. To do this, squeeze a thick layer of glue between the box parts and the black sides of the butterflies. You will also be sticking the ends of the cut ribbon pieces in between the box parts and the butterflies, so make sure to have enough glue squishing around the area (though not so much that it oozes out). Apply gentle pressure to the pieces until the glue starts to set up, then lay them down flat to finish the drying process.
Step 8: Assembled & Attached Parts
Note: Make sure to cut the ribbon long enough to allow comfortable closure of the box. It should also be long enough to create a loop that can be used as a hanger (2-4 inches is usually an adequate length).
Step 9: Finito!
Once the glue has completely dried, your beautiful Butterfly Gift Box Ornaments are done and ready to be filled with jewelry and other small gift items.
Step 10: Butterfly Swarm
Actually, these aren't all butterflies. Some of them are moths (really!). Apparently, some moth species can be just as beautiful as butterflies. (But Moth Gift Box Ornaments just didn't sound as nice as Butterfly Gift Box Ornaments...don't you agree?)