Wanting to bring in some of that butterfly magic I came up with this butterfly mobile. It's a simple project that has provided some bonuses like:
Satisfying our daughter's need to paint everything, including herself.
Utilizing man-made and natural materials, thus stimulating talk about recycling.
Introducing topics such as spring, nature, a butterfly's life cycle and more
Encouraging creativity and imagination (our little bug concocts marvelous stories each
night about the butterflies dangling over her bed and how they got in her room).
Providing scissor handling and cutting practice for those small motor skills.
Inducing tingly, sentimental feelings when one peers up at the juxtaposition of baby's teeny
hands next to your unnaturally large grown-up hands.
Step 1: Gather Necessary Materials
Newspaper both for covering work surface and for creating butterfly wings
Tempera or acrylic paints in desired colors (we used white paint to pastel the colors)
Paint brush and dishes to hold paint
Clear fishing wire or any clear string
Skewer or hole punch
A cool stick picked up on a recent hike around the neighborhood
Step 2: Mix It Up
Our daughter decided her butterflies should be blue, orange, green and, of course, pink. We're working on primary color mixtures so we made green and orange and we also used a boat-load of white paint to create pastel color...How spring of us!
We used a few drops of water to thin out the paint making it more of a wash.
Step 3: Painting Digits
Paint your entire palm. I allowed my daughter paint mine because it's nice to say "yes" every once in a while.
I found it easier to do one hand at a time and I started with my palms first. It just seemed easier to line up our hand prints this way.
Step 4: Hand Stamping
Make sure when you print to press down on the palm of your hand and all the fingers for a clean print.
We settled for pretty messy prints because we couldn't seem to get a perfect stamp of our hands, but I'm telling everyone that it's cuter that way.
Step 5: One Hand...
Step 6: Two Hand...
If you're really coordinated you can cross your arms and print both hands at once.
Step 7: From Big to Small
Step 8: Three Hand...
For your kid prints you have a choice of crossing arms to print on opposite sides of the paper or just have the kid print on the same side of the paper. As long as the heels are together it really doesn't matter and might save you some trouble if you just have your child stamp straight down.
Step 9: Four!
After this, it's a lot less stressful. I promise!
Step 10: Time to Dry
Perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee and read a nice Springtime book or two with your tot.
Step 11: Cut It Out!
Step 12: A Few Extra Touches
Using a Q-tip as our brush, add a few strokes and dots to one side of the butterfly wings. Then, close the butterflies, press the sides together and open them up to reveal a surprise. Voila! Perfectly symmetrical butterfly wings just like nature made!
Something else to try might be glitter to give them a little sparkle.
After making the inkblots, I felt they were a bit creepy. Why? I saw something in them that reminded me of a bad dream... so I redid the prints thinking I'd just string them up without them. After all, I didn't want my poor daughter afraid to go to bed because she feared some scary marks on the wings. However, my husband insisted they looked nice with the inkblots, so we went ahead with it (someday when our daughter is an adult and in therapy reliving her repressed memories of a terrifying ink-blot monster in her room, we'll know the truth).
Step 13: Take a Hike
Step 14: Ironing Things Out
*Forgot to take a picture of me ironing the wings. Probably best that way. Might have proven to be dangerous.
Step 15: Total Body Shape Up
Step 16: String Em' Up
I'm sure there are better ways to do this but I didn't want to glue the pipe cleaners to the butterfly wings only to have them fall off 2 days later. I wanted to find a way to tie them together.
Using a wooden skewer or hole punch (I chose a skewer because I wanted really tiny holes) poke one hole on the top of the butterfly right in the middle, two more holes a teeny bit underneath the first hole--one on each side of the butterfly wings close to the middle fold and two more holes--one on each side, at the bottom of the wings also close to the middle side.
Cut a fairly long piece of fishing line and do the following:
Lace it up through one of the two middle holes at the top, leave some hanging in the back
Down the other top middle hole
Wrap string around pipe cleaner twice
Back up the first hole you laced
Then down to the bottom hole on the same side
Wrap fishing line around the bottom of the butterfly body twice and up the opposite bottom hole
Take string up to top hole on the same side and pull through that hole
Then up through the very top hole.
Secure the two loose ends by tying them together close to the back of the wings
Make sure to pull the fishing line tight so it secures the pipe cleaner body to the wings. When you pull fishing line through the last hole you'll use the extra line for tying the butterfly to the branch.
Step 17: Hanging on by a Thread
Lay down with your favorite little person under your recycled newspaper/butterfly/hand print mobile, look up and admire your work.
Tomorrow go out and get your girl some caterpillars to raise!
*I really like the way the butterflies float from the branch exposing the newspaper side. However, I'm curious to see what they would look like if I painted the backs.