Introduction: A Beautiful Quilled Butterfly

About: I'm a mom of 4 and I love to craft! Anything and Everything interests me and i love to create in the process of learning.

Aren't you always amazed at how beautiful butterflies are? Their vibrant colors so beautifully blended.

Among these beautiful creation of God's I love the colors of the Monarch butterfly. It's so like the colors of the sun s

One day as I was looking at a picture of this butterfly I noticed the shapes so look like the pinched up shapes of paper quilling that I thought to try it. This quilled butterfly can never compare to the real thing, but then; I'm just human! and this is paper :-)

For those of you who are new to quilling here is a brief explanation on 'Quilling' found in Wikipedia. -

"Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted and otherwise manipulated to create shapes which make up designs to decorate greetings cards, pictures, boxes, eggs, and to make models, jewellery, mobiles etc. The most popular and versatile technique is that of rolling. The paper strip is rolled in fingers or using a tool called a quilling needle. The coil is then released and then glued at the tip and then shaped. These shaped coils are arranged to form flowers, leaves, and various ornamental patterns.

During the Renaissance, French and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items. The paper most commonly used was strips of paper trimmed from the gilded edges of books. These gilded paper strips were then rolled to create the quilled shapes. Quilling often imitated the original ironwork of the day."

Let's get started. I have shown the shapes being used here in the below steps but if you want to check out the other basic quilling shapes please check here.

Once you have checked that out move on to the next step.

Step 1: Materials

  • Quilling paper in colors red, dark orange, light orange, yellow and black. For black I used a light cardboard. I felt it was stronger and also I liked the real dark black of the board.
  • Alternatively you can cut you own strips with a hand shredder.
  • Download a free picture of a Monarch butterfly so that you can use it as a guide.
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • pin/ toothpick/ quilling tool
  • Quilling circle template board.
  • Styrofoam to pin the shapes.

If you want to learn quilling and require the whole kit you can get it from here in ebay. Overall I think in ebay the price is very cheap. If you want only the circle template then you can get it here on Amazon or eBay. You could also just check a stationary shop for regular rulers with circles in it.

Step 2: Join Paper Strips and Make Coils

Some of these circles uses combined colors. So first you need to tear ( yes tear not cut, as this would give a smoother joint ) your strips to the correct length. Then splice them together with glue.

Once glue is dry roll up your strips and make loose circles with your pin, quilling tool or tooth pick. Place the rolls in the template and let it loose. Adjust the coils if needed. Carefully glue the ends close.

In the following step I have given the strips size and the circle sizes to be made. Also some basic shapes to be made.

Step 3: Prepare Your Coils and Shapes

I have tried to make this as easy as possible for you to replicate. Below is a list of the length of the strip and color and circle size. As it is repetitive I have used the initials for you to know the colors.
From now on Dark orange would be - DO

Light orange wold be -LO

Yellow would be -Y

White would be -W

All the yellow tight circles were rolled in 4" strips.

All the white tight circles were rolled in 2..5" long strips.

For the rest I have used different lengths. Sometimes for certain bigger circles I have taken lesser length because this would enable me to make thinner but longer shapes.

Make loose circles according to the required circle sizes given in list below and pinch them to shape. Use the picture as guide.

#18 - 2 =DO 42" , 2=LO 42"

#15 - 2=DO 40", 2=LO 40".

#12 - 4=DO 4"+ LO 20" .

#9 - 4= LO 7"+ DO 5"+ LO 10".

#6 - 4 = DO 3"+ LO 7".

#5 - 4= DO 3"+ LO 5",

#5 - 2= Y 8".

#4 - 2= DO 2" + LO 4".

#3 - 2= DO 1"+ LO 3"

Step 4: Tear Drop Shape

Pinch the loose circle in one end to make a tear drop shape

Step 5: Leaf Shape

Pinch on both ends of a loose circle to get the Leaf shape. If you want a more curved shape you can bend the shape in the direction you want

Step 6: Wrap With Black

I have rolled the white dots separately. But while doing this tutorial I realized I should have attached a black strip to the white and rolled it at once to give the required outline for the white tight circle.

Though this is okay for most of the white dot shapes; for some you need to make tight white circles with loose black circles to fill in the gaps. When you see the below steps you would realize what I mean.

Glue and outline your other shapes with the black strip. When gluing the black strip remember to bend further away from the last bend while wrapping up so that it would resemble the usual paper quilling shape. Also it would be thinner at the end so it would be easy to blend it in the shape. I did this step while I was assembling so that I could make the black thicker or thinner according to the requirement.

Sometimes in the larger circles the rolled up quilled strips might try to come out. To solve this problem simply add glue in between the strips.

Step 7: Upper Wings

Use the butterfly picture as a guide and slowly assemble. I used a Styrofoam as a platform to assemble as it would be easy to pin the shapes in place

As this is basically more of a visual tutorial it's impossible to explain all the steps as you would not understand it in the written form. So I have numbered the parts and sizes I have used in the pictures. Also make sure to work in pairs. As this would be easier in making the wings symmetrical.

After building the main body I used the yellow tight circles and white tight circles in a the appropriate place. I wrapped these circles in black according to the space needed to be covered. While assembling this wing I needed a large black area to be filled. So I glued a white tight circle to an 18" long black strip and made it in circle #18.

You can enlarge the butterfly picture or you can draw on the Styrofoam the wing shape.

I followed the picture and drew the wing on the Styrofoam. Now once part of the body of the wings were formed I glued a strip of black paper to the edge of the butterfly and slowly took the shape with the strip, making sure to fill in the gaps with the white and black rolled circles. Here you would notice that some of the black circles are larger or shaped in leaf or tear drop shape to fill in the gap. Once you have completed filling the gaps, go over the whole shape with a black strip of paper as an outline. Go over twice.

Once you have done the upper body you can move onto the lower body.

By now you would find that you have found your own system of doing it and you would probably go it your own way.

Step 8: Lower Wings

As you did with the upper wings follow the picture as a template and place wings. Once you finish building the main shape with the petals you can move on to the white dots. Here it's sometimes not always possible to go exactly as the picture but try to get to it as close as possible. As you did with the previous wings, go over the shape with a long black strip about twice. glue it down.

Step 9: The Body

Place half of your wings together like how butterfly wings are. Now measure to see how long you need to make your body.

For my body I cut a triangle about 1.5" wide and 3" long. Roll up starting from the wide side. Make sure the point is always in the center. Dab a bit of glue before you finish rolling and glue it down.

Follow the same steps for the head but take a triangle 0.25" wide and 3" long. Glue the head to the body.

Cut a 1mm strip about 3" long. Bend it in half to form a 'V' shape. Now roll the the end, half way down and glue it in place. Glue the antlers to the head

Step 10: Assembling

Now to assemble place your wings how you want on the body. Use objects to raise the body so that you can sort of glue the wings at an angle. This of course takes a long time as you need it to completely dry before you glue the bottom wings. Alternately you can use hot glue. It's super quick and easy. But make sure it doesn't show!

I have to admit from a distance it almost looks real :-). I'm thrilled with how it turned out!

How about making your own butterfly and posting a picture for me to see? I would love to see it!

Feedback or comments on improvements are most welcome :-)

Please , I have entered this in the paper contest. I would love your vote:-) thanks!

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