Intro: Butterflies in the Grass
Make as many as you want, in as many sizes as you want. Make them one color or many. I chose to make 100 butterflies, all painted in one color, in three sizes, but you may choose differently.
Step 1: Choose a Template
Find a template you like. I chose three simplified templates in three
different sizes. Varying the size from bigger than life size to life size figure enhances the illusion of movement and distance. Fine details, such as antennae are lost when snipping the shapes from metal.
Step 2: Mark Your Metal & Cut Along Marking
When choosing metal to work with, focus on thinner stock, such as thin gauge aluminum flashing which is a softer metal and therefore easier to cut my hand. Layout your template and mark the outline onto the metal. You can use pencil, crayon or chalk, but keep in mind that many markings need to be removed prior to painting. I choose to mark the outline with a red sharpie.
Using tin snips or metal shears, cut carefully along your marking being careful not to cut your hands.
Step 3: Scuff With Sandpaper
Scuffing with a fine grit sandpaper will remove most of the marking and remove oxidation on the aluminum, making it easier for the paint to adhere to your form. Take your time - this is a long step.
Step 4: Prep Your Butterfly for Wiring
I selected insulation support pins as stakes and since it is difficult to solder on aluminum, I wired the butterflies to Insulation support pins.
Step 5: Punch Holes for Wiring
I used my double hole punch plate to pierce two holes near the center of the butterfly shape.Choose a pliable wire with enough tensile strength to hold the wire. I use electric fence wire since it meets those criteria and it's made for use outside.
Step 6: Wire Your Butterfly
I bent my 6" length of wire into a candy cane shape, with one side 2" long and the other end 4" long. I fed the longer length into one side and pulled until I could guide the wire into the other hole. Flatten the bottom of the "U" so that it will lay flat on the body of the butterfly. I used a pair of needle nose pliers for the task.
Using jewelers ring pliers, run five or six rings until the rings are very close to the body of the butterfly. feed in the support pin and wrap the longer wire tightly around the pin. Wing it on this task - as long as it's tight, it's good. It will fade with painting (more so if you're painting them a darker color). Be especially careful not to pull the top of the "U" - if you do, the aluminum will tear easier than you can crush a drink can.
Step 7: Paint Your Butterflies
I used exterior grade spray paint, suitable for use on metal, to paint the butterflies.
Step 8: Plant Your Butterflies
With your grip ONLY on the stake, preferably on a moist day, Plant the stakes in the ground at the desired depth. I placed them from largest to smallest, and adjusted the height to make a "wave". Shape them as desired. The smaller butterflies placed in the farthest end will give the illusion of greater distance.