Paper Butterfly Garland (Silhouette Portrait Cutter Project)

Introduction: Paper Butterfly Garland (Silhouette Portrait Cutter Project)

Create this beautiful swarm of butterflies for around a child's head or as another type of colorful decoration!

Step 1: Materials Needed

  1. Silhouette Portrait Electronic cutter
  2. Computer with the Silhouette Studio software installed
  3. Some flexible wire (I used 18" long cloth stem wire, from the floral section of a local craft store.)
  4. Paper (I describe what I used below but you can use what you would like, of course.)
  5. Hole punch
  6. Glue (various types will work- I used sparkle fabric paint)

I have saved some old poster catalogues because I figured I could repurpose them for something. I selected pages because of their colors and patterns to use as my paper. I decided that they would make nice butterflies, since the paper is thick and printed on both sides.

Step 2: Create the Butterfly Pattern in Silhouette Studio

Once I was in the Silhouette Studio program, I used the curved polyline command to draw the upper portion of the wing. Another curved polyline created the lower portion of the wing. An oval for the body and a circle for the head are all the parts you need to draw.

Mirror the wing parts and use weld to create the butterfly outline. I copied the outline and then scaled it, so I have 2 different sizes of the same outline.

Step 3: Send Pattern to Silhouette Cutter

Since I am using scrap paper, I make sure the paper is located on the cutting mat where the butterflies are on the grid.

Cut and remove from mat.

Step 4: Cut Multiple Butteries From Pattern

Of course, you could be cutting them out of patterned or colored paper. They could all look the same if that's what you like.

I wanted to create variety of colors and patterns.

Step 5: Create Multiple Patterns

In the next pattern, the wings were created by copying, scaling, and rotating an oval and another curved polyline. I added the body and head as I had previously done.

I really liked how the curved polyline has an organic shape, so the next two wing shapes were created using that command.

Step 6: Cut Other Butterfly Patterns

Keep cutting until you have as many butterflies as you want. I cut about 30.

Step 7: Begin Assembling the Garland

Using the paper hole punch, I punch 2 holes in the butterflies. I didn't have the Silhouette cut them so I could decide where I wanted them as I created the garland.

I went looking for a punch with a very small hole, since I wanted the hole close to the wire size. I found one at my local craft store. Since we will glue the butterflies in place, you can use a punch with a larger hole if you want.

Once I had the holes punched, I threaded the wire through the first hole into the next and slid the butterfly to where I wanted it.

Step 8: Adding More Butterflies

Add butterflies to the existing wire. Create more than one strand of wire with butterflies on it, as well.

Step 9: Twist Wires Together

I wanted the garland to have some depth and movement, like butterflies flying around each other, so I let one wire loop above the other.

I threaded more butterflies onto the wires in random patterns.

Step 10: Add More Wire As Needed

I twist a new wire onto an existing wire, hidden behind a butterfly.

Step 11: The Garland Begins to Take Shape

Adding more butterflies, I continue to loop and twist the wires together. I add new wires twisted into the existing ones. In the end, I used 4 pieces of 18" long wire.

Step 12: Create Closure at Back of Garland

Loop the end of the wire on one side, twist to secure. Pull the tail of the wire from the other side through the loop. I am going to leave it adjustable and will twist it to lock when someone is wearing it.

Step 13: Secure Butterflies in Place

To keep the butterflies where I want them to be on the wires, I glue them in place using fabric paint, which will also add more color to the garland. I place a drop of paint where the wire goes through the butterfly. I secured some butterflies on their back sides and then dropped a bead of paint on all the front sides.

I paint a few butterflies at a time, letting them dry at the angle and position on the wire I want. Then I would change colors and paint a few more.

Step 14: Shaping the Garland

I realized that I needed a form to mold the garland with, ensuring the butterflies and wire sit like I want when someone wears it. I had a glass head I used to shape the garland.

Step 15: Painting and Sculpting

After I created the shape that I wanted, I needed to paint some more. I put a plastic sheet over the head form (NOT a good idea if you are using a live model!) so I wouldn't get paint on it. I continued to drop beads of paint on the holes until I had done all the butterflies.

Some butterflies received 2 colors of paint.

For other butterflies, I folded them in the middle before I dropped the paint on the holes.

Step 16: Finished Garland

My garland is full of color and very dynamic for costume or play. What will yours look like?

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    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! And awesome to have something so light-weight.