Paper Register Flyers




About: I enjoy everything

The heat has been coming on and off a lot this year.

Every time it comes on - I think about how cold it is outside.

Well I thought I could change my mindset on the cold - by having something flying around the heater / register vents.

It was not as easy as I thought. I experimented with different shapes and different types of paper. I finally came up with the idea of using butterfly patterns - flying in the air as it escaped from the vent.

Mother Nature must know a thing or two – because real butterfly shapes worked well.

I wanted to share a few examples of my Paper Register Flyers.

Step 1: Flyers in Action

This has been a fun project on a lot of levels. This is my first you tube video.

I hope the movement expresses what I am trying to achieve with the paper.

Step 2: Design

I worked on the combinations of paper type (weight) with butterfly shape / size.

I took in consideration that my heater vents are 4 inches by 9 inches and are mostly metal.


Well here are some of the papers that I tried.

Tissue paper very colorful but very light weight, in order to get it to floating and flapping the paper had to be quite large.

Toilet paper – I thought the brilliant white would like nice but again too light, it started to rip after a short time.

Bristol board – I call this drawing paper, not bad but a little stiff

I ended up using copy or printer paper - Heavy 110 pound white paper and light weight 20 pound white paper.

Butterfly orginal drawing design

I looked on the internet for pictures and came up with the monarch. I used my drawing pencil and reference the photos on the screen; I create my pattern by drawing onto design paper. I did a light drawing first and then went over it to darken the design. Once I finished drawing; I scanned the pattern from my design paper into the computer. Using the Microsoft paint program I captured (copy option) the image and transferred it over to MS Word. From there I re-sized the drawing to 2 ½ inches high by 3 ½ inches wide. I like using the word document software, because I can do quick copies. Anyway from there - I made several copies in the program, to fit onto a single page. I printed the completed page onto one (1) heavy weight -110 pound white paper and onto one (1) light weight 20 pound white paper.

Final butterfly design

With the option of printing as many butterflies from my original drawing, I elected to create a few variations. The variations of the Paper Register Flyers I created are a simple white, a cut out pattern, original drawing and a few using color pencils.


Mounting to vent ( bottom mount)

I tried using string and mounting putty to mount to the vent. The issue with stinging the butterfly - is the paper butterfly would not stay in the air above the vent. It kept flying to the side and stopping. This is when I decided to use light wire.

I came up with several ways to actually mount or keep the butterflies to the air from the vent. This includes wood, metal, magnets and clips.

Mounting wire to butterfly (Top Mount)
Removable non toxic mounting putty - works well for mounting the wire to the paper butterfly.

Step 3: Supplies and Tools

Handy tack – for mounting - aka Removable non toxic mounting putty

Paper – Heavy weight 110 pound white paper. Light weight 20 pound white paper.

Wire – thin gage to thick - 24 gauge also used a heavy duty paper clip

Base materials

Magnets – rare earth magnets – ones used for necklace clasps already have holes in them.

Paper binder clips – ¾ inch

Metal can lid - formed into a bell

Wood block - recommend dense grade.

Handy tack - Mounting putty for not magnetic vents


Scissors - household scissors – smaller blades tend to work

Pliers – needle nose

Side cutters - aka wire cutters

Pencil – good drawing lead.
Color drawing pencils – I used black, orange, yellow and yellow orange.

Ruler - plastic or metal will work, I like metal rulers for this project.

Razor knife – I used one that had a small spinning blade

Hole punch


Take all precautions required when using tools

Step 4: Wire Forming and Butterfly Mounting (TOP MOUNT)

Using side cutters; I cut the wire to approximately 6 inches in length – this is not a strict length for the wire.

On the one end of the wire - that is going to be mounted to the paper butterfly, I did some forming.

With pliers - I put a 90 degree bend to create an approximately ½ inch section. From here I put a Z pattern in the ½ section. The Z pattern along with the mounting putty eliminates the possibility of the paper butterfly rolling over (around) on the end of wire.

This Z pattern is common for most of the wire to butterfly mountings.

Additional information of specific wire forming will be explained in other steps – of this instructables.

Step 5: Cut Wing Pattern With Binder Clip Mount

On one butterfly, I decided to cut out the wing patterns.

I started with a heavy weight paper butterfly pattern that I cut off the sheet with scissors.

I cut out some sections with a razor knife and used a hole punch for the round patterns.

When finished I flipped the butterfly over and folded up the wings at the body.

The Z mounting with putty was used for the top mount.

The bottom mounting to vent - I used a binder clip. I simply wrapped the wire around the clip to secure.

Please note: This butterfly pattern and mounting set up worked extremely well.

Lots of movement with the air.

Step 6: Color Pencil Wings With Magnet Mount

I started with the light weight paper butterfly patterns.

I find it easier to color on the butterfly while it is still part of the sheet. I used my color pencils to color in two different butterflies. Once the coloring was done; I cut them off the sheet with scissors.

When I finished cutting them out I flipped the butterflies over and folded up the wings at the body.

First color pencil butterfly - The Top - Z mounting with putty was used, but on the bottom mounting to vent I used a magnet. I simply put the wire into the magnet. The magnets I used, have a small recess on one side. This allowed me to take my pliers and bend a small loop in the wire, so the wire will not pull out of the magnet hole.

On my second color pencil butterfly - The Top - Z mounting with putty was used, but this time I used a wire paper clip. Paper clip wire is magnetic; so there was no need to bend a loop like in the first color pencil version. On the bottom mounting to vent; I simply put the wire into the magnet. The magnet was strong enough to hold the wire and assembly to the vent.

Step 7: Pencil Pattern on a Straight Wood Mount

For this butterfly: I started with the light weight paper butterfly pattern.

I did not do anything other than cut the butterfly off the sheet with scissors.

When I finished cutting it out; I flipped the butterfly over and folded up the wings at the body.

The top - Z mounting with putty was NOT USED,

What I used on the top mount of the wire, I put a ball of mounting putty on the end and then stuck it to the butterfly.

For this bottom mount; I used a straight piece of wire mounted into a block of wood.

Side note: I should have either used a denser or heavier wood or a larger piece. This set up tented to fall over.

Step 8: Simple White Pattern on Metal Weighted Mount

For this butterfly: I started with the heavy weight paper butterfly pattern.

I did not do anything other than cut the butterfly off the sheet with scissors. When I finished cutting it out; I did not want the pencil wing patterns to show, so I flipped the pattern side faced down. I then folded up the wings at the body.

The top - Z mounting with putty was used.

On the bottom mounting to the vent, I used a metal weighted mount. I simply put the wire into the metal weighted mount.

The metal weighted mount I used has a small recess on the bottom. I took my pliers and bent a small loop so the wire will not pull out.

Another side note: I bought this metal form at a craft fair. It is made from a soup can lid. It is folded to form a bell. I bought them because I thought it was nice concept. Well I ended up using it for this project and not as a bell.

Step 9: Finished

Well I finished quite a few different patterns and mounts.

I hope you can use some or all of them.

I have other ideas that need more refinements, but that will be for another day.

They cheered me up.

Oh I tested them for 30 hours before I created this instructable.

I probably will dismount them from the vent and put them in the window come spring.

Step 10: Work Station

I like to see examples of work benches and work stations; so I thought I would share one of mine. It is an old wooden drafting table. It folds up and tucks away when not in use. I put down a cloth painters tarp for easy cleanup when I am done.

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    30 Discussions

    You must have read my mind. I was looking at your great instructables which had embedded movements (GIFs) and which made me want to improve my instructables like yours.
    I asked around for help - with creating GIFs, no luck; so I ended up with You-tube.
    I really appreciate you providing the Gif, it was a great surprise.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea!
    I'm going to try this but we have a 100 year old house and our vents, vent out sideways... So I'll have to find a strong enough wire to support them but thin enough to let them move with the air flow??

    1 reply
    Fikjast Scottmrfoltz

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I tried several wires with different size papers, before I came up this the butterfly size. I know you can do it, just need the right combo. The lite weight paper will at least give you wing movement. I was going to use a hard drive magnet - which should be plenty strong for a sideways mount.
    I was noticed that the wings with the cut outs actually had the most movement. This hurt my head because it went against my logic.

    Just a side story, my first house was really old; it only had one output heat vent. In the winter, we would notice the house getting colder. Well, our dogs were lying over the top of it. They were toasty and sleepy.

    Would you like to make it bigger and take power off where it is attached? One of my dreams is "sails" hanging down from a clothes line and tacking left and right in unison. (running a small air compressor) as they pull the line one way then the other. I think it could be done

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Step 6

    should have used the springs out of a pen,just stretch them out abit.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! I haven't tried this yet, but how about using a thread tied to the middle of each long side of the vent and looped over and secured to the butterfly at its head and tail? This should keep it from falling off the air column once it reaches its peak flight. I would think that mounting like this should allow the butterfly to rise to the length of the thread, then bounce back and forth as it glides across the top of the air column, and also swing a little side to side while being kept up by the width of the air column. The thread would allow the butterfly to take a break every so often by resting between air cycles then fluttering back up into the sky.

    I can picture dark-colored thread with bright neon or black light reactive colors painted on the butterfly as it dances away in the night. I will have to try this sometime when our cat is busy elsewhere. Thanks for the idea!

    1 reply

    Great idea, with the tread, I have in step 3 a picture that shows gutterman 100% polyester thread. I really like the durability of this thread. Using magnets with the tread will give a quick and adjustable set up. I like your idea of bright neon paint on the butterfly. I tried bright color pencils, but the paint would be great.
    If you look at the first group of pictures you will see little butterflies. I am working on a single wire set up with punched holes in the butterflies. My idea is to have the butterflies go up the wire and then cascade down when no air.
    I cannot help you with cats, they be crazy. Don’t trust them. Just kidding!