The Butterfly, "Bird" of Summer

The Butterfly, "Bird" of Summer

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Folklore of the Butterfly

The butterfly is a symbol of transformation and rebirth in many folk traditions. Emerging from its cocoon as a beautiful, winged being, the butterfly underscores the impossibility of our seeing things as they really are. When we gaze upon cocoon or larva, we can barely grasp the creative energies at work below the surface. It is this astonishing process of transformation that is the heart of many a fairy tale. Some folk tales view the butterfly as a manifestation of the soul and in this capacity butterflies are also tied to elves and fairies.

Make your own butterflies! The pictures provided below do not really express the sheer joy conveyed by a bevy of such winged beings. Hand-made butterflies are the perfect token to commemorate all manner of life changing events. The good-humored butterfly looks gorgeous as a valentine, great as a birthday greeting and delightful around the anniversary cake. In short, it is appropriate to give a butterfly for any of life’s transformative events. All you need is paper, scissors and pipe cleaners. In some cases a bit of glue. Or if you prefer, order a butterfly-making kit. But do make the butterflies.

More Pictures of Fairy Tale Butterflies

(Butterfly-making kit sold on E-bay,
Type in Paper-Butterfly-Making Kit in E-Bay's search box)

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies or:
Buy the Butterfly-Making Kit on E-Bay (Type in Butterfly-Making Kit in the E-Bay Search Window, but it's more fun to make entirely from scratch!)
For one butterfly you will need:
1 - 12 inch pipe cleaner
butterfly template (provided below)
sequins or metal dots for eyes

Step 2: Cut Out the Butterflies Using a Template

(Click on picture to enlarge & print)
Step 2: Enlarge these templates and cut out. The largest butterfly pictured on the bottom is about 5 1/2" across. The green-black butterfly is about 5", the red butterfly is about 4 1/2 " across.
Or: use your own paper and cut out your own design. For one butterfly you will cut out two exact copies for the top and bottom. Glue top and bottom together. Curl wing tips while the glue is wet (up or down, depending on the effect you desire.)
Cutting is easiest if you fold the paper in half and cut both wings so they are precisely the same.

Step 3: Bending the Pipe Cleaner Body

Step 3: Bending the Pipe Cleaner
This picture shows the basic bending technique: in each step you are basically bending the pipe cleaner in half and then the halves in half.
After bending once, the closed, rounded end of the pipe cleaner in picture 2/right side forms the head of the butterfly. The open ends (seen on left side of picture 2) become the feet.
This picture explains how to bend the pipe cleaner without inserting the butterfly body. In your final version, the pipe cleaner is folded around the butterfly body in step 2. But practice bending the pipe cleaner and getting an idea of which side is head/feet before you do the final assembly.

Step 4 / Part 1: Assemble the Butterfly

Step 4 / Part 1: Assemble the Butterfly
Slide the butterfly between your pipe cleaner, which has been folded in half. Move the butterfly toward the fold (head). Twist the head a bit to lodge in place.
The next bend is roughly half the length of the pipe cleaner body.

Step 4 / Part 2: Bending the Legs Below the Body

Here you can see the next bend: the legs have been bent below the butterfly's body.

Step 4 / Part 3: Bending the Legs/Another View

Here is another view of the final bending maneuvers.
The head is twisted slightly.
The tail-end of the body is also twisted across.
The legs will be folded under the butterfly's thorax.
The final twists at the bottom form the butterfly's legs.

Step 4: Final View

Final Steps:
The legs have been bent forward. Manipulate pipe cleaners until you like the way butterfly stands.
Glue on sequin eyes.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

At this point you might want to bend the head over once more and flatten, to give it a fatter look. Pipe cleaners are very forgiving. If you don't like the look, you can always undo it.
You also might want to bend the final legs over again to make them sturdier. Press together hard in that case so they fuse together.