Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rainbow Butterfly Trinket Tutorial

So, some of you might know - I'm engaged. My working theme for my wedding is: Rainbow Butterfly Garden. It always sounds cheesy when I say it out loud, but trust me when I say I have a good feeling about this ;)

On my agenda of fitting the theme, I have seen some gorgeous decorative butterflies for sale at the markets. I've considered my options available on the matter; which range from potentially hiring a display from the vendors, to forking out the dollars as a bonbonerie (<- Possibly the best wedding word ever!). But I imagine the male guests wouldn't be as thrilled to be gifted one, so phooey to the wasted expense!

That got me to thinking one lazy Sunday that I could make them myself! Dingdingding went the alarm bells... I decided to take some pictures as I went along, so lucky you as you score a free tutorial.

These are the materials I used:

1: 3x Transparency film w/butterflies | 2: Various beads for decoration
3: Jewellery findings (crimp beads only used with nylon thread) | 4: Nylon thread
5: Needles (only 1 needed! A sharp pin is also OK) | 6: Glue (preferred was hot-glue, not pictured)
7: Puff glitter glue | 8: Scissors

I started off by Googling for free butterfly images and found the outline of a butterfly that I liked. Using Photoshop, I coloured certain areas in full black; and others I used the gradient tool to colour the wings, and altered the opacity of some of the butterfly's colours.
Once I had a page of 8, I went to the local Officeworks and requested 3 colour prints on transparency film. The total cost: $2.91.

Using scissors, I carefully cut around the outline of three butterflies of the same colours. You only need to cut the antennae for the one that will go on the bottom, not all three.

For the first butterfly, you do nothing. The one that will be in the middle, gently fold the wing up where it meets the body, on each side. You will do the same for the 3rd, however if you make the third more pronounced it will help the viewer see all three sets of wings.

Next, glue the three layers together. For my first attempt, I used the glue shown in the picture. It was akin to superglue, and I'm not sure that I recommend it. For the subsequent two I have made, I used a hot glue gun and it seemed to work even better! Make sure that the glue is only placed on the body of the butterfly, not the wings. You want them to be free to move, remember?

Allow the glue to dry, and carefully you can use glitter pens to decorate any areas of the butterfly. I'd only recommend decorating the wings of the top-most layer, but I also added spots to the ends of the antennae. 

Be careful with this next step! Using a needle, I pierced through all three layers and the glue so that I had a small hole running through the middle. At first I wasn't sure it would work, but it did. So if you have any of those moments.... Perseverance will pull you through!

In the above image, I have already begun to thread the hanging nylon with decorative bits. Pull that need through at this time though, but wiggle it around a bit to make it wider for your thread or eye-pins, as required.

When I created my first butterfly, I did not buy clear jewellery thread as  thought I had some at home. I was mistaken, as it was the nylon and non-clear kind. As a result, I wasn't 100% happy with the finished look. But it can be used! When  made my next two, I used my jewellery supplies and made it with fine chain instead. I prefer this look, but go with what you like!

I used decorative pieces that I brought from the local Spotlight to gussy up the hanging parts. It is recommended that you have the butterfly firmly between beads on the bottom and the top so it sits right as it dangles. So make sure it is flush and it won't sit awkwardly on your decorative line.

If you...
Use chain:
I used eye-pins to thread the beads on in my 2nd and 3rd attempts. The sequence can vary, but it basically needs to go: eye-pin, bead, butterfly, bead and then twist the remaining straight end of the eye-pin to make another 'eye' and enable it to be attached to chain.
Use nylon thread:
You can replace the chain with the nylon thread; but to ensure the butterfly sits nicely, you will need to re-thread your line through the first point of entry to your bead at least one extra time. This will help your bead to stay where you want it to. 
When using the crimp bead, I threaded it first onto my line. Then, I threaded the end bead. I threaded the end of the line back through the crimp bead and then squished it tight with the pliers. I had to add in a few knots for my own piece of mind too. 

I finished off the last end with a lobster clasp. This allows it to be secured at any point of the chain; but also where I have put it on my rear-view mirror, the clasp encircles the entire circumference of the chain allowing it to adjust to its perfect cinch.

And voila! Here you have 3 finished treasures:

There is some assumed knowledge here about how to do basic jewellery work. There are some great tutorials out there though if you are new to it. I even have one here which can help you! Please ask any questions if you need to, I'd be more than happy to help!

Oh, and why should dangly decorations get all the fun? I took a boring pen, old bit of ribbon and golden decoration I appropriated from the last wedding I attended and whipped up this pen. Don't forget the hot-glue! It's currently spicing up my pen caddy at work ;)

To have fun with this craft, you only need to stop the butterfly after the glueing stage, then you can let your imagination run wild!  Decorate mirrors, headbands, make magnets.... Have fun! I know I will <3

Disclaimer: Please ask if anything does not make sense, towards the end my head literally started pounding! Do not hesitate to ask any questions at all.


  1. congratulaions on the engagement, Sonia! and this is such a pretty project! We are featuring this on the blog, facebook and twitter!

    have a lovely sunday!


  2. Very nice! I enjoy the cute tutorial :) coming from TSWL :)

  3. Thank you so much, Lelanie! Also that is amazing! <3

    And also many thanks for your lovely comment, Creative Mind :D


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