Painted paper Butterfly art lesson for spring

Painted Paper Butterflies


Painted paper Butterfly art lesson for spring

I love happy art lessons. The ones that engage children right from the get-go. These painted paper butterflies are a perennial favorite in my art room. My first graders make painted paper and then use the paper to create butterfly wings.

I set out wing templates but encourage the children to make their own wing shapes. If the children draw their own wings, they usually end up with very tiny butterflies. This is not a bad thing, but sometimes its preferable to have larger wings so the children can decorate the insides with little struggle and more freedom.

Here’s the secret to avoiding tiny butterflies: ask the children to use one template for one set of wings and ask them to create a second pair of wings of their own creations. Once the children get a feel for tracing and cutting out the larger set of wings, they can understand the scale required for the second pair of wings.

Children learn how to create texture with paint, how to blend and mix colors, develop fine motor skills, understand symmetry and learn a bit about butterflies. And did I mention that they had fun?

 Here’s What To Do:

Painted paper Butterfly art lesson for spring steps

1. Create Painted Paper on sheets of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper using liquid tempera paint. Cut papers in half for more manageability.

2. Place photographs of butterflies on a display board.

3. Using templates (I used the wing templates, trace templates (or draw wings) on the back of the painted paper.

4. Glue wings and body to black or white paper.

First Grade Butterflies

Lesson time required: Three @ 40-minute sessions including making painted paper.

butterfly-art-project-for-first-grade gallery

What do you think?

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  • Lois

    What glue do you find it best to use for art projects?

  • Jenny Panameno

    I’m a 2nd grade classroom teacher (with very limited art background) and a parent. I found your site several months ago, and I have now used several of your projects with my students. Every lesson has been wonderful. Today, I used the Painted Paper Butterflies with my own kids (and we also made a mermaid from the Eric Carle Inspired Art Projects.) My kids really enjoyed the projects and they turned out great! Thank you for sharing your wonderful, wonderful ideas. I don’t have a lot of time to teach art in my classroom, but I found many more ways to incorporate it this year because I was inspired by your site.
    (I posted photos of my kids’ creations on my personal blog and linked back here. http://panamenos.blogspot.com/2013/06/butterfly-art.html

  • chinese calligraphy art for sale

    This Butterflies painting seems amazing and I really like to see this painting here. I really wish to create this types of painting. This is very innovative creation.

  • Natasha Brown

    I think the butterflies are really good and they are amazing. I really like to see little children painting pretty pictures it is very good. I wish to create these types of painting. This is a very innocent creation.

  • Jenni

    I love this activity and would love to do this with my first graders. However, the link to the “Eric-Carle Inspired PDF” is not working. Would it be possible to email it to me?

  • Lindiwe Dloti

    very excited to have found your site.very nice art.also very helping for me in my grade 2 art hence have no back ground in art.

  • Lisa Ter-Minasian

    Where are the pdf templates for this project. The link doesn’t work any longer

  • Kimberley Campbell


    Your link is not working for the butterfly wing templates. Would it be possible to find them somewhere else?
    Thank you!

  • Shefali Shidhankar

    I liked this idea. It’s totally apt for first graders. Will try it out with my daughter n my students. Just not sure if the cutting part will be done by them acurately.But something easy n different…

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