How to make a Paper Butterfly in a Jar!

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This beautiful butterfly in a jar not only is a great way to recycle, but makes a fabulous conversation piece. It involves the easy craft of Paper quilling with colored card stock and a recycled jar, and costs just pennies to make!

So I have this thing about throwing perfectly good things away.  Like pickle jars.  I love those huge kosher dill pickles.  I snack on them all the time.  And they come in nice sized glass jars.  Of course, I certainly cannot throw them away, so I’ve accumulated at least 20 of them in the back of my kitchen cupboard.

This week, I decided to put one of them to good use.  I created a quilled butterfly in a jar.  The perfect pet.  No back-talking, no poopy on the kitchen floor, no begging at the table.

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For this project you need:

quilled butterfly in jar paper craft
One pickle jar
Assorted colored sheets of cardstock
Quilling tool
3″ styrofoam ball
Moss
about 4″ of wood dowel (I actually cut up a wooden skewer)
Aleene’s Tacky glue
Hot Glue
Acrylic paint

In order to create a perfect Monarch Butterfly, a good suggestion is to print off a photo from the internet for reference.  Cut the cardstock in 1/8″ wide strips.  For the butterfly, I used black, dark orange, light orange, and yellow.

Using the quilling tool, I then coiled the strips, dabbed a bit of tacky glue on the end to hold it, and pinched the end to create teardrop shapes. For basic quilling instructions, look here and here.

Using the butterfly photo, lay the shapes out over the image and adjusted them to fit.  Paper is a very versatile medium, so with a bit of adjustment, pinching and twisting, you can pretty much get any shape you want.

Do one wing at a time and then the two lower wings.

Back each upper wing with a sheet of black cardstock, trimming it to the edges of the wing- to bring out the colors a little better.  Final touch on the upper wings is to add dots of white acrylic paint.

Create the body of the butterfly by coiling a 1/4″ strip of black paper around a 1″ piece of dowel, gluing it down with tacky glue.  The head is another piece of coiled paper glued to the top of the dowel, and the antennas are made from very thin strips of black, twisted at the ends and then glued onto the head.

Glue the body together with the wings, supporting it while it dries.

To create your butterfly home, clean out a nice sized jar.

Cut a 3″ styrofoam ball in half to use as the base.  Cut a length of dowel to help support the flowers. About 3 – 4 inches long is more than sufficient.

Wrap the dowel with a strip of green cardstock, gluing it down with tacky glue.  Punch the dowel into the styrofoam and then hot glue moss over the entire top of the styrofoam as shown above.

To create a flower, cut a strip of yellow cardstock about 11″ long x 2″ on one end, narrowing down to about 3/4″ on the other.  Take your scissors and clip it creating a fringe along the entire length of the strip.  Cut a 11″ x 1/4″ strip of dark brown cardstock.  Clip a 4″ long fringe into it on one end.

Use the tacky glue to glue your brown strip to your yellow strip.  Be sure the fringe sides are facing the same direction.  After it has dried, begin coiling it, starting on the end of the brown strip, adding touches of glue along the strip as you go.

Continue to coil until you get to the end of the yellow, tack it down with tacky glue and then remove your quilling tool.  Allow it to dry.

Now fold open your flower, spreading the fringe edges.  You need to “manhandle” your flower too.  Move your petals where you like them and then clip the squared edges to create more pointed petals.

To create the leaves, cut basic long leaf shapes out of the green cardstock.  Then clip small v’s in each side.  Fold the leaf lengthwise to create the vein.  And then “man-handle” the leaf to give it texture and curl.  You don’t want it to look perfect.  Glue the leaves on in an interesting manner, holding one aside for later.

Now you are ready to assemble.  Glue two of the flowers to the leaf/coil base and then add hot glue to the bottom of the styrofoam base and carefully push it into the jar, positioning it towards the back of the jar so that the butterfly will have a bit of room.

Then add a touch of hot glue to the butterfly and position it in the jar.

Paint the lid of the jar with acrylic paint and then added the final leaf and flower to the jar lid as a finishing touch.

quilled butterfly in jar paper craft

quilled butterfly in a jar

And there you have it.  A pretty bug in a jar!

Want more paper crafts?

Quilled Paisley Monogram
Quilled Butterfly Headband (Beginners Tutorial)
Quilled Floral Monogram

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Lynn July 10, 2017, 11:23 pm

    This is stunning!!! I tried paper quilling years ago with my mom and loved it. I haven’t seen it in a long time and can’t wait to try and make this beautiful butterfly, I LOVE butterflies! Thanks so much for sharing the patter and for inspiring me to try quilling again!

    • Susan Myers July 11, 2017, 1:24 pm

      You are very welcome! Would love to see what you make!

      suzy

  • rosalyne July 8, 2017, 10:58 pm

    fantastic tutorial, easy to do for anyone as a keepsake or a gift .

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