Thursday, May 26, 2011

Butterfly garden shadow box }{ Tutorial Thursday

Just a reminder: Don't forget to enter my 6-month celebration giveaway here

I've had a handsome little boy on my mind a lot. Today's craft and tutorial was made with him and his family in my thoughts - a little butterfly garden.

Looking back at it, there are a few things I probably could and should have done differently, so I'll start by listing them. If you try to make this, you can always try my suggested improvements. 

  1. Make smaller flowers and butterflies, or use a bigger box.
  2. Make different sizes of butterflies.
  3. Add some sparkle or drawn designs to the butterflies.
  4. Make flowers that are lower to the ground, rather than tulips.
Just a few things that might improve today's project, and that I plan on trying myself next time we make something like this. 

Ok, on to the tutorial.

  • shoe or any "shallow" cardboard box
  • origami paper
  • green tissue paper
  • glue
  • utility knife
  • thread
  • scissors
  • sewing needle
  • gesso
  • craft paints (blue, purple, white)
  • paint brush
  • an old plastic card (like a phone or grocery card) you don't use anymore
How to make it:
  • step 1: make some origami butterflies. You can find instructions for a whole lot of different butterflies HERE and if you prefer a video, go HERE for an easy one.
  • step 2: do the same with the flowers. For directions in pdf, you can check for these instructions HERE, or for a video go HERE.
  • step 3: with a utility knife, cut out whatever you need out of the box so that the front is wide open.
  • step 4: cover the inside of the box with one coat of gesso and wait for it to dry. If you don't like waiting, use a blow dryer to speed it up. Alternately you could glue some pretty paper.
  • step 5: after the gesso is dry, drop a little paint on the background. Using the card, spread the paint over the background until you're happy with it. I actually added some extra gesso over the paint to add whites and make the background a bit more muted.
  • step 6: glue the green tissue paper on the ground to make grass, then glue the flowers to the grass.
  • step 7: using the sewing needle, make a hole on the top of the butterfly (around the middle) and pass the thread through it. Glue the thread to the top of the box and wait for it to dry. 
step 1

step 2

step 3

step 5

step 6

step 7

This whole process took about 2 hours, longer than I originally intended, so I didn't have time to add any designs or other embellishments to the garden. But there we have a small butterfly garden shadow box.  I'm thinking you can also do the flowers as a mural and do a butterfly bunting over it. If anyone tries it, I'd love to see what modifications you come up with.

Happy Thursday!


  1. So sweet! I´d love to try one day!

    Hope you´ll have a great day! :-)

  2. This is so pretty! I know Z would love it if we make one, too. :)

    What do you do with all the arts and crafts projects you have completed?

  3. Que lindo jardim florido com borboletas sobre-voando!!!!
    Estou bem!
    E vocês!
    Vou deixar as coisas se ajeitarem ai, pra mandar teu presente,Ah, e não esqueci N.
    Bjos Carinhosos

  4. This is really cute and clever! You have to change the name of your blog!! lol :)

    Thank you for thinking of my little guy. It means the world to me <3 And my daughter will love making this!


  5. So adorable my clever girl! It is so fun to create. I am off to make some tea and get to bed early....I was up at 3am this morning worrying about my Molly getting home...I will have a cup for you too and a rice crispy square... believe it or not...still one of my favourite treats. Hugs and have a great Friday.

  6. Ohhhh what fun that is. Thank you so much for sharing that.

  7. Like Buckeroomama, I wonder what you do with the completed projects! Yours are worthy of prominent display!