Monday, April 16, 2012

Beaded Clothespin Butterflies

I think this has to be one of my favorite crafts that we have ever done. Not only are they cute, but even my Little Man could thread his own beads onto the pipe cleaners (while I held the pipe cleaner) so this is really a craft that can be done with almost any age group. The only part I had to do was assembling the butterflies. This was a great way to occupy our time on this very windy and somewhat rainy day. I could also see making these butterflies for Easter or for Mother's Day gifts. Here is where I found the idea for this (floating around on Pinterest).

{A couple of Mia's butterflies}

{Beaded Butterfly by Logan, Age 2 1/2}
  • wooden clothespin
  • 3 pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • plastic beads
  • acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • something to hold paint
  • glue (hot glue is recommended)
  • wax paper (optional)
  • fishing line (optional)

1) Paint a wooden clothespin as desired. Set aside to dry. Tip: I suggest doing this on wax paper, especially if you are painting all sides of the clothespin. It won't stick as much as it would if you laid it to dry on newspaper. Tip: Acrylic paint stains clothing so have kids wear old clothes or protect clothing before starting.

2) Leaving about one inch uncovered on either end, string beads onto a pipe cleaner. Repeat with a second pipe cleaner. Tip: I found the easiest way to do this was to bend it upward at the end so that the last inch wasn't available for the kids to put beads on. This also prevented beads with larger openings from sliding off the ends (not a big issue, but still it could be helpful.)

3) Cut the last pipe cleaner in half. Bend it in half for the butterfly's antennae. Thread a bead onto each end and wrap around to secure if desired. (Some beads may stick well on their own. You can also add glue if you like.)

4) Making the wings is the trickiest part. (The blog post this idea came from said to make a figure 8, which took me some trial and error, so I will try to make the directions as clear as possible.) Take one beaded pipe cleaner and form a circle.

Then take slightly more than 1/2 on top pull it into a small circle and bring the end over to the rest of the pipe cleaner. Fit the end in between two beads and loop it tightly around one time, making sure that the end sticks off the side that will be on the inside of your butterfly. Now you have something that looks like a lowercase "g."

Bring the other end up to meet the beads where you just twisted the pipe cleaner. Again, loop the end around and make sure that it is secured around both sections of the beaded pipe cleaner. Loop around again if needed. Now you have a sort of figure 8 with a one oval larger than the other. To me, it looks a bit like a capital "J" in cursive handwriting.

That's the first wing. Repeat step 4 with the other beaded pipe cleaner to make the second wing. Congratulations! The hard part is over.

5) Once clothespin is dry, pinch it open, add a drop of white glue or hot glue, and insert center of pipe cleaner antennae. The pipe cleaner antennae will be held in place once the clothespin is closed.

6) To attach the wings, put glue into both sides of the spring on the clothespin. Tip: Hot glue works best. Of course, this should only be used by an adult. Then, insert pipe cleaner ends into each side of the spring. Tip: You may wish to trim the ends first if they appear too long. Another suggestion is to add more hot glue as needed if the wings don't seem sturdy enough.

{I know I shouldn't brag, but isn't my butterfly so darn cute?!}

{"Princess" the Butterfly by Mia, Age 5}
7) Allow glue to dry before displaying your butterfly. I hung our butterflies from the dining room chandelier. To do this, I took a length of fishing line, and placed the clothespin in the center. Then I tied it around and knotted it off so that the fishing line was nestled into the groove. Lastly I took the two ends of fishing line, threaded them both through the an arm of the chandelier, and secured them with a double knot. I repeated this for all 5 of our butterflies.

{I love how they flutter in the breeze when we walk by.}

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