I love paper. Paper-crafts have always been among my favorite projects to work on and display, and I’ve owned several paper-centric websites over the years. For a while I sold custom invitations and announcements, and once upon a time I worked as a photographer which gave me the opportunity to see my art printed on some of the most gorgeous paper in the world.
I like to make paper flowers and disks, paper corsages, paper confetti, and paper garlands- and you will always find them on display in my home. I find satisfaction in working with paper, and love that I can recycle so many common materials to make beautiful paper art.
I have occasionally purchased beautiful and unique papers for use in my paper projects, but for the most part I find that reusing papers found in our home makes for the most sentimental results. My favorite papers come from old family books, travel maps from our road trips, comic books, and envelopes. Each year’s calendar comes down and lands in my paper stash. I found old sheet music that belonged to my husband and his siblings when they were children, and that’s just about my favorite find ever. I like to go through old coffee table books and find beautiful pages to repurpose as art.
One of my favorite paper projects to complete with my family (when they cooperate, they are all teenagers or beyond now) is to redecorate our windows with the change of seasons. In fall we put paper bats and leaves up in the windows. In winter we put up snowflakes. In spring we put up butterflies, and they usually remain up until fall comes again. I can often reuse much of the paper pieces from year to ear, only replacing pieces that become damaged. It has come to pass that an undecorated window seems naked and wrong. 😛
1- Gather materials: paper scissors, scotch tape, used calendars, old maps, old books, sheet music, scrap paper. Hint: if you don’t have these things on hand, you might hit a thrift shop for some old maps, sheet music or books, and you can find calendars at the dollar store year round!
2- Download and print this pattern: Butterflies for your Window – Free Pattern, or draw your own butterfly, fold the paper in half, and cut it out. Use this butterfly as a template to make more. I like to cut out at least 3-5 unique butterfly shapes/sizes to give the final piece some interest and realism. Hint: keep the shapes simple to save your hands and some time- intricate designs can get really bothersome to cut out.
3- Cut out a lot of butterflies! I have a very large front window, and I like to continue my design from that window to the next window over, which also shows from the street. I also like to put some up on my french patio doors. Some years I end up using around 150 pieces, but 25 butterflies in a smaller window is probably quite adequate. Any leftovers you have can be stored in a ziploc to replace damaged pieces next season.
4- Plan your design.. I like to create a swoop or a surge of butterflies that all seem to be traveling in the same direction to give drama and movement to the final result. Sometimes I want to change it up and to gain inspiration I will visit Pinterest and search something like “butterfly wall decoration” to see what others have done with flocks of paper butterflies. I get an idea of how I want it to look and then I get to work.
5- Application: I like to use good old-fashioned scotch tape fashioned in small tubes to affix butterflies to my windows because they do not leave behind adhesive that is difficult to remove. One year I used double-sided tape and had big regrets. I will tear a bunch of tape pieces at a time, or have one of my daughters making me tape rolls to use while I am putting up butterflies. When I begin affixing butterflies to the window I take care to stagger my butterflies so that they don’t look like they are traveling in straight lines, and work to keep their spacing pretty even. I put some up, take a step back and look at them to make sure they are looking like I want, and then return to my work. Sometimes, if I feel that my design isn’t looking like I want I take a nice break and come back later, which always seems to refresh my mind and help me find the next steps to make it just right.
Project time: when I have to make all new butterflies I might spend an entire afternoon at this part of the project, maybe even two. I always have to take old paper pieces down and store them, clean the windows, and then put new pieces up, so I spend an entire afternoon on the application itself.
Project cost: almost nothing! I can easily kill half a small roll of scotch tape, but because I recycle papers found around the house this is a low-cost or no-cost project!
I’m always so happy to see my butterflies up in the windows because it means warm weather and good times out in the sun! Goodbye and good riddens, winter! 🙂
Today’s Project: I’m listing a bunch of old football cards on eBay.. it’s destash season!
Today’s Soundtrack: Top of the Charts on Spotify
I’m reading: The Stand by Stephen King