Finishing a weekly project when you spend half the week out of town can be challenging, as this last week was when my husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my father. Before we left, I was busily punching, snipping and gluing bits of paper destined to become butterfly-and-flower garlands for his bedroom window. My father, who is not well, is also not very mobile, so my plan was to bring a little bit of spring inside his room. I struggled, however, with finding a way to photograph the garlands well, so I hope you’ll pardon the quality of the composite photograph below, which shows the garlands hung in front of my china cabinet’s glass doors. This garland, by the way, represents my finished project for the 11th week of the 52 Weeks Challenge.

Paper Butterfly-and-Flower Garland

To make one of these garlands as a gift or for your own personal use, you’ll want to gather some some of your favorite flower and butterfly punches, or use a die cutting machine. I used a Martha Stewart Craftsâ„¢ Monarch Butterfly Large Double Punch, 3 Marvy® Uchida Clever Lever Extra-Giga scallop-edged circle punches in graduated sizes, and my Imaginisce® i-top punches that are normally used for cutting out shapes to cover brads. I also used a McGill® Ball Stylus to shape the paper. Other supplies you’ll need include scrapbook paper (either solid or double-sided), heavyweight thread, a flat see-through button to anchor your garland against a flat surface such as a window or mirror, a bead to provide vertical stability, glue, craft scissors, and embellishments for the flower centers. I found it helpful to use a non-stick craft mat, since this project involves a lot of gluing.

Paper Butterfly-and-Flower Garland Instructions:

1. Ahead of time, measure a length of heavyweight thread. (I prefer buttonhole thread, but other good choices might be upholstery thread or bedspread-weight crochet thread.) Allow about 8 inches extra for a flat button that is tied at the top, and a bead that is tied to the bottom of the thread.

Tie a button to one end of the thread, and a bead to the other end.

2. Determine how far apart you’d like your flowers and butterflies to be, and mark your thread with a fine-tipped felt marker to indicate placement. I spaced my shapes about 2-1/2 inches (6.35 cm) apart, beginning one inch (2.5 cm) above the bead.

3. Cut or punch three butterfly shapes for each butterfly. Layer two of the butterflies using a quick-drying craft glue down the center of the butterflies. (I use  Judi-Kins Diamond Glazeâ„¢ because it dries quickly, is clear when dry, and provides strong adhesion.) I find it helpful to pinch the wings of the butterfly sitting on top so that as the glue sets, it doesn’t spread into the wings. Set aside the third butterfly while the glue dries.

Layer 2 butterflies and glue them together. Set aside the 3rd butterfly.

4. Take the glued butterfly pair and dot-glue the center in a couple of spots. Then, set the thread down on top of this glue. Pinch the wings of the remaining butterfly, and set it down on top of the butterfly pair. When the glue is dry, use your fingers to spread apart the 3-D butterfly wings.

Glue the butterflies to the thread, including the 3rd butterfly. Spread apart the wings with your fingers.

5. Each flower is double-sided, so you will need to cut 2 small, 2 medium and 2 large shapes for each side. For the scalloped-edged circles, I snipped between the scallops to create petals. On all flower shapes, use either your fingers or a ball stylus to curve the petals as you like. (If you don’t have a ball stylus, a size J or K crochet hook works well.) Next, layer 3 shapes in graduated sizes together with craft glue for one side of the flower, then repeat for the opposite side of the flower. Add a center embellishment to each side if you desire. I sew a button to the center of each flower.

Make each half of the double-sided flower. Snip between scallops to create petals, then shape them.
You can use different punches to create a different look for your flowers.

6. For each double-sided flower, glue a line across the back side of one flower half, then lay the thread down on top of the glue line. Apply glue to the outside back edge of the same flower half, then match back sides of both flower halves together. Pinch around the edge of the flower to make sure the layers adhere well. Add glue where necessary. You will need to “fluff” the flower petals once the glue is dry.

Add glue to the back of one flower half, and lay the thread down into the glue before adding the 2nd flower half. Pinch the 2 halves together, and allow the glue to dry.
Before hanging your garland, "fluff" flower petals, and re-shape butterfly wings, as desired.

7. To hang your finished garland, I recommend Scotch® Removable Mounting Putty. Apply a dot of putty to the back of the button “hanger,” apply pressure, and your garland will hang securely to just about any porous or non-porous surface. I hung my father’s garlands from his aluminum window frame.

© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. No part of these instructions may be photocopied or reproduced without the written consent of Judy Nolan. The finished product is for personal use only.

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12 thoughts on “Bring spring indoors with paper garlands”

  1. Fabric Fascination

    What a wonderful, personal way to bring some Springtime into your Dad’s room. The tutorial was very nice too. It is a beautiful garland.

  2. I just LOVE these! Especially the butterfly. What a great idea – I’m going to show our Museum Educator… maybe she can do this with the kids during the summer!

  3. Memories for Life Scrapbooks

    These are so great! And I bet your dad really appreciates you bringing Spring to him 🙂

  4. Uh-oh. Punches are my ‘guilty pleasure’, and I can see from your garland I NEED to pick up a couple more, lol! This is beautiful–thanks for a wonderful tutorial!

  5. These are lovely! I am looking for wedding decoration ideas and this looks like it would be really pretty to add to my reception. Thank you for sharing!

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