Looking to get the kids out of the house? Send them outside to look for twigs and whirlygigs and then make these adorable dragonflies and butterflies with them!
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These dragonflies and butterflies are made from twigs, maple tree seed whirlygigs, and optionally some bling (glitter, gems, beads). Get the kids outside looking for the maple tree seeds and small twigs, ideally that have little branches to make a ‘V’ at the end for antennae if you want that for a butterfly.
We painted the maple tree seed whirlygigs first, before assembling anything. I thought this might be easier and less prone to breakage. We then added some glitter and gems to our wings. We used Mod Podge glue for this so Em could do it herself. Tip: apply the glue with a small paintbrush. That way you have more control over where the glue goes and how much!
Remember to pair up wings as you paint. You can make four of the same, or two different pairs (like the green and yellow one with glitter shown below). Also try to find ones of similar size to pair up, and, if there is a “top” side to your wing, make sure you put the decorations on the correct side. We screwed up a couple of times, so some of our dragonfly wings are glittery on the bottom side as well. Lesson learned: lay out the wings on your work surface so you can remember what will go where.
After the wings were painted and decorated, I decided to also give them a couple of quick coats of Mod Podge glossy glue/sealer to help protect them and give them even more shine. (Note: Plaid makes a better product for outdoor use, but I just used what I had on hand.)
I hot glued pairs of wings together, then glued two pairs together and finally glued that to a stick. You could use Mod Podge or Tacky Glue instead, but then you have a longer wait time for it to dry, plus it might not be as weatherproof, unless maybe you seal it afterwards.
After gluing them we realized that the milky white glue looked kinda ugly. We thought about painting over the glue, but then I remembered I had some colored mini glue sticks, and there was a brown! After covering up the original glue, I decided on some of them to go all the way down the stick. I figured it would look better and provide better durability. I even added some bumps down the body like some real dragonflies have.
After I ran out of brown, I found my mini glitter glue sticks and chose glitter purple to use on some. If you do a Google image search for dragonflies, you’ll see all kinds of vivid colors, and many are iridescent, so have fun!. For even more sparkle, we added gems and pony beads for the heads on some of them.
The project on Filth Wizardry used twigs with a little ‘V’ to look like antennae, so that’s what we did too, but then looking at pictures of real dragonflies we realized they don’t have those antennae, so we snapped them off of most of them (after we added the gems for heads, which conveniently sit on the ‘V’). Some of them, though, looked more like butterflies because the twigs were shorter, so we kept the antennae on those.
Another note: I attached the wings as shown in the source project, but later realized that the pairs of wings should have been parallel. I put the lower set of wings on backwards. I know this is a small detail that no one but me will notice. But I will notice it and it will bug me!
We put some of the dragonflies on the roof of the fairy house, some around the plants, and some I stuck wire into the glue on the body so they could be positioned to look like they were flying.
If you want to see more pictures of them in the fairy garden, check out my DIY: Fairy Gardens post.
Like nature crafts? Find more ideas in my recent post 10 Engaging Nature Crafts and Activities for Kids of All Ages. Also, check out my Nature Crafts and Activities for Kids board on Pinterest.
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If you make these, I’d love to see how they come out!