This easy pipe cleaner (chenille stem) butterfly can be made without too much effort and you can get really creative with the coloring and design of the wings. This butterfly took just over an hour to complete, but a more intricate design might take upwards of 2 hours or more. This is an easy project for beginners or kids and the butterfly is quite large, much larger than life size, which is actually much easier to work with than something really tiny.
- Fold two pipe cleaners in half to mark the halfway point. Bend both sides in to the middle. This will be the body of the butterfly.
- Attach a black pipe cleaner slightly off from the center and bend it around to make the shape of a wing. Feel free to go crazy here or give it a more natural wing shape as I did.
- Duplicate the wing on the opposite side of the body.
- Make two more wings just beside the first set, ever so slightly overlapping.
- Add a design to the wing. These pipes will allow for attaching the colored pipe cleaners in the next steps. (Note: more intricacy means more colors and/or more work).
- Start adding the color. You can take two different approaches here, the one shown is to loop the pipes all the way around the pipes in a circular motion. Another approach would be to go over, under, over, etc. more like a weaving pattern.
- Before coloring too close to the body, wrap a few pipe cleaners around the body to make it a little thicker and to give it a cleaner look. Stop wrapping once you get to the top of the first set of wings, as we will leave two loose pipes for the antennae.
- Continue adding color to the wings in whatever pattern you choose. In this example I tried to alternate between orange and blue.
- Twist the two loose ends at the top of the body to form the antennae.
- Bend the antennae and wings slightly upwards to give it a lifelike appearance.
That’s it! You now have a huge pipe cleaner butterfly.
For some more projects, check out these other easy pipe cleaner animals: