59 Responses

  1. san juaNita
    san juaNita at |

    Please help….I used th regular paper mache recipe (flour&water, some salt),,, on just the poster board : no newspaper was used. My problem is I love how the butterfly dried, but the wing by th body is cracking…its a little flimsy. I really want to salvage this (my 2nd attempt.., my 1st was too small and the wing tore off….that’s why I made this one bigger (9″wide x 6″ long)) Can I add super glue this or add the paper mache clay on top of it?;How can I keep it from crumpling?

  2. Rex
    Rex at |

    I am three years too late. Now I have to add butterflies to my list. This is a photo of what I now call a bug but was supposed to be a butterfly. I used wire mesh for the wings (which made them too thick, but it might be good for a butterfly a meter wide). The body is aluminum foil, and the legs have wire that go into the aluminum foil on one end and the other end is attached to the wire mesh that I also used for the lily pads. The lily stem is made up of 5 wires that criss-cross the lily and then down the stem. The lily may fall over someday, but I don’t think the bug is going anywhere. I love the idea of using paint brush bristles for the antannae. Mine were wires and were also too thick. Anyway, this is a great site for ideas and butterflies are going on my list – your way! Thanks.

  3. morgan
    morgan at |

    HI!!! I love your work Jonni, and I need your help. I have this science biome project, and I’m doing the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, but I have to multiply the size by 6, which poses a problem: The computer paper I’m using is too small. I was wondering if you had any ideas for connecting the two pieces of paper without using tape, while still keeping it durable enough to hang from a ceiling. Thanks for your help! :)

  4. Melu
    Melu at |

    That’s a project I’ve been wanting to try for a while too, sculptures on canvas.
    I did see a few pieces like it where the artist attached things to canvas and used a paper mache mixture but with fabric stiffener added in (starch I guess?). I didn’t get to see the backs of her canvases though, so I always have wondered if she added some kind of structure to the back to give the canvas anchoring points, at which point, why not use plywood instead of a canvas?
    Anyway, I’d love to hear how your project turns out.

  5. Ginger Porter
    Ginger Porter at |

    Hi! I just found your site and am totally blown away. Amazing! Thank you for sharing your skill and talent.

    I am working on VBS project. We are doing Bug Zone and I was planning on doing some butterflies, lady bugs, ants in paper mache. My question for you is, do you use forms or just the cardboard form I saw on one of the pages? I want to use your process because I will have a bunch of kids from teens to middle school age helping. I was planning on using the balloon method.

    I saw that if a thin layer is applied it dries faster. I am making critters that are approximately 2 feet in size. At least that is what I would like to do.

    Any advice that you may offer, would be greatly appreciated. I am going to be reading through your site for the rest of the evening…=)


  6. aditi
    aditi at |

    i loved it :D :D :D

  7. Nadine Miller
    Nadine Miller at |

    They will be inside a big American Legion building. The armature is the problem. I had a thought but didn’t carry through: A wire frame with aluminum foil wrapped around then the paper mache over it. I have plenty of wire (do garden topiary). I make some big balls covered with paper mache over balloons last year and they are still holding up, I decorated them like Christmas balls. It was fun and ever since I keep wanting to make more objects using paper mache.

  8. Nadine Miller
    Nadine Miller at |

    These are great and I love the techniques. I’m looking for a “how to” to make really large ones to decorate a big big building next spring. Have any ideas in that department?

  9. Felicia
    Felicia at |

    Thank you for this. :) A few things that I found helpful were adding linseed oil to the completed product. Linseed oil is known to give a nice glossy look that exaggerates the hue of the colors well.
    Using a thin slate to smooth over the clay on the wings helped with the bumps for me. Also with drying the clay, it is best to use a hair dryer which works a lot quicker that leaving time to dry it, but by the window over night works nicely as well. I hope this helped, my results were excellent. My first attempt was redone because of the painting job, but the second butterfly went a lot smoother.

  10. Nadine Miller
    Nadine Miller at |

    These are all terrific I love working with paper mache. Can any one tell me how to make a very big one to decorate a huge building for our craft show held in an American Legion Building? What to use for the frame and such. They will hang above so need to be large to be noticed.

  11. Ladi Adra
    Ladi Adra at |

    XOXOXOXOXO Jonni, I am thrilled to find your site!! I make clocks using “paperclay,” and I am simply a fanatic about butterflies. Matter-of-fact BUTTERFLY is my nickname for my #3 great-granddaughter. I make the paperclay with toilet paper, and glue. I will mix acrylic paint into the glue. The reason I’m so glad to have found you though, is that I have wanted to make some wearable art using this technique, as I also design and make jewelry. This is the exact thing I need. Thanks a million for the share. You have made life simpler.

  12. Teresa Rodriguez Mohr
    Teresa Rodriguez Mohr at |

    Hello Jonni!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about paper mache, i can’t tell you how happy i have been since i found your website.
    I have being making lots of butterflies. I always have a little bowl with water close to me and after the paste is on the paper i submerge the knife in the water and rub the paste with it to make it very smooth.
    I would like to find paper mache classes around here, i live in Jackson Michigan.

  13. George
    George at |

    I love the fact that you can make so much with just a bit of clay. Thanks for the tip with paper mache and the paper mache bluebirds Jonni :)

  14. Zara
    Zara at |

    How can I use paper mache on this? Isnt the paper mache made out of newspaper? Do I just cover the paper wings with the papermache newspaper?
    Please help me, I am new to this business

  15. Zara
    Zara at |

    Can I make this with normal paper mache?

  16. Melissa Skidmore Photography
    Melissa Skidmore Photography at |

    Fantastic. The materials are not expensive and no chemicals so children can make this with no harm. Thanks for the giving us the steps how to make it.

  17. Ekaterina
    Ekaterina at |

    Jonni, thanks again for the great idea!

  18. stella
    stella at |

    con iman detras, para poner en el refrigerador, es una buena idea…

  19. stella
    stella at |

    Hermoso, todo tu trabajo, tus tutoriales son muy claros y completos..
    este de la mariposa, me encantó..
    gracias por la generosidad con que compartes tu experiencia y creatividad.

    1. Teresa Rodriguez Mohr
      Teresa Rodriguez Mohr at |

      Hola Stella,
      Yo he hecho las mariposas con imanes, con tachuelas, con ventosas y con palitos de madera para ponerlas en las macetas. De cualquier manera se ven increibles.

  20. Ekaterina
    Ekaterina at |

    Hi Jonni,

    Big hello and THANKS for this tutorial from Russia. I ran across your site looking for ways of making a butterfly. And found the best one here! Thank you!
    Hope soon to finish my project :)

    Also nice coincidence about elephant and butterfly’s friendship – look at one of my works. I called it “Elephant that failed to fly up”

    Suprising, isn’t it? :))

    Good luck and inspiration!

  21. Brynn Huber
    Brynn Huber at |

    Hello! I have a question as far as the paper mache goes, I do A LOT of acrylic paintings on typical primed/stretched canvas ….but….here’s the kicker lol I’m planning on doing a 3D face protruding out from the canvas and I don’t know where to start, meaning should I do the step by step instructions for a mask then smooth out the entire edge of mask onto the canvas or should it be a solid sculpted face….the paper mache I bought is pre made just add water and it does say it adheres to pretty much everything…I’m a complete amature when it comes to paper mache so I do not know if it will stick corectly to the canvas with out any sort of craft glue etc…also would I have to gesso it…please help lol this has me in a boggle, I’ve tried searching the search engine but nothing quite comes up according to what I’m asking…thank you sooo much and I too love the elephant!

  22. Christina
    Christina at |

    i’m very impressed with your entire site. this tutorial is awesome. thanks for all of it. :)

  23. mariamercedes
    mariamercedes at |

    Your work is absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for all your tutorials.

  24. mama2six
    mama2six at |

    okay jonni we are making these tomorrow…not for s. america but my friend is dropping her 3 girls off and we are going to make these…i am going to stick a painted shish-ka-bob skewer in the bottom of the body (we will make it a little thicker) so they can play with them and for the antenea sp i am going to use 26 gauge wire…thin enough to poke into and sturdy enough to shape ;) (i am a jewelry maker) let you know how they turn out…thanks again

  25. Karyn
    Karyn at |

    Very fun butterflies!

    I have a question for you…and wasn’t sure where to post it, so here goes:

    I am in the process of creating a large (4 feet tall) heart. It now has 6 layers and I think it’s about ready to paint. I notice that you typically use acrylic paint. Is there a reason? I bought red tempura but if there’s a reason that acrylic would be better, please let me know. Thanks!

  26. Rachel
    Rachel at |

    Oh how pretty! What a lovely project. Thanks so much for the how-to, I’ll be linking.

  27. Martha
    Martha at |

    I think the butterflies would be nice with a wire on the underside so you could stick them in a houseplant. They would add some color to my non-blooming plants.

  28. mrfoltz
    mrfoltz at |

    That elephant is Fan-tab-ulous!!!!

  29. Joey
    Joey at |

    Those are really cute. I’m not a dainty type person myself, but wouldn’t those be cute glued to the heads of push pins? Not for everyday use, but as an accent on a girly type memo board?
    Very nice project!

  30. Annie
    Annie at |

    I LOVE the little blue one! Yes it’s cutsey, but there’s a BIG place for cutsey in this tough world! It makes me want to slow down and have a cup of tea :-)

    1. aditi
      aditi at |

      same here :D


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