Butterflies are beautiful. Especially the Blue Morpho! Back in 2011 I pasted printed versions of this butterfly to my wall after seeing the famous photo of these butterflies on a tree in the Amazon. I also love the display domes you see right now and I really wanted one. I don’t know the details of this trade in dead butterflies so I opted for the 100% animal friendly option: fake! I drew a Blue Morpho butterfly and now you can download it for free
First download my drawing of the butterflies here to make your own display at home.
The quote: ”Why buy it for 7 dollars if you can make it yourself for 92” isn’t really applicable here! I made this display with less than 20 euros worth of materials. Here’s how:
– Display dome or bell jar. Now you can buy them basically everywhere you can get anything for your interior. I bought mine at HEMA for 12 euros.
– Paper and printer. I used 80grams regular printing paper. I figured they are delicate little things. And my printer prints nicely on two sides. In bright sunlight some printer-inks might fade. I have a very good printer that has archival inks to last 100 years for my fine art prints. A little less is fine too.
– Florist wire. I got mine from my local florist, and it cost me a couple of eurocents. (Buy some succulents while you’re there. )
– Glue for paper if you’re going to paste the butterflies back to back. And perhaps glue for the base.
– You’re going to need a base for the florist wire to be stuck in. I made mine from cork coasters. But you can also use clay that air dries, or styrofoam. I chose not to paste the base to the base of the dome. I like change.
– Black marker to fill in the edges of the butterflies.
– Double sided foam tape. I used tiny squares.
– Depending on what type of base you have: needle to punch holes for the florist wire
– Pliers to cut the wire.
Print the butterflies.
The outline of the butterfly is symmetrical. The inner drawing is not because I thought, to be realistic, you should see some difference.
But the symmetrical nature makes it easier to print. This is where we’re cheating because Blue Morpho butterfly’s wings aren’t blue on the other side. But stay with me here, we’re not lepidopterists. We like pretty things.
I printed two sided. Pay attention to the paper feed of your printer. Leave to dry for a while between prints. The black ink might cause the paper to tear if you want to print the back. When you print the sheet make sure you have the image centred on the paper, and the image should be scaled to fill the area.
If you can’t print two-sided you print the image once, and then fold the paper in half so one butterfly is aligned over the other, back to back. Use the window pane to find the perfect middle. Open the fold again, apply glue thinly with a piece of cardboard and press the halves together. Make sure the edges are covered with glue, and press well. Leave to dry before cutting.
For A4 printers and US letter size you get a different size (the size of the butterfly will roughly be half of the printeable area) If you want a bigger or smaller butterfly, you can scale the image before printing.
Cut the butterflies.
As careful as possible, and the more detail you cut, the better. The antennas were cut a bit thicker and not in the exact same place I drew them. But this is not a problem when we start colouring the sides.
When they are cut we are going to make them real by using the black marker to carefully fill the white sides with black ink. Here you can color the antennas so they look real again.
Now think about your composition.
I placed a smaller one in the top, and decided to go for 3 big ones and 2 small ones. And I prepared the base. I had some cork coasters at hand, and I glue 3 together.
I punched a hole in the base with the needle and tried how high the wire had to be for a small butterfly to fit in nicely.
Attaching the butterflies to the wire.
Stick a piece of double sided foam tape to the back of the butterfly’s body and stick it on the top of the florist wire. The foam centre of the tape makes for a bigger surface to stick the wire to.
It takes some guessing and cutting the wire with the pliers, but you’ll get there. Place the dome on top of the base to see how it works. Remove the dome again and erpeat this for every butterfly you want to add. It is an uptrend to have the dome festered with butterflies, but go for as many as you like. Good luck!
If this is a bit much, or you don’t have room for yet another piece on your dresser: stick them anywhere you can! I have printed way too many butterflies that I have stuck to my wall with the left over of double sided foam tape. Go crazy. It is an easy way to add something special to a room!
Pictured here is my drawing of the little owl on A1 size in my livingroom.