If you are a regular follower of my blog posts, you’ve figured out by now my absolute love of coffee filters. Many homes have them on hand, and even if you’re not a coffee drinker (like myself) someone else in the family often is. If not, they can be purchased at any local retail store or you can swing by the Ashland Library to pick some up. This week’s craft is a reminder that the humble coffee filter has many uses and that you don’t have to go far to create a little magic with your child.

Here’s what you’ll need:  

  • Coffee filter
  • Markers
  • Hand sanitizer (spray or liquid)
  • Butterfly template
  • Scissors
  • Small paint brush
  • Tape
  • Cardstock or cardboard
  • Window

First, draw an outline of a butterfly on cardstock or light piece of cardboard. Old cereal boxes or tissue boxes are perfect for this sort of thing. I’ve included a template that you can print out. 

Print out the butterfly template

Next, take your coffee filter and use your markers to cover them with color. I recommend doing several of these. It will make a spectacular display when you’re done. 

Color the coffee filter with markers

If you don’t have markers, food coloring, watercolors, or even crayons are also options. Crayons won’t give you the tie-dyed effect, but the colors will still catch the light when placed in a window. 

Now comes the magic… but first, this part is messy and the colors will bleed through the coffee filter. To protect the surface you’re working on, I suggest putting a paper bag or plate under the coffee filter. I caution against using newsprint, as the ink will smear onto your child’s creation.  

Spray the hand sanitizer on the coffee filter or put a dollop of the liquid on a plate and use a small paint brush to spread it. A cotton swab or a finger will work, too. The markers should smear pleasantly into that tie-dyed effect I mentioned earlier.  

Spray the coffee filter with hand sanitizer

Before you go any further, the coffee filter needs to dry. Put it aside and use the time as an opportunity to walk around the neighborhood to see if you and your child can spot any butterflies. If there is a garden nearby, take a few minutes to quietly stand and watch. You’ll be amazed at the creatures you and your child might see. It’s also a great time to talk about pollinators and their important role in helping to grow fruits and vegetables.  

When your coffee filter is dry, place your butterfly template in the center, and have your child trace around it. 

Trace the shape of the butterfly on the coffee filter

 Cut it out and tape it to a sunny window. Stand back and admire how the light filters through all the amazing colors.  

Butterfly window catcher craft

For more information on pollinators, pollination, bees, and butterflies here’s a list of books that can be found in the library catalog. For a fun outing, visit one of our local pollinator gardens. For more information on where they are located, check out the Rogue Valley Pollinator Project.