As I was walking down the street the other day, spring blossoms of pink and white filled the air. I stood transfixed by the swirl of color flying around me, and I thought, “Wow how cool is this?” It reminded me of a time I was hiking through an alpine meadow high up in the mountains; every step I took, butterflies of all shapes and sizes filled the air.  

Inspired by these experiences, I came up with a sweet and simple butterfly craft that will brighten your day and can be fun for all ages.  

Here are the supplies you’ll need: 

• Coffee filters  

• Thread 

• String 

• Watercolor paint or water-based markers 

• Pipe cleaners or twist ties 

• A stick 

I started with three coffee filters (if you don’t have coffee filters, tissue paper or even a paper towel will work).

 I wanted the same pattern on each coffee filter, so I layered three together and folded them in half. 

My hope was that the water colors  and markers I was using would absorb through all three layers, mirroring the pattern. 

This idea sort of worked for me, but not as well as I had envisioned. The pattern did make it all the way through, but I ended up separating the coffee filters out and touching up each of them individually with my paint and markers. 

While my coffee filters were drying, I took a walk outside and looked around for a stick. Fortunately, when I got back, my coffee filters were dry enough to create my butterflies. I used an accordion fold, but you can also just pinch the filter together in the middle. 

When you have it gathered in the middle, cut a piece of thread about 18 inches long and tie it around the middle. 

After that, I cut a pipe cleaner into thirds and twisted it around the middle as well. This serves as a butterfly’s body and its antennae. If you don’t have pipe cleaners, regular twist ties will also work. 

Using the thread attached to your butterflies, tie each one equidistant apart and at various lengths to the stick. Add a length of jute or string to hang it up. 

You can either hang them in a window or somewhere outside where they’ll catch the breeze. 

If you happen to be in Ashland on April 16, the Ashland Children’s Department is teaming up with North Mountain Park for Building for Bees; this program, which will be held at North Mountain Park Nature Center, runs from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Participants will learn about local insects that use our gardens, then create a habitat for Oregon’s solitary bees. This step-by-step construction project uses recycled materials, and will help kids understand how to sequence, as well as instill a sense of responsibility for protecting our world’s pollinators. 

Gold Hill branch is also offering a neat Caterpillar to Butterfly Take & Make Kit that comes out on April 16th. The kit will provide you with supplies to catch a caterpillar and information about what to feed it and how to care for it as you watch it change into a butterfly. Kits are available while supplies last.

Looking ahead to May, the Medford Branch Children’s Department will also offer a Butterfly Take & Make Kit and will be raising their own butterflies right in the library! There will be a Butterfly Release Party on Saturday, May 25. How cool is that?  

Other branches are also offering interesting programs and Take & Make kits this spring, so visit a branch near you to pick up an event guide, or visit the JCLS website and take a look at our online calendar of events.