These cheerful butterfly prints start with a simple Styrofoam plate and a free template. Two printmaking options mean you already have what you need to get started today!
The butterfly printing plate….
The backbone of this project is the printing plate. A seven inch (dessert size) plate works perfectly with these free templates. These butterfly silhouettes will perfectly fill the flat surface of a plate this size. Of course if you have bigger plates or even Styrofoam deli trays they will work too but will create slightly more waste.
If you’re worried about the waste of styrofoam in this butterfly printmaking project I invite you to think of “upcycling some of these little plates. Often plates like these are used at parties and hold no more than crackers or a cookie. A quick wipe with a wet rag would render them totally ready for printmaking!
Trace the template and cut out the butterfly shape- quick and easy.
Get the butterfly template….
If you’d like to get the PDF version of this printable butterfly template use the subscribe box below. You’ll get a weekly newsletter about what’s new at KTC and a subscriber only password to my Resource Library. All of my printable resources, including this butterfly template, are there in easy to print PDF form.
Start your butterfly print….
Now is the time to add some personality to your butterfly silhouette. Use a dull pencil to carve designs into your butterfly printing plate. This is a great time to talk about the idea of symmetry. Check out this post for a more complete run down on the concept of symmetry plus a free printable handout.
Look at pictures of butterflies whether online or in books and notice the types of shapes and patterns that are common in butterflies.
Butterfly print option #1, marker prints….
Marker prints are a super easy, instant gratification, you already have all the supplies kind of printmaking. You’ve already got the printing plate ready. Use washable markers, think Crayola, Color the raised areas of your Styrofoam plate. Use a damp paper towel to slightly dampen a piece of white paper. Press damp paper on top of printing plate. The water on the paper will help the marker transfer from the printing plate to the paper leaving behind a butterfly print that is bright and beautiful and a printing plate that can be used over and over.
Butterfly print option number two….
Creating a colorful background is optional for this printmaking method but it’s an easy way to make a print made with plain black ink really “pop.” This background was made by coloring patches of color with oil pastels Any bright paper will give your butterfly print something to contrast against!Use a printmaking brayer (that’s fancy for roller) to roll your printing plate with black printing ink. I would imagine you could use black paint for this step too but I have not tried it. Smooth it all over with the pads of your fingers or the back of a spoon.
Peel the paper back to reveal a bold butterfly print. Ink your plate and print again and again.
Finishing touches for your butterfly print….
Cut these pretty little butterfly prints out, layer them, create a background for them. I can imagine a huge installment of these butterfly prints fluttering down a hallway or gracing a window! What a bright and cheerful sight that would be!