Butterfly Symmetry Painting for Kids

What if I said that this was possibly the easiest art activity ever?  Behold, butterfly symmetry painting! These were magical to create and ended up taking over a wall in our apartment.

I don’t know who was more excited to open up the butterfly to reveal the gorgeous symmetrical print, me or the kiddo.

Butterflies are such magical creatures and seeing my son so excited about the humble cabbage butterfly he found in the front garden prompted me to try this art activity with him.

I wanted to try and replicate the beauty and symmetry of a butterfly wing using our new watercolour paints, you can use acrylic paint or even oil pastels to create different versions.

We ended up doing some variations with acrylic paint and created some from the marbled paper we made few weeks ago. If you have other colourful paper leftover from other art projects you’re not sure what to do with, cut them into butterfly shapes, you won’t regret it.

All you need to do is cut one half of a butterfly on folded paper, apply paint on one side, fold over and press down to transfer the paint to the other side. Could it get easier?

I have created a free butterfly template for you to print out (link below) and trace around, or simply get the kids to fold the paper and cut out their butterfly shape.

Here’s what you will need to create your butterfly symmetry painting

Paper – copy paper, card-stock and watercolour paper are all great.

Paints- we used watercolours from a solid palette but you can use acrylic paint or liquid watercolours

Crayola washable kids paints

Scissors to cut out your shape



Step 1: Cut out your butterfly

You can use the FREE template here I created for you or you can simply fold the paper in half then draw and cut your own.

We used both the template and drew some freehand, both looked great and it was nice to have some variations in size and shape.

Quick Tip graphic

Make sure to cut out a few butterflies ahead of time. If your kiddo is anything like mine he will want to create multiple prints!

Step 2: Add paint with a spoon or paintbrush

Butterfly Symmetry Painting for Kids

Apply paint to one half of your butterfly. If you are using watercolour paint like we did make the wash extra wet. This will help to transfer the paints to the other side when you fold it over.

Step 3: Fold the paper over

Butterfly Symmetry painting

Fold your butterfly in half. The crease you made at the beginning when you cut out your shape will help with this. Press and rub your hand over the paper to transfer the print to the other side.

Step 4: Open your butterfly print

Next is the best part. Gently open your butterfly to reveal its gorgeous & symmetrical wings!

Step 5: Repeat the process

Butterfly Symmetry Painting for Kids

We made so many of these I lost count.

Step 6: Create a display

Butterfly Symmetry painting

We had so many we created a display on our wall, grouped together like this looks amazing. You can also peg them to a piece of string to create a nice display too.

Playing around: Using your butterfly symmetry paintings

Your paintings are wonderful just as they are. You can hang them up to display and enjoy them and you can do some other things with them too.

Some ideas for you:

  1. Add details with pastel or texta. If you have older children you can show them some butterfly images for inspiration. Or simply add a little face and some antenna with pipe cleaners.
  2. Create a display, if you’re doing this with lots of children or have multiple prints as we did then you can create a gorgeous display on the wall.  
  3. Have other paper art projects that you could turn into a butterfly? Use the template to trace around and cut out like we did.

Let me know if you try these out, I love hearing from you!

Check out our gorgeous spring birds for more spring related art making fun!

Until next time



About Emma - Founder of Art Play Heart and passionate advocate of getting as many children as possible to enjoy art making in their lives! There is nothing more magnificent than watching a child or anyone for that matter flourish and discover themselves and the world around them through being creative and making art in all its glorious forms.

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