How to make Monarch Butterfly Wings

Recently, my second grader, had a Bugz musical at school.  She picked the part of the Monarch Butterfly.  Of course she would….because you can’t easily go buy monarch butterfly wings.  You can buy {butterfly} wings…pretty blue wings, pink wings, rainbow wings…at most party stores.  But a monarch?  A little harder to come by.  I’m sure I could have searched online…but what fun is that?!?!  I decided to make them myself.  It would be fun…right?  {or, I’m just crazy…but that is another post}

First, I started by rounding up some metal hangers, and shaping them into wings.

Then, I busted out the duct tape and taped all the hangers together.  I put a lot of tape on to keep it strong – you never know what crazy {behind-the-scenes} fluttering will happen to these wings!

Using 1 yard of black felt (affiliate link) {you might only need 3/4 yard} Fold the felt in half, place the wings on top, and trace around them {about an inch out} with a white crayon.  The extra inch will give you room to glue and sew.  After that, cut out the wings.  You now have two pieces of black felt wings…a front and back.

Place the metal wings in between the felt wings and glue them together.  I used fabric glue {because that is what I had at home} but I later found out that there is felt glue, which may have been better.  With the fabric glue, you really have to use a lot, saturating the fibers of the felt, so it holds better.  I found {out later in the process} that using a brush to apply the glue works better than simply squeezing it out of the bottle.  Let the glue dry for about 20 minutes.

Next, bust out the needle and black thread.  Sew a simple whipstitch around the perimeter of the metal wings.  This will help hold the metal wings in place and give the fabric wings more strength and structure.

Now the fun starts.  It helps to find a picture of a monarch butterfly to look at for guidance.

Using orange felt (affiliate link), folded over so it is doubled, cut out shapes to mimic the orange areas on monarch butterfly wings.   Lay them out on the black wings as you go, so you can see what areas need more orange.  Trim the cut shapes as needed.

Since you cut two layers of orange felt at once, you now have two sets of shapes…one for each side of the wings.  Remove one set, laying them off to the side, and start gluing on one set of orange shapes.  Let them dry for about 20 minutes, then gently flip the wings and glue on the other set of orange shapes.
While the wings are drying, work on the next step…the white dots.  Take some white felt (affiliate link) {I bought two small sheets} and cut a bunch of circles.  Double up the fabric so you can cut two at once.  Lay the circles out on the wings in whatever pattern looks good.  Glue those babies on!  Make sure you get a lot of glue on everything…both white dots and the orange shapes.  Let one side dry for about 20 minutes, flip and repeat with more white dots.
It looks pretty when both sides are almost done!  Let the wings dry completely…I let them dry overnight.  The next day, check for any pieces that might need some extra glue.  I used the hot glue gun on a few white dots that were just being impossible.  That worked!

Now it is time to add some ribbon for wearing the wings.  Using sharp scissors, cut a small slit above and below the metal … where all the wing shapes were taped together at the center.  Using two layers of 1” black grosgrain ribbon (affiliate link), thread it through the slits.  This will be used to tie on the wings.
Final step…and totally optional.  In a well ventilated area and following the directions on the can, spray on some silver fabric glitter (affiliate link) to both sides.  The wings will sparkle beautifully under the stage lights!

One last thing…all butterflies need pretty antennae.  Use a black headband and bend some fuzzy pipe cleaners (affiliate link) into antennae shapes.

All done!  Your monarch butterfly is ready to flutter beautifully on stage!

FYI, my daughter’s teacher was so impressed with the wings, they wrote an additional part in the play for her.  My daughter thought that was the best thing ever!

I had fun making the wings – so glad I did!  I did cheers myself with a glass of vino when I was done.  I tried a Bordeaux….I won’t share…I wasn’t impressed.  But, maybe I’m just not a Bordeaux person.

To making beautiful {and sparkly} monarch butterfly wings…Cheers!

PS. I’m linking up with Taylor again!

Unveil Your Genius Link Party



  1. clo says

    Hi, my second grader is in the same role this year! Thanks for the tutorial. I am not sure how the ribbon tied them on, I know I must be having a brainless moment but can you help please? Thanks

    • says

      Sure! Simply make a couple of slits in the felt and pull the ribbon through. Then just tie the ribbons around her arms. Or you can cross the ribbons over her chest then tie. Whatever works best for you! Hope that helps!


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