Create a Paper Collage Butterfly

design team - natasha diy drawing Jun 30, 2022
How to make a paper butterfly collage

If you’re looking for a reason to buy beautiful, patterned paper, look no further! Today, I am sharing how to create a paper collage butterfly using Animal Line Drawing by Peggy Dean, and some fun patterned paper. This project is super fun and I'll guide you through each step of the way.

I’m Natasha Miller and I’m so excited to share this fun, versatile piece with you.




Prefer watching this tutorial instead?



Step 1: Sketch Your Butterfly

Grab your paper and pencil. Following the instructions in the Animal Line Drawing book, sketch out your butterfly. Make sure it's a large sketch, roughly 3x4 inches. You can definitely sketch a larger butterfly but not much smaller than 3x4.




Step 2: Decide How to Layer Your Sketch

Take a look at your sketch and all of the details. For our butterfly, we have the main shape, the 4 wings, the body, and then the decorative elements on the wings. Decide how much detail you want to include in your final piece, e.g. do you want to include the individual mosaic parts of the wings or keep it all one piece.


Want to try this tutorial out with some florals instead? Grab yourself a copy of the best-selling Botanical Line Drawing book for some inspiration.



Step 3: Grab Your Tracing Paper and Pencil

Once you have decided on the layers you want, you are going to start tracing the pieces out. Every separate piece that you decided on in the previous step needs to be traced out. Make sure to label the pieces so that you know what goes where (this is especially important for later). 

Basically, think of this step as creating a pattern like you would when sewing. You are cutting out your pattern that you will layer on your “fabric” (or, in our case, paper).




Step 4: Cut Out Your Traced Pieces

Using a small pair of scissors, start cutting your shapes out. I use the removable glue on the smaller pieces and glue it to the sketch paper just to keep track of them as I go. 




Step 5: Decide On Your Paper Layouts

Choose which patterned paper you want to use for each element. I like to have some busy patterns, mixed with some solid colors or basic shapes, like stripes, to give the eye a break. Remember to pick your background piece as well.



Step 6: Start Cutting Your Patterned Paper Pieces

Once you’re happy with your decisions, using the removable glue, start gluing your tracing paper pieces onto the patterned paper. It’s very important that you use the removable glue! I cut out 2 butterfly outline shapes using the same piece of tracing paper just to cut down on tracing paper pieces. 

Leave the tracing paper stuck to the patterned paper to help keep track of the pieces.




Step 7: Start Gluing the Pieces Together

Now you can start to assemble the pieces together. Using regular glue, and foam pads, you can start gluing pieces down, adding dimension with the foam pads.

Using the 2 outline shapes, glue the center of one piece to the center of the second piece, then fold the wings back. This will add some simple dimension to your shape.



For the wings, use foam pads to glue the solid outline of the mosaic portion. Start to glue the small mosaic pieces to these outlines. Just follow the label on the tracing paper and refer back to your original sketch if you need reminding where the pieces go.

Note: I was gluing my pieces as I went, which is also an option. 



Step 8: Glue Your Butterfly Onto a Background

Your butterfly is now finished and ready to be glued onto a background. You can use this as a card, a bookmark, or even just a fun print to have on your desk.



I hope you had fun putting this piece together. I would love to see your own creations either making this piece, or using the techniques to create your own paper collage animal. You can tag me and Peggy over on Instagram, @natashamillerletters and @thepigeonletters.



See all of Natasha’s tutorials here! 

Natasha is a mom to 2 spirited boys, currently living in Alberta, Canada. She is passionate about creative journaling as a way to manage her mental well-being and practice self care. In doing so, she has found her true love in hand lettering and illustration, and hopes to show others the power of putting pen to paper.