Get crafty this spring with a butterfly print project

Paper crafter Aimee Graham demonstrates how to combine printing and painting to create beautiful butterfly-themed art.
A Canon PIXMA TS5350 Series printer next to a display of colourful craft butterflies.

The arrival of butterflies is a sure sign that spring is coming, and what better way to welcome the change in season than by crafting your own butterfly-themed home decorations?

Artist and paper crafter Aimee Graham started out making origami jewellery, but in the past year she has been developing new ideas, experimenting with new materials and posting her creations on her Instagram profile (@aimee__designs).

"I've always been creative, and it's become part of my self-care routine to craft. Realising that people valued my work gave me the confidence to start building a brand," explains Aimee. "I want to create fun, individual and sustainable pieces that people can use to accessorise themselves or their homes. I'd also like to help people access their creativity."

Here, Aimee explains how she used a Canon PIXMA TS5350a Series printer, templates from Canon's inspiration-packed free content service Creative Park and a little papercrafting skill to produce stunning and imaginative butterfly art.

1. Choosing and printing templates for your butterfly art

A woman printing craft butterfly templates on a Canon PIXMA TS5350 Series printer.

You can find a range of pre-made butterfly templates on Creative Park to get you started. "You don't need complicated tools and equipment to get creative," says Aimee.

You will find some beautiful templates on Creative Park that could work as the basis for your designs, including butterfly mobiles and 3D wall stickers. You might also find inspiration for your papercraft project on the Creative Park app, which is available for both iOS and Android. To print from the app, you will need to connect a compatible Canon PIXMA Inkjet printer – check this list of supported printer models*.

"Print is a great starting point for your creations," says Aimee. "If you find something too challenging, you can always start by printing templates and outlines. You can use these to trace and cut out your own designs for découpage, collage or just for inspiration."

Aimee used a Canon PIXMA TS5350a Series printer and both Plus Glossy and Matte Photo Paper to print out her templates and found the printer quick to set up and easy to use. "It was super user friendly for feeding in paper and changing the paper size settings. It's slightly more compact than other printers I've used, so it looks nice too.

"Also the paper quality was perfect," she adds. "Sometimes paper can disintegrate slightly after you continue working on it so it was really good to use something that was strong enough throughout the process and continued to be stable as a finished product after I'd finished manipulating it by poking holes and wire through it!"

2. Decorating your craft butterflies

A woman wearing large hoop earrings cutting out a picture of a butterfly with a craft knife.

For Aimee, papercrafting is also a form of self-care. "Apart from the satisfaction you receive from the process and the finished piece, it's a mindful activity that can be used as a form of meditation," she says.

A woman folding colourful papercraft butterflies next to her Canon PIXMA TS5350 Series printer.

Once you've printed out your template, you can use your creative side to decorate your craft butterflies however you'd like.

Aimee used the 3D wall stickers on Creative Park as the starting point for her designs. "The templates gave me a specific place to start. I knew which shapes I liked the most and this kept things simple and allowed me to avoid overthinking," she explains. "The butterflies were the main focus of the work and everything else was just created to set the scene." Aimee downloaded the template and instructions to create a batch of butterflies, which she planned to arrange in a bell jar (glass dome display case) alongside crepe paper flowers and foliage and some more of her own painted creations.

She then turned her attention to the individual designs for the box frame, this time using blank butterfly templates she'd sourced online and painting the delicate wing patterns herself with watercolours and pens, using her favoured Creative Park butterflies as a guide.

"My main focus was transforming the outline templates into full colour butterflies which I would then make 3D. At this point it was essentially colouring in. It was refreshing to strip back the creative process to its childlike roots and just have fun," Aimee says.

If you don't have watercolours and pens, coloured pencils will work just as well. "The quality of the prints was great," enthuses Aimee. "No ink smudging at all and the printed lines were really fine."

3. Displaying your butterfly paper crafts

A woman displaying three papercraft butterflies in a wooden box frame.

Using a box frame to display your butterfly wall art is a great way to show off your hard work.

A woman assembling a craft butterfly display using a small glass dome.

Papercrafting can be an incredibly versatile hobby. "It's a 2D medium that can be treated as such, or turned into something 3D. With just a little imagination, you can make so many ideas come to life," says Aimee.

Crepe paper flowers in bunches, wall hangings and box frames are some of Aimee's specialities, so she could see straight away how easy it would be to incorporate craft butterflies into her designs.

"All of my work is inspired by nature, so I could imagine how well the butterflies would work," she says. "I could see the bell jar piece in my mind straight away, so I was really excited to bring it to life."

To display three of her painted paper butterflies as wall art, Aimee chose a wooden box frame and pinned a handwritten species label next to each one.

"I love using bell jars and box frames in this way," she explains. "It reminds me of specimen jars that you see in places like the Natural History Museum. Preserving beauty, nature and history in this way transforms an object into a piece of art."

4. Don't be afraid to have a go

A woman hanging a wooden box frame containing three papercraft butterflies on a brick wall.

Using different forms of display can add another element to your papercrafting, like this elegant box frame.

A woman places a glass dome filled with colourful paper butterflies on a wooden surface.

When it comes to papercraft, it's best to start small. "You can make the projects more challenging as your skill improves – there's no need to jump straight into something really difficult," says Aimee.

Aimee was really pleased with her finished products and although she's been creative all her life, she thinks it's possible for anyone to achieve similar results.

"I think everyone has a creative streak buried in them somewhere," she enthuses. "Art can be overwhelming, especially making something from nothing. But if you start simple and just begin the process by putting your energy into it and seeing where it goes, you'll probably lose yourself in it – and that's the magic.

"It becomes much more about the creative journey than the finished piece. Just keep it simple, make it fun and keep trying."

For more papercraft inspiration, follow us on Pinterest. And don't forget to share your creations on social media using the #MadeWithPIXMA hashtag.

Written by Andrea Ball

*If your printer is not supported, check the Creative Park website.

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