Painted Balsa-Foam Butterfly

by AMACO brent

Large painted butterfly

Butterflies are insects. They have an 
unusual life cycle starting from an egg, then developing into larva or caterpillar, then to pupa and adult butterfly. Most species of 
butterflies are active during the day. Their colorful 
markings make them easy to see and fun 
to watch. Some butterflies migrate 
many thousands of miles. The 
Monarch migrates from Mexico to 
North America. Butterflies are important to 
humans too as they help pollinate plants. The beauty of butterflies make them a popular motif for artists. This lesson encourages students to learn about a breed of butterfly and 
reproduce it as a painted sculpture.

Research a breed of butterfly and then carve this butterfly from BalsaFoam® and paint it appropriately.

Cut Out Shape

Large butterfly1a

Press the cookie cutter halfway into the Balsa-Foam® to make an outline of the butterfly then remove. Do not be tempted to press the butterfly cutter all the way through the Balsa-Foam® as you’re likely to damage the shape when removing the cutter. If you do not have a cookie cutter, you can draw a butterfly shape on the piece of Balsa-Foam® so that you can cut around it.

Working from the side and the top, cut the Balsa-Foam® away in sections around the mark made by the butterfly cutter or your pencil line. You need to cut away all the BalsaFoam® leaving just the butterfly shape.

Decorate Butterfly

Large butterfly3 copy

You can now decorate your butterfly with your own design. It may help to trace the butterfly outline on a sheet of paper and draw in the design you want to use. Use this as a visual guide when carving your butterfly.

To carve the butterfly markings, use different sizes of drinking straws to press holes through the butterfly. You can also make dents and small holes in the butterfly using a toothpick or knitting needle. Shape the details any way you want them to look.

Paint Butterfly

Large painted butterfly 4

Paint the surface of your butterfly with Gesso to seal it and to provide a sound base coat for your paints. Set aside to dry. Using acrylic paints, paint your butterfly in colors of your choice. Finish the butterfly with a coat of an all-purpose sealer to protect its surface. The study of insects, birds, mammals and plant life can also be accomplished with the same techniques and tools using Balsa-Foam®.


    Painted BalsaFoam Butterfly Download File


    Balsa Foam Gesso Carving Tools Acrylic Paint Pencil Paper