Coffee filter butterfly

Coffee filter butterfly craft for kids

Looking for a super simple craft you can do with the supplies you have at home? Try this coffee filter butterfly craft! This classic craft requires only two coffee filters, washable markers, a pipecleaner, and some water to make.

This fun craft idea creates the most adorable rainbow butterflies, and it only takes a few minutes. Here’s the tutorial for this simple craft!

Supplies for the coffee filter butterflies

You can use any coffee filters that you have on hand for this cute craft. Just make sure you use two for each butterfly! For older kids, you could do this same craft with watercolor paints, but it will get a bit messier.

Here are the supplies for the coffee filter butterflies craft:

  • Pipe cleaners (1 per butterfly)
  • Coffee filters (2 per butterfly)
  • Something to apply water with (I used an eye dropper, you could use a spray bottle too though)
  • Washable markers
  • A tray to contain the mess, like a plate, wax paper, or a cookie sheet

Don’t forget the tray! Since the markers will bleed through the coffee filters, you’ll wait to carefully protect the area.

How to make coffee filter butterflies

This is such a simple craft but the results are simply adorable! Follow the instructions below for my very basic butterfly design. You could also use whatever household supplies you have around to embellish your butterflies – Pony beads, chenille stem, clothespins, etc.

Also, if you prefer to learn this step-by-step with photos, click here to jump to the bottom of the post!

  1. Stack two coffee filters one on top of the other
    • I used basket coffee filters and it worked fine, but the round coffee filters look adorable too. As long as it’s paper, the shape doesn’t matter.
  2. Draw unique and colorful designs on the top coffee filter with assorted colors
    • Encourage your kiddos to experiment with different color combinations, but remember, the colors that sit next to each other on a color wheel won’t mix well (red/green, blue/orange, and yellow/purple)
  3. Spritz water onto the filter or drop it with an eye dropper and watch the colors spread
    • Use enough water that all of the colors bleed together. Don’t worry if your children put a lot of water on – You’ll be drying them anyway.
  4. Put out in the sun or in a window to dry
    • Thankfully, in this BC heat, it only took about 10 minutes for my filters to dry. It may take a bit longer if it isn’t 37 degrees, though!
  5. Carefully fold your filters one by one in an accordion pattern or “fan fold”
    • One will be for the top set of wings and the other for the bottom
  6. Stack your folded coffee filters one on top of the other
  7. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle of the two filters, and make sure to twist the two ends at the top so it stays secure
    • You could also use a clothespin for this step. They look super cute if you paint them (or leave them natural, honestly!)
  8. Create the antennae
    • For a realistic look, leave the antennae straight and thread a small bead onto it. I thought a curl was cute, so I did that. Plus I didn’t have any leftover beads on hand.

That’s all you need to do to create these gorgeous butterflies! It’s a lot of fun making them, but your kids will also love watching them as they “fly” (really, we just toss them up and pretend they’re flying).

Also, you could emphasize that butterfly wings are symmetrical. But, it’s likely that the colors will blend differently to create tie-dyed coffee filters, so you could give it a try but they won’t be perfect! That’s the beauty in a craft – It doesn’t need to be totally realistic.

I can just imagine how cute it would be to create dozens of these beautiful coffee filter butterflies and hang them as decor for a kid’s party! Or, just as a kids craft it’s great to fill some time.

Step-by-step instructions with photos

1. Gather your supplies. You will need 2 coffee filters, water, a dropper or spray bottle, markers, and a pipe cleaner.

2. Stack your coffee filters directly on top of each other.

3. Draw random designs on the top filter. The designs will bleed through – That’s exactly what you want to happen!

4. Using an eye dropper or a water bottle, spritz water all over your design. Use enough so both filters are saturated with color and all the colors spread

5. Let the filters dry completely. I put mine outside – It only took about 10 minutes until they were completely dry

6. Fan fold the colored coffee filters one at a time, folding all of the filter.

7. Stack the coffee filters on top of each other to create butterfly wings.

8. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the center of your filter butterfly, then twist it to secure

coffee filter butterfly

9. Create the antennae by either twisting the end (as shown here) or by adding a little bead.

Elke Crosson
Elke Crosson

Elke Crosson has her BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at UBC (Okanagan). She is currently in her second year of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Toronto, with dreams of becoming an elementary-level teacher.