Colorful Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft

What do you think of when you think about butterflies? My guess is that you think of beautiful colorful wings! In this craft, your child will make a set of their own colorful butterfly wings to hang in a window or simply enjoy.

Little M. absolutely loves mixing water and using her eye dropper and plastic syringe (I saved both of these from her baby vitamins). Today, we broke out the coffee filters, and made some butterflies with colored water. We also observed what happens when you mix two primary colors. She was especially delighted by the purple (her favorite color, hands down).

This activity gives children the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills as well as learning about the science of color. It is also a very calm soothing process art activity that is nice for when everybody needs a few minutes of quiet.

What You Will Need to Make This Butterfly Craft:

  • a few coffee filters (at least three)
  • paper plates, (We used 4, one for each color combination and one for the finished products to dry)
  • paper towels
  • small amounts of water in 2 bowls
  • food coloring in red, blue, and yellow
  • eye dropper and/or syringes
  • pipe cleaners

Setting Up for the Butterfly Activity

You will need to lay out one of the coffee filters on a paper plate (just to keep the water from going everywhere once you begin the activity). Ask your child to choose two primary colors. Put two or three drops of each color into the bowls

Coloring the Coffee Filters


Let your child experiment with the bowls of water. M. had just as much fun injecting the water into the other bowl as she did pouring it onto the coffee filter! If the coffee filter gets really saturated, simply pour the water back into one of the bowls (or a third bowl set out for this purpose if you really want to keep the colors distinct).

When your child is done, place the finished coffee filter onto the other paper plate to dry. Place a paper towel in between each coffee filter.

When the water runs out, or your child is done with the colors they chose, ask them if they would like to repeat the activity with other colors. We did this three times in a row: blue and red, yellow and red, and finally yellow and blue. She really enjoyed seeing the colors transform into something new!

Finishing the Butterfly Project

To finish the butterflies, simply scrunch the coffee filter in the middle (kind of like an accordion), and wrap a pipe cleaner around with the ends on top. Twist the top of the pipe cleaner to secure it in place. The ends are now the butterfly's antennae. Position them in a way that you like. Fan out the sides of the coffee filter, these are now your wings. Viola!

Looking for More Butterfly Themed Activities?

Check out the Butterfly Letter Craft and the DIY Butterfly Dress Up Wings that I posed earlier this week.

Make The Project Yours

This project is fairly adaptable to different children's needs. If the eyedropper or syringe prove to be too challenging, you could offer your child a plastic spoon (a small baby spoon or ice cream sample spoon would be excellent for this) to pour the water onto the coffee filter. Alternately, you could provide your child with markers, and let them color the coffee filter and spray it with water!

If you enjoyed this activity, please share or comment. I'd love to hear from you! If you are interested in more crafts like this check out the Paper Plate Umbrella Craft, Found Object Wind Chime, and the Seed Collage. Thank you for taking the time to read this article!


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