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Party Idea? Wing It

Let a flock of colorful paper butterflies loose, and you'll instantly give party decorations a lift.





  1. Step 1

    Trace the template onto a folded piece of paper, cut out the shape, and unfold the wings. (For different sizes, photocopy the template, reducing or enlarging the image.)

  2. Step 2

    Attach some to paper lanterns with tape or glue dots (sold by the roll at crafts stores), then fold the wings upward for true-to-life flutter form.

  3. Step 3


    For topflight cocktails, make 2 slits in the center of a butterfly cutout, and then slide a straw through.

Martha Stewart Living, June 2007



Reviews (81)

  • Alex George 30 Aug, 2013

    @LADundore, if you are looking for paper lanterns, then you can visit this site
    I had purchased lanterns and LED lights for my party celebrations. The products were fabulous.

  • Alex George 30 Aug, 2013

    @LADundore, if you are looking for paper lanterns, then you can visit this site
    I had purchased lanterns and LED lights for my party celebrations. The products were fabulous.

  • Alex George 30 Aug, 2013

    @LADundore, if you are looking for paper lanterns, then you can visit this site
    I had purchased lanterns and LED lights for my party celebrations. The products were fabulous.

  • Alex George 5 Apr, 2013

    In my wedding, I had contacted a vendor to purchase some ribbons and paper lanterns to decorate my wedding place. The products were nice. From then, I have become a great fan of paper lamps. You can see the vendor here:
    Ans at the last, we all released sky lanterns to make the wedding memorable.

  • JulieAnne1964 30 Jun, 2012

    What a beautiful,simple idea.

  • Kelry Ane Braz 23 May, 2012

    translator using the internet: I love your site, are beautiful handicrafts, a thousand ideas,congratulations (parabéns), a kiss (um beijo). (Manaus,Amazonas,Brazil).

  • AussieTess 3 May, 2012

    I love these little butterflies and can't wait to make them for my next family dinner.

  • ouarda 31 Oct, 2011

    wonderful thanks for this lovely idea

  • JohnKChen 30 Aug, 2011

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.It's really very nice site for the party idea.


  • Pollyj 29 Jul, 2011

    The template was great can't wait to make them. Your crafts are great. Thankssssssssssssssssssss

  • krob1203 14 Jul, 2011

    it cut off on the other post. sorry. heres the real deal.

  • krob1203 14 Jul, 2011

    That's the link to the template!!!!!!

  • marinewife05 10 Jul, 2011

    Okay I give...where the heck is the template????

  • MaryM1208 23 Jun, 2011

    These are cute. You can have guests write their name on the butterfly to identify the owner.

  • AprilParisa 7 Jun, 2011

    Love this idea and would like to do it in red and blue for the 4th of July but there are no instructions!!

  • lagitanilla 20 Mar, 2011

    I love this idea! but when I open the template, there is nothing there????

  • Isolda 19 Jul, 2010

    Great way to use up scraps of pretty paper. I enjoy occasionally cutting out paper objects and don't consider it a waste of time, rather a "brain in neutral" stress reliever. Sometimes it's fun just to do the simple things again. Why not?

  • dauna 25 Jun, 2010

    This is a wonderful idea, and I will use a different kind of paper, so I can write my guest names on them and they can take them home after the party for a gift. Thank you for sharing. I love to get new ideas from

  • myla08 20 Jun, 2010

    Donron, I'm with you. For me this is time I could use for something else. Though I really admire the people who manage to cut, design, color, paint, or as one wonderful person did, who used pearls to decorate the many butterflies needed for the various project. And, agosliv, let's not forget that buying them keeps the economy going I do like the idea of using butterflies for many projects. And, I love some of the suggestions sent by all you creative crafters!

  • Tiffany_Sun 31 May, 2010

    fs/pdf3/goodthings_butterflywing.pdf is the part that got cut off in my link below.

  • Tiffany_Sun 31 May, 2010

  • Tiffany_Sun 31 May, 2010

    Rickii and dragonswing, sorry you weren't able to access the template! Here's a direct link to it:

  • agosliv 30 May, 2010

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Try to use paper you have at home on hand instead of buying something more. Help the environment and reduce waste going into a landfull later.

  • donron 29 May, 2010

    I love the idea but am just going to go to my local dollar store and pick up some butterflies in their craft isle and adhere those to my lanterns.Presto-so easy and my time is worth more than cutting them out from a template!

  • bcrable 29 May, 2010

    I clicked on the light blue "template" in the description above and it worked.

  • Rickii 29 May, 2010

    Same here. A pop-up ad covers half of the instructions and the ad has no "X" button to clear it.

  • dragonswing 29 May, 2010

    I couldn't even get to the templates as pop up ads kept appearing the cover the link area. Cute idea though

  • scrapbookdi 29 May, 2010

    I made these and decorated them with Gerber Daisies for my 50th birthday party. They were really pretty. I took the flowers off and now am using them with baby items for my daughter-in-law's baby shower.

  • betyorazz 29 May, 2010


  • betyorazz 29 May, 2010


  • LittleCrafter96 16 May, 2010

    I love the idea! I might make little graduation hats to glue onto dollar-store lanterns for my sister's graduation party.

  • LisaPerry 1 Jul, 2009

    I found these lanterns at Michael's in the $1 section. They have several different colors.

  • alexandra1984 17 May, 2009

    World Market is another good resource for inexpensive lanterns!

  • rickidresel 28 Aug, 2008

    You can get paper lanterns at Hobby Loby.

  • Katiestar1 27 Aug, 2008

    I am using this idea for my daughter's Christening. I purchased 8" white lanterns from and I hot-glued realistic artificial butterflies to the lanterns. They look great. I am going to use some as centerpieces. I thought about putting a wreath around them but when I tried this it took away from the butterflies so I am going to put each lantern on 2 large tropical leaves. Other lanterns will be hung.

  • LADundore 20 Aug, 2008

    Does anyone have a good internet source for paper lanterns? I am looking for some in bright colors for my reception.

  • christine3513 13 Aug, 2008

    I love this idea! I'll be using the lanterns for my simple outdoor wedding next May so these butterflies will just add the finishing touch!!

  • AlyApple123 6 Jul, 2008


  • marieuge 16 Jun, 2008

    I had a bathroom with the lightbulb just hanging from the ceiling for ages without wanting to invest in an expensive and difficult to install lamp. I just finished hanging a beautiful paper lantern with glittery butterflies and it looks so cute I cann n n n t thank you enough. This was a fast, fun, cheap and cute project to make.

  • indybaby 11 Jun, 2008

    I used these butterflies, made from vellum with pearl bead bodies, as toppers for cupcakes I made for my friends 30th birthday. I also strung them on fishing line and had them cascade from the ceiling. Now I going to use them this weekend, as toppers for my friend's daughter for her first birthday cupcakes.

  • littledeer 4 Jun, 2008

    What a wonderful idea. I can think of a thousand ways to use these butterflies. I am going to try them on the shade of a little table lamp, with some small paper roses, for my son-in-law's niece. What a fun way to decorate a little girl's room. And a big girl's room, too! I need some for myself.

  • Marjolaine 31 May, 2008

    In answer to Henden, in Canada, you can find beautiful paper lanterns right now at Zellers (all kinds of shapes and colours!)

  • kimig 31 May, 2008

    I Love this proyect, The butterfly on the top cocktails wax succsecfull in may sister birthday.

  • sunpower 31 May, 2008

    As usual you have hit a homerun. I was going to wash and iron today but I had to try this out first. Love them Thanks so so much Your biggest Israeli fan devora kline

  • joymnelson 30 May, 2008

    The template is pretty minimal -- is that all there is?

  • MinnieM 30 May, 2008

    You can find all sizes and colors at and some limited colors and sizes at Target stores.

  • HollyRN 30 May, 2008

    the Ikea store always has an array of paper lanterns

  • wongc29 30 May, 2008

    I can't seem to get the template's

  • vanner-sylvester 30 May, 2008

    Try a "Dollarama" store...if you have them in your area. I have bought several different kinds of paper lanterns there.

  • henden 30 May, 2008

    any Canadian store suggestions for the paper lanterns? (seems like I am often posting questions-thanks for all the responses too :) )

  • origamidoll 30 May, 2008

    World Market/Cost Plus store always have an assortment of paper lanterns and the lamp fixtures to go with them. (Maybe also on their web site,) I use a CFL bulb in paper lanterns because they don't get hot. (Do NOT use CFLs along with dimmer switches, however!)

  • patzkerlin 30 May, 2008

    I found the lanterns in white at a Dollar Tree store

  • heidimatcham 30 May, 2008

    IThese lamps look so springy and outdoorsy, can't wait to try it. And, Inkyheart, great ideas! I love the look of these little butterflies and making wine charms will be....charming!

  • bettsi 30 May, 2008

    Your daughter's decorations sound beautiful, mamadushenko! Start that crafting addiction early! LOL. Where can you find the large lanterns for sale? I'd like to try this, but I've never seen these lanterns in a store? Am I not shopping in the right place?

  • mamadushenko 30 May, 2008

    My daughters Holy Communion is this weekend and we decided to have a butterfly them. . . We used small paper lanterns that have a battery opertated light inside and we used silk floral candle wrings around the base to place them on and used them as center pieces on the tables. And the best part my daughter made them alll :)

  • inkyheart 30 May, 2008

    I love the ideas! I'd probably run them through my die cutting machine though. Spellbinders has a die that has butterflies and a dragonfly that would look great used like this, plus it embosses them with additional texture. And Victoria (7:56pm) I love your idea of adding them to the wall! My daughter's fairy-room will look perfect with some 3D additions! How about cutting shrink plastic for wine charms too! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • leaette 30 May, 2008

    I did this for my sister's bridal shower last summer. We had a garden theme. I put some butterflies on the cake as the decoration. And they were scattered all over the place: tables, food table, etc. For center pieces, I bought bright colored pottery cereal bowls and put herb plants in them and put the butterflies on the herb plants. It was really pretty.

  • bayarts 30 May, 2008

    This was a very easy-to-make idea that really brightens the whole look of the lanterns and makes them very unique and pretty.

  • alinderman 30 May, 2008

    Hey Martha, could you make this into a paper punch for your collection at Michaels? That would be an awesome punch!! You could have it in 3 different sizes and we at home could mass produce them much easier for a kid party. Love the idea, and so would my daughter!

  • neveraneatnik 30 May, 2008

    Who doesn't like butterflies? The straw idea is cute. I personally, however, think the lanterns are unattractive. If I were to light the lanterns at night, they'd be covered with moths anyway!

  • unbeweaveable 22 May, 2008

    I am using these butterflies to decorate at my upcoming wedding. They were attached to wire to "fly" from the pews as pew decorations and will be added to hurricane lamps on each table with glue dots. I also did the hanging lanterns (not round, long tubes) in the reception. They look amazing and are easy!!

  • PhotoGal 7 May, 2008

    I have been making Martha's paper roses, so I'm now going to try to make these butterflies like the roses and paint them with watercolors. The paper roses are made from funnel shaped coffee filters, and I think the filters would also be great to make these butterflies, cutting them on the fold of the filter so they can 'fly'.

  • SoupAddict 5 May, 2008

    Hi Lynda -- Glad it worked (even with my fumbled explanation!) Best, Karen

  • LyndaWoodstra 4 May, 2008

    Soupaddict...just made a littke body as you suggested....worked great..gracias...

  • LyndaWoodstra 4 May, 2008

    Thanks "soupaddict" we speak, I tried another and made the area where the wings come together a bit deeper,,,still not happy. I will try your great idea. If still more problems, I wll buy silk ones, and glue them to the straws.....this is a lot of work for something that seems tgoing to be thrown out "with the straw"...Thank you...Lynda

  • SoupAddict 4 May, 2008

    I should clarify my previous comment: when I said extending longer than the wings, I actually meant longer than that little area where the wings meet. The butterfly body that I drew extends just a 1/4in above and below the wing joint, not beyond the tops and bottoms of the wings themselves!

  • SoupAddict 4 May, 2008

    Hi Lynda, before I cut out the template, I actually drew in a body for the butterfly -- essentially just a thin rounded rectangle between the wings, extending longer than the wings. I think if you do that it will give the paper a little more stability and a larger area to cut the slits for the straw. Hope it works!

  • LyndaWoodstra 3 May, 2008

    I just finished making the butterflies for straws! Adorable idea, but easier to buy silk ones and glue them onto straws! You must glue two pieces of paper together, let dry then cut around template...when cutting the slit for the straw, I first folded the butterfly and cut the fold, (that seemed to weaken the fold and it tore) then I used a exacto knife...better, but could not get a nice size straw thru. It now almost midnight and I have made two!! Ideas?

  • SoupAddict 1 May, 2008

    I love this idea! I experimented some in prep for a party I'm having: I have a lot of leftover one-sided scrapbooking paper, so I glued two complementary papers back-to-back to make one butterfly. Beautiful! (Also, thanks for the url for the paper lanterns -- I found just the colors I need.)

  • MacGooversMom 30 Apr, 2008

    What a great and simple decorating idea! I would recommend the online store for their colorful selection of <a href="

  • maryspeir 25 Apr, 2008

    I made paper napkin rings using this butterfly template and Martha's paper napkin rings leaf template--here's the website---copy

  • nightowl 25 Apr, 2008

    sorry but I have no idea why my complete statement never goes through

  • nightowl 25 Apr, 2008


  • nightowl 25 Apr, 2008

    cont..grandsons, herb garden, outside


    Such an adorable idea... I am an artist and I have been considering doing a mural on my twin grandaughter's bedroom wall in a butterfly motif. I think it would be amazing to do some of these butterflies as shown and apply some of them to the wall itself for a 3-D effect with the glue dots or even a dab of silicone, like we used to do paper tole. One of these paper lanters with a very low voltage bulb would be great in the corner of their room for their quiet time just before bedtime. Love it!

  • MashaKestel 4 Apr, 2008

    I love thi idea!!! My 8 year old and my 2 year old loved making it.

  • mom2III 3 Apr, 2008

    iam making this for my girls bug party!!! I am so excited they look fabulous. I can't wait to see there faces when everything is done!!! Thank you for the ideas. Keep them coming.

  • mamasmeoww 2 Apr, 2008


  • wildcats5 31 Mar, 2008

    This is so wonderful. I'm planning a Graduation Party for my daughter in June, what a wonderful way to decorate. She loves the paper lanterns. Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

  • HilaryVarney 30 Mar, 2008

    This looks AMAZING. I'm going to try to make it for my upcoming party. My only worry is that there will be a ton of guests.

  • poccarina 14 Jan, 2008

    I love it. Your idea complete my dream. I'm going to use this idea for my coming wedding party this March. Tks.