Coffee Filter Butterflies

Make colorful butterflies with coffee filters, pipe cleaners, and some washable markers or food coloring.
Coffee Filter Butterflies craft


  • Round coffee filters
  • Washable markers or food coloring
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Spoons or droppers

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1a Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 1.

Prepare some coffee filters.

Start out with some round coffee filters. Try to get the white ones—colors don't spread as well on brown coffee filters.
Step 1b Coffee Filter Butterflies craft If you're using basket coffee filters, flatten them out.
Step 2a Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 2.

Color the coffee filters.

Color the coffee filters with washable markers or food coloring.

a.) Washable markers - draw lines, shapes, and patterns on the coffee filters using washable markers.
Step 2b Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Place the coffee filters on a sheet of wax paper. Make sure there is ample space between them. Spray with some water. Watch the colors spread and mix. The longer they sit, the more the colors will mix. Spraying with some more water will also make the colors run more. Leave the coffee filters to dry on the wax paper.
Step 2c Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   b.) Food coloring (Method 1) - place the coffee filters on a sheet of wax paper and spray with some water.
Step 2d Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Place about a tablespoon of water into small containers. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring to each. The more food coloring you add, the more vibrant the butterflies will be.
Step 2e Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Use droppers or small spoons to add drops of the diluted food coloring on each coffee filter. The colors will easily spread and mix on the moist paper. Leave the colored coffee filters to dry on the wax paper.
Step 2f Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   c.) Food coloring (Method 2) - fold the coffee filter in half 3 to 4 times to come up with a small wedge. Moisten the wedge by spraying with some water.
Step 2g Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Fill a small container with about a tablespoon of water and 2-3 drops of food coloring. Add more food coloring for a more vibrant hue. Mix well. Dip the wedge into the colored liquid for about 2 seconds. The color will run up the moist coffee filter.
Step 2h Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Dip the wedge very quickly into a another color of diluted food coloring. You can also dip the opposite tip if you like.
Step 2i Coffee Filter Butterflies craft   Carefully unfold the coffee filter and lay on a sheet of wax paper to dry.
Step 3 Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 3.

Let the coffee filters dry.

The coffee filters will take a few hours to dry completely. The photo shows the difference between using markers versus food coloring. We used washable markers for the top row and food coloring for the bottom row.
Step 4 Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 4.

Create the butterfly wings.

Transorm each colored coffee filter into a pair of butterfly wings by pinching it in the middle.
Step 5a Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 5.

Make a butterfly body.

Fold a pipe cleaner in the middle. If your coffee filters are small, you can half the pipe cleaner before folding it in the middle.
Step 5b Coffee Filter Butterflies craft Twist the pipe cleaner around the middle of the coffee filter wings. The point where you twist the pipe cleaner marks the length of the body while the ends become the butterfly's pair of antennae.
Step 6 Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 6.

Make the antennae.

Curl the ends of the pipe cleaner to define the antennae.
Step 7 Coffee Filter Butterflies craft 7.

Arrange the wings.

Fluff and arrange the wings to finish your pretty butterfly.
Coffee Filter Butterflies 8.

Make more!

Make more butterflies to decorate a spring-themed room. Stick them onto walls, glass windows, or string them together into a lovely garland or mobile.

More Ideas

Orange coffee filter butterfly Use bumpy pipe cleaners to come up with fluffy butterfly bodies and antennae.