Create colorful 3D butterfly art with your cutting machine that can be displayed indoors or outdoors! These butterflies are made from binder dividers! A fun material to use that is both inexpensive and waterproof!
My mission to fill our yard with handmade artwork continues! This 3D butterfly art is one of my favorite new additions. A few years ago, I created butterflies for my fence using cardboard, tin foil and paint. Believe it or not, those butterflies lasted 5 summers – FIVE! I think that’s pretty amazing considering they were out in the rain, sun and wind every day for five summers. It was eventually time to retire those butterflies but I really missed them! SO, I created new butterflies for my fence – this time using my Cricut cutting machine.
The new butterflies are made using binder dividers. Binder dividers are a great material for this project because they are thin enough to cut on my machine but also waterproof plastic that can be outside!
I used a cut file I found in Cricut Design Space and cut each butterfly from two binder dividers layering them together.
These butterflies have been hanging up outside for about a month now. They are attached to a fence in our garden and are in the direct sun all day with zero shelter from the rain. So far they are holding up well. **Update: After spending the entire summer outside they held up pretty well but did lose a few gemstones that are in the center of the butterflies. If I were to do these again I’d consider skipping those or finding a better adhesive. The binder dividers also faded a bit in the sun around the 3rd month. If your butterflies will be placed in a sheltered area outside – under a roof or even under trees, they shouldn’t fade as much as mine did in the full sun. We enjoyed them all summer long and loved how they looked on our fence.
It is important to note these these butterflies will not hold up for years outdoors but would be perfect garden art for one summer, party decor for a special event or party, or fun wall decor indoors or in a sheltered location.
3D Butterfly Art
- Cut file – I used “Small Butterfly #MA7A34AB” from Cricut Design Space
- Cutting machine
- Binder dividers! I purchased four packages of these Avery Big Tab Durable Plastic Dividers
- Glass gems – I used these wrapping paper glass gems from Michaels
- Hot glue
- Gorilla waterproof glue
Step By Step Tutorial
Step One: Cut the butterflies out using a cutting machine.
I cut my butterflies out using my Cricut Explore. The cut file I used was available in Cricut Design Space. You may need to do a small test to figure out what setting to use. It will depend on how thick your binder dividers are. I used the poster board setting and it worked really well. The binder dividers were about 8.5″ x 11″ and I made my butterflies as large as I could.
Step Two: Adhere the two layers of butterflies together.
Once you have all of the butterflies cut, adhere the two layers together using hot glue or Gorilla glue. I tried both and ended up using hot glue because I was working on this craft inside. I try to use the Gorilla glue outside when possible. In the picture below you can see I used adhesive down the center of the butterflies and at just a few points on their wings. If I do this craft again, I would have used glue around the entire perimeter to better keep the layers together.
Step Three: Add glass gems to the body of the butterflies.
This step is optional but so fun! Add colored gem stones down the center of the butterflies. My butterflies had room for four stones and I used Gorilla glue to adhere them. I did have a few stones fall off while I was hanging my butterflies up. Personally, I think the butterflies look awesome with or without them so I wasn’t too concerned. I would like to try adding them back on and maybe trying a different glue. The waterproof gorilla glue expands as it dries so it pushes the gems around a big.
If you plan to hang them on a fence as I did, I recommend punching the holes before gluing the gems on. So check out Step Four! If hanging them inside do not punch holes.
Step Four: Hang the butterflies up!
If you are planning to hang the butterflies up inside, you could use wall putty or command strips. They are so light weight the poster ones would probably work!
To hang the butterflies outside on our fence, I punched two holes on either side of the butterfly body. I used wire and wrapped the wire around each fence post.
Regardless of whether you are hanging your butterflies indoors or outdoors, try to hang the butterflies by their body and keep the wings free. This will create a 3D art display.
Positioning the butterflies always takes me a bit of time. It helps to use tape to hold them in place while I run to the back side of the fence to twist the wires together.
My 3d butterfly art is complete!! I’m excited to have butterflies back in our garden and I’m excited with this new look. The colors are bright and vibrant. The binder dividers are slightly translucent and look really neat when the light hits them! The blue color blends into the fence a little more than I thought it would. But that’s okay! I think they add a lot of whimsy to this fence.
Below you can see the butterflies again after about three weeks of hanging on our fence. They are holding up pretty well so far, especially since this picture was taken the day after a big rain storm! **Update: As I mentioned before, these butterflies will NOT last years outdoors unsheltered. They are perfect for one summer or for a display for an event or party. They may last longer sheltered or of course indoors. They brought us a lot of joy last summer and are a fun craft to do. Things I would do differently – use more adhesive around the entire butterfly to hold the two layers together and find a different adhesive for the gemstones, or skip them altogether. :)
Yay garden art! Since we are home way more than normal this summer, I’ve really enjoyed crafting new art projects for our yard. Check out my other fun DIY craft tutorials that are perfect for decorating your yard or garden.