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Butterfly Mobile by Emily Pitts 06/10/2009

As promised, here's a step by step tutorial how I made the butterfly mobile in the June gallery. I think you'll be surprised at just how easy it actually is.

1. Gather your necessary supplies. Those include the following:
liquid glue
punch/setter tool (I used the Crop-a-dile)
paper trimmer
wooden sticks (I used BBQ skewers)
string (I used tatting thread)
semi-heavy beads

2. Snip the ends off the skewers. You don't want to be poking an eye out!

3. Punch a few butterflies out, or whatever shape you'd like to use. I suggest you do quite a few at the beginning of the process, instead of as you are working through it. It shaved off an hour of time when I pre-punched this time around. For this project, I had 9 strings of butterflies, 13 on a string, but they were double sided, so that's 26 butterflies per string, so that would be 234 butterflies punched, give or take a couple. Fabulous way to use up scraps!

4. Cut 5 lengths of string and double knot them to your stick, making sure one's exactly in the middle of the stick and the two on the ends of the stick aren't all the way to the end. I used some 7Gypsies gaffer tape to hold my stick to the counter.

5. Start gluing the butterflies onto the string. I glued them together so the same side of the paper would show on back and front. I only put a small bead of glue down the center, you could totally glue it together, but I figured all I really needed was the butterfly to stay put on the string, but I'm so not a perfectionist!

6. Instead of attaching the butterflies all nice and straight, turn the string just a bit as you attach each one, you'll get butterflies turned all sorts of directions, it'll add character!

7. Add butterflies as desired to all five strings.

8. Now cut two strips of paper you'd like to use to cover the sticks. One should be just a bit wider than the other because when you glue them together, you'll have a stick between them. You can trim off any excess later. Put a big fat bead of glue down the center of one of the strips, center the stick on the strip. Now would be a good time to trim any stray string, or you could be like me and just tuck it into the glue... :)

9.Attach the two strips together, making sure the stick stays centered. Do any trimming you need to. I believe my sticks were about 8 inches long, so I ended up trimming off about 3 inches of paper. Don't trim right up to the stick ends. You'll need a bit of room for the hanging process.

10. Punch a small hole just above or just below the stick.

11. Insert second stick as shown (make sure your hole is centered, notice I had to repunch :) but that's OK, it will be covered up in a minute...)

12. Tie two more lengths of string to each side of the the stick. Make sure they are equidistant from what would be the center string (on the other stick). And make sure they don't go all the way to the edge!

13. Cut another strip of paper, then cut in half and fold the end edges over, applying a bunch of glue to the WRONG side of the paper.

14. Sandwich the stick between the two strips, making sure the stick is straight. You may want to lay the paper flat, like in the second photo. Either way is acceptable.

15. Once both pieces of paper are attached, you may have to add a bit more glue just to close the edges tight, you can trim everything at this point, just remember to leave a good 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch on the ends--for hanging purposes.

16. Here's where the gaffer tape comes in handy. You'll want to finish adding the butterflies to the empty strings. This is no easy task, unless you can convince someone to hold it for you :) The gaffer tape is low tack so it won't ruin your paper if you use it to hold the mobile to a surface while gluing butterflies on. Do one side, then turn to do the other. I've done this a number of ways, find what works best for you!

17. Once you've finished with all the strings of butterflies, add a bead to the end of each string, it will help them to not get all caught up and tangled, and adds a pretty little touch.

18. Punch a hole in each edge and add an eyelet, string more sting through and balance to make a holder. This part, I'd love you give you more direction, but you just have to go for it, play with it. The first one I did, I had to try a few different ways, it's a learn by doing thing...

And there you have it. Now I don't know if this would work without the stick, the paper might be strong enough to support the butterflies on its own, but my first thought was to use a stick. I hope to see lots of these beauties in the gallery over the next month or two! Honestly, this will take you a good 3-4 hours, but it's worth it, don't you think?

I think this would be super cute with other punched or die cut shapes, so don't feel tied to the butterfly theme!