Painted tissue butteflies inspired by Eric Carle

Today I wanted to share a fun art project that I use almost every spring with my students.  We create painted tissue butterflies inspired by Eric Carle and his techniques.  Eric Carle is an illustrator, and writer of children's books, including some of my favorites The very hungry caterpillar and brown bear, brown bear.

Spring Art lesson for elementary paint butterflies to make a craft inspired by Eric Carle techniques.

Materials you will need:

  • newspaper
  • tissue paper
  • stapler
  • white heavy paper (80 lbs works well)
  • tempera washable paint
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • googly eyes (optional)

So to create our butterflies I prepared yellow tissue paper by stapling each page onto a scrap piece of newspaper.  This keeps the tissue paper from bunching up and curling as well as from sticking to the paintbrush or table. (I've learned this the hard way!) You will need at least 3 pages for each student.  As they will love the process once they get started.  You could also achieve a similar effect by painting onto regular paper instead of tissue but I like to use tissue paper because Eric Carle uses tissue and I just like the look of it better.  It's not as thick and almost has a transparent feel to it.

Eric Carle butterflies staple the tissue

Next I give the kids their palettes.  You can add whatever colors you like.  For the project pictured I wanted yellow and purple butterflies so that is why I gave them only those colors.

Eric Carle butterflies paint palette

When it is time to paint the kids mix up different shades and tints of colors and paint their tissue papers.  Precision is definitely not needed for this part of the activity.  The kids will swirl, smash, dab, and glob!  They love to mix new colors and delight at the new colors they created!  I will even bring out some sponges for stamping and we use the back of our paint brush to draw designs in the wet paint, to create a more textured look.  I do have to remind them at times to stop as too much painting will result in rips and tears of the tissue.  But if that happens it is really no big deal as we are cutting it all up anyways.

Eric Carle butterflies painted tissue paper

The next day, after the paint has dried, we pile all the tissue in one community pile.  We then draw shapes onto the back of the newspaper and the kiddos cut out the pieces, and then slowly peel the tissue away from the newspaper.  We then glue the tissue down onto white paper add googly eyes and there we have it, beautiful butterflies!  

Eric Carle Butterfly craft for kids

  We usually have a ton of painted tissue leftover.  So the next class, I usually let the kids create their own spring pictures and they always keep themselves busy by creating all kinds of spring flowers, birds, and bugs!

Small Hands Creating Hope

Recently the kiddos and I participated in a collaborative project called Small hands creating HOPE charity project.  This project was inspired by an amazing blogger named Mama Smiles who is celebrating 30 years of life since being diagnosed with cancer.  The project aims to not only bring Hope to those battling cancer but also to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

43 bloggers came together and we each contributed a craft or gift made by kids that could be given to those facing cancer.  These crafts were beautifully put together into a book which is now available for purchase.  For a minimum donation of $15 you will receive a link to download the ebook, packed with crafts children (or adults!) can make to inspire hope. The email will also include a link to purchase paper copies of the book for an additional $10.52.

Small hands creating HOPE charity project book
Here is a little sneak peek into the book.

Themes used by many of the bloggers of the small hands creating hope project were the colors purple and yellow and butterflies.  So for our contribution I decided to add our Eric Carle inspired Butterflies!

There are so many fabulous crafts included in this book and I encourage you all, if you can, to make a donation and download this book.

Donate to the American Cancer Society

If you donate but do not receive an email for any reason, or if you have trouble with the download, you can email smallhandsproject at gmail dot com for help.

Please stop by and visit my fellow participating bloggers who have donated their craft for this project.  Many of the bloggers have shared their own personal stories of how cancer has touched their lives.

14 May Mama Smiles
15 May
Artsy Craftsy Mom
           Rainbows Within Reach
16 May
B. Inspired, Mama!
17 May
Rainy Day Mum
           Imagination Soup
18 May
Inspiration Laboratories
19 May
Experimenting Mom
20 May Mama Mia’s Heart2Heart 

21 May NurtureStore   
           Mama Smiles
22 May
Living Montessori Now
23 May
Mess for Less
24 May
Having Fun at Home and CraftoArt
25 May 
Outlaw Mom
26 May
Angelique Felix and Sense of Wonder
27 May
Sun Hats and Wellie Boots
28 May
Duck Duck Octopus
29 May
Smiling like Sunshine
30 May
Mommy with Selective Memory
31 May
One Perfect Day
1 June
The Educators’ Spin On It
2 June
Kids Stuff World
3 June
Rainy Day Mum
4 June
Teach Preschool
5 June
Dirt and Boogers
6 June
Creative Connections for Kids and The Golden Gleam
7 June
Montessori Tidbits
8 June
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
9 June
The Iowa Farmer’s Wife
10 June
Scribble Doodle and Draw
11 June
Learn with Play
12 June
Kitchen Counter Chronicles
13 June
CRAYON Freckles
14 June Glittering Muffins
15 June
Wise Owl Factory
16 June
Crafty Maa
18 June
Lessons Learnt Journal
20 June Growing a Jeweled Rose
21 June Growing Play
23 June JDaniel4′s Mom

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  1. I love your Eric Carle inspired butterfly! Thank you so much for being part of this project!

    1. Thanks MaryAnne. I so glad you inspired us to do this project the kiddos had so much fun and it is a wonderful cause!

  2. Thank you for the extra tips which will make this project easier to do, sharing this idea, and participating in the SMALL HANDS CREATING HOPE project. Carolyn

  3. These turned out so cute, and I love the literacy connection! This week’s theme for the Discover and Explore linky is butterflies. I’d love for you to come share this idea if you are interested.

    1. So glad you stopped by to link up. Thanks for sharing your idea!


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