diy: colorful butterfly frames

9 framed pieces cost me $17 to make, but you could make just 1 for as little as $1.40. Pretty art for pretty cheap….ready?

1. Go to Michaels and get a bunch of ArtMinds Laser Cut Frames for $0.99 each. I found them in the same aisle as the unfinished wooden letters, bird houses and jewelry boxes and they come in square, rectangular, oval, heart-shaped, and both small and large decorative scroll-y ones. None of the frames come with glass so they are open in the front which gave me the idea to make something that popped out of them.

Bottom layer:

2. Cut something colorful for your bottom layer to the size and shape of the window in the frame. I used leftover paper from my butterfly wall, but you could also use fabric, colored post-its, construction paper, or maybe decorate a piece of paper with glitter, markers, or perhaps the mac n cheese stuck to the wall from last night’s dinner. The world is your oyster, my friends. Instead of measuring, I used the cardboard insert that came with the frame as a template.

Top layer:

3. Decide on a shape and print it out or trace it onto white paper making sure it will fit in the frame.

And because sharing is caring, here are my templates in Word for the 3 different Michael’s frames that I used (frame outline and butterflies included):

4. Cut your shape, though you don’t want to cut it completely out, leave it attached to the white paper square somewhere somehow. For mine, instead of cutting out a full butterfly, I only cut the 2 wings and kept it attached at the neck and the butt.

I used a box cutter because I don’t own an x-acto knife and the paper kept getting soggy when I tried using my teeth. It worked much better.

Frames (in hindsight, spray painting them would have been MUCH faster):

5. Prime:

6. Paint: I used cheapo brushes I found at Michaels and Craftsmart acrylic paint ($0.41 for a 2 oz bottle).

Colors in the picture above from top left: Spearmint, Hot Pink, Fuchsia, Bright Yellow, and Aqua (although they look a little different in person). P.S. The fuchsia SUCKED with coverage and streakiness and I gave up after the 5th coat.

7. Get husband drunk and make him do the second coat.

8. Figure out your layout ahead of time so you know what side of the frame to attach the hardware to.


8. The frames come with these clear plastic hooks they used to hang them in the store display that you could technically use to hang with…

But I wasn’t a big fan and instead felt the need to maim my frames with a staple remover and brute force.

No hardware means you have to decide on a hanging plan. I was originally going to drill a hole in the top corners of each and string ribbons through them, but I decided to go the easier sawtooth hanger route (6 pack for $1.99 at the hardware store). Just tap in a few nails and you’re good to go.

Note: These were the smallest I could find at my local hardware store and didn’t feel like running around looking for smaller ones. The problem is that the little nails are longer than the frames are thick, so I didn’t hammer the nails all the way flat for fear of them poking through the front.

Yep, I went too far anyway.

Now back to your paper goods….

9. Loosely fold your shape out. Make sure to put the side that had the original print-out face down so you won’t see any ink once it’s hung.

10. Stuff your frames and you’re ready to hang!

  • $9 for 9 frames
  • $2.05 for 5 bottles of paint
  • $3.98 for 2 pkgs of sawtooth hangers
  • $2 for pkg of 6 paint brushes
  • Grand total for 9 = $17.03 + tax

And if you decide to use the plastic loop attached to the frames to hang, and paper and a paint brush you may already have, each one of these will cost you a whopping $1.40 to make. Now that is the kind of art I like.



Filed under crafts, DIY

3 responses to “diy: colorful butterfly frames

  1. These are so adorable! I love the colorful paper peeking out under the butterfly wings!

  2. Michael

    What beautiful frames! Amazing creativity, I love them all.

  3. Pingback: diy: more easy wall art for under $20 | rabit stew

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