Many children enjoy making their own jewellery and this pretty butterfly brooch is easy to craft for older ones - both for those who have some sewing experience and complete beginners. Other simple shapes such as flowers, hearts and even geometric shapes can be substituted if they’re more to your liking – it’s incredible how attractive a basic triangle or circle can be when they’re decorated in this way.
Felt has been used as it’s colourful, strong, doesn’t fray and is very easy for little fingers to work with. Choose a few pieces in contrasting colours, along with matching embroidery cotton and a few beads or sequins to add some bling, and you’re ready to go.
This activity requires a good level of eye-hand coordination so it won’t be suitable for very young children. Similarly, since the children will be working with sharp scissors and needles some maturity is required so they don’t hurt themselves and others. Finally, small items such as beads can present a choking hazard so be sure to supervise the children who are participating very carefully.
Time: An hour or two, depending on the age and developmental of the children
Age: Over 10's, 5 - 10 (if supervised)
Felt in two or three different colours
Embroidery cotton in contrasting colours
A medium-sized needle, or one that would be suitable for the age and experience of the child sewing
Sequins, beads or sew-on jewels to adorn your butterfly
Colourful pipe cleaners for the butterfly’s antennae
Badge pin (available at most craft stores or online)
Using the picture below as a guide, draw a simple butterfly template for your badge. If you are a competent drawer, perhaps you’d like to design your own. Alternatively, you could do an online search for ‘small butterfly templates to print’ and use one of these as a guide. The best size for a child’s badge is approximately 10cm across and 8cm high, although a smaller size may be suitable for older children who have fully mastered their fine motor skills.
Transfer your butterfly pattern onto a piece of felt and cut out. If the template is simple, older children should be quite competent to cut out their own butterfly. However, a lot of adult help will be required if younger kids are doing the activity.
Cut out another, slightly smaller, butterfly shape in a contrasting coloured piece of felt. Alternatively, a few smaller shapes such as circles, ovals, triangles or hearts could be used to add some extra visual interest.
Thread a needle with some bright-coloured embroidery cotton, and tie a knot at the end. After placing the smaller butterfly or the shapes on top of the larger butterfly, start to sew the pieces together, using a basic running stitch. This simple stitch is created by inserting the needle into the fabric and bringing it out again. This process is repeated over and over again, creating a simple uniform stitch that looks the same on either side of the fabric. If possible, the stiches should be small in size as this will look most attractive on the finished brooch. Before the children begin to sew they should check that their knot is strong and stich over a few times to ensure that it’s properly secured in the fabric. Adult help may be required with this.
When the felt pieces have been sewn together, you can sew on some beads, sequins or other embellishments for extra decoration. I usually like to sew a long teardrop-shaped bead or a few smaller ones in various sizes along the centre, for the butterfly’s body. A larger bead is good for its head. If desired, beads and sequins can also be sewn in other places.
For the butterfly’s antennae, cut a piece of pipe cleaner to a suitable length (we cut ours to around 25cm) and twist it in the way shown in the photo below. This can then be sewn onto the butterfly.
Finally, take the badge pin and sew it securely onto the back of the butterfly. Choose the place where it will be sewn carefully (usually closer to the top is best) as if it’s further down, the butterfly’s wings may flop, spoiling the effect.