I made this butterfly wall frieze to adorn the room of a friends new-born baby.
It is comprised of 21 individual butterflies cut out of brightly-coloured card. Each butterfly has been joined at the back with ribbon to form a long string.
The butterfly shapes are cut from a steel die-cut plate that was run through a Cuttlebug machine. The die-cut creates even shapes, clean cutting lines, and gives a professional finish. Because the metal die is very thin, I used the Cuttlebug cutting plates A, C, and a B top-plate.
This is the equipment used to make the wall frieze:
The butterfly die-cut I used is made by the company Memory Box, from the USA and is named “Oriel Butterfly”. The solid butterfly wings are 8.4 cm wide and 4.4 cm high. (This can be seen in the above photograph.)
The thin metal die-cut plate has two pieces to it. The butterfly wings are a large solid shape and the body/antennae is a thin separate piece, which needs to be attached to the main shape of the butterfly.
This is the front of the butterfly showing the thin body/antennae piece glued onto the larger butterfly/wing shape.
I came up with several ideas to join the individual butterflies together to form a long string. There were several factors to consider : I wanted a certain amount of movement between the butterflies so they could be strung across a wall in different ways, either straight across, or looped. An obvious way was to put holes in the wing-tips, but because the wing-tips are fine, the thin card could rip easily. That idea was discarded and quickly replaced with another as I also wanted the butterflies to look like they were seamlessly joined. After some experimentation, the method I used was this:
Cut a fine white gauzy ribbon into 1cm pieces.
Place small dots of PVA glue (because it dries clear) on the backs of the wing tips.
Place the tiny strips of ribbon onto the glue dots, press the ribbon into the glue, and allow glue to dry.
The following photographs show how the butterflies were glued together at the back:
Glued together at the back. The string of butterflies taking shape:
From the front the ribbon joiners are almost invisible, even when viewed from close-up :
Seamless linking. From a distance the joiners are totally invisible:
The butterflies were connected together just how I wanted, and from the front, they looked to be linked together invisibly. This way of linking them together meant they also had a small amount of movement between the butterflies so they were flexible enough to be strung around a room in a variety of ways:
Or large loops:
Or small loops:
Finishing touches. The string of butterflies folded up and ready to be packaged:
Packaged up. All finished and ready to be gifted:
I was very pleased with the end result, and even more pleased when a friend liked them so much she asked me to make some for her!
I spent a long time telling myself I didn’t need a Cuttlebug Machine, and this belief was made easier by the fact that I didn’t fully understand how to use one or what they actually did. Now I wish I had bought one earlier. I used to spend ages hand-cutting intricate details, but the Cuttlebug can press out these details in seconds and it can do beautiful embossing as well. My work-mate brought her machine into work to let me have a go and gave me detailed instructions on what plate thicknesses to use with different makes and thicknesses of dies. Thanks to my work-mate, TB, whose enthusiasm for crafting set in motion the need to purchase my own Cuttlebug machine!