Butterfly Suncatchers

How to Make Butterfly Suncatchers from Recycled Plastic Bottles


You can make beautiful butterfly suncatchers from old plastic pop (soda) bottles.

It’s quick, easy and can be done with 2-8 year olds. Older ones can use scissors and younger ones can do the colouring in.


Butterfly Suncatcher Materials

Butterfly Suncatcher Materials

Optional Extras:

  • A thin wooden stick or short garden cane to suspend the suncatchers.
  • Glitter.
  • PVA glue.


Step 1 – Butterfly template

If you are good at drawing then you can try to draw the butterfly yourself on any piece of paper.

Alternatively you can print out some butterfly templates by going to the website above and printing whichever butterflies take your fancy, or Google Butterfly Printable’s to search for a template that takes your fancy.

When you have your butterfly template ready then cut it out in a square ready to use as a template to draw on your bottle.


Step 2 – Cut out the plastic bottle

Butterfly Suncatcher Template


Cut out a rectangular section of a clear plastic bottle which is wide enough to fit your butterfly into.

You just have to poke a hole in the side of the bottle with the scissors and cut out a rectangular section that is the length of the straight part of the bottle and wide enough to fit your butterfly template.

If you have older kids that you can trust with scissors then perhaps you can start off the cutting for them and let them finish it.

This would be tricky for little ones so it’s best if an adult does the cutting out.


Step 3 – Drawing the butterfly on the bottle.

Butterfly Suncatcher Tip

Hold your butterfly template under the piece of plastic bottle you have just cut out and draw the outline on the plastic.

Wally Worms Tip

It is quite difficult to hold the butterfly template under the plastic and draw on the bottle at the same time.

Sandwich your butterfly template between another soda bottle and the piece of bottle that you have cut out.

This holds the butterfly templates securely so that you can easily trace the outline.

After you have traced the outline of the butterfly on the plastic you can add in more detail to the wings if you want to.

This gives some creative opportunities for the little ones to add their own patterns.

Step 4 – Colouring in the butterfly

Colouring a Butterfly Suncatcher

It is easier to colour the butterfly before you cut round the shape.

Colour in the butterfly using the coloured marker pens. Be sure to use permanent markers so the light will shine through the colours. Most paint is opaque and wont let the light through.

You can repeat this process as many times as you want to make as many butterflies as you feel you can make room for.

Step 5 – Cutting out the butterfly.

Bottle Butterfly Suncatchers

When you have finished colouring in you can cut around the outline of the butterfly with scissors. Again this probably needs to be done by an adult if you are working with young ones.

There are two ways of cutting out the shape. One is to do it in line with the length of the bottle and the other is to draw it across the bottle.

The two different ways of cutting out the shape will give you butterfly’s with different shaped wings which makes the end product more varied.

Bottle Butterfly Suncatchers

Step 6 – Bending the wings

Butterfly Suncatcher wing bending

If you bend the wings up either side of the body the butterfly will take on a lovely shape.


Step 7 – Threading a line through the butterfly

Butterfly Suncatcher threading a line

We have used nylon fishing line here to suspend each butterfly, but you could use sewing thread. The key point is that it is a lightweight thread or line.

Cut 8 to 12 inches of line and tie a simple knot in one end.

If you have made several butterflies and will be suspending them from a stick, then cut different lengths so the suncatchers don’t get in each other’s way.

Butterfly Suncatcher

Make a hole in the top of the butterfly body with a pin then thread your line through the hole from the under side.

Step 8 – Hang up your Butterfly Suncatchers

Butterfly Suncatcher

The finished butterflies can be tied to a stick or cane and suspended in a window that faces the sun or anywhere they would cheer you up. In your child’s room or in the kitchen (not over the cooker!).

If you live in the UK there might even be some days when the sunshine will light up your butterfly beautifully. 


Different things to try – get creative!

Add some PVA glue to your butterfly in spots around the edges. Sprinkle glitter over the glue and then tip off the excess glitter on to a piece of paper to reuse. When it is dry you will have a gorgeous glittery butterfly. 

Stick on some eyes – you can get multi-packs of stick on eyes from most craft shops to give the butterfly a cartoon like look.

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