Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Iridescent Butterfly–Part 3

Since my last post, I have had a search online, and have sourced some lovely fine copper wire covered with cotton - it is .45 mm diameter, so compared with my DIY wrapped wire which measures approximately .9 mm, it should be a lot better. What's more, it's a natural, off white colour and I can colour it how I want.

Cotton-Covered Copper Wire point 45 mm 27-7-11

I got it from in case anyone is interested. Hopefully my future projects will have a slightly less chunky look! (Not sure if this present butterfly would actually manage to get airborne...)

After completing the smaller pair of wings, I was now ready to assemble the butterfly.

16 Mock-up of Butterfly

I deliberately used nice long pieces of wire for the main outline of the wing in each case, to give me more to play with during the assembly stage – any excess could easily be cut off.

To make the body of the butterfly, I took a piece of uncovered wire and threaded a small bead onto it. I then doubled the wire over so that the bead was at the folded end, and twisted the ends together a couple of times.

17 Beaded Body

The two ends were then threaded through a series of beads to form the body, and the wires emerging from the head end were bend outwards to form the antennae.

I stripped off the florist’s tape from the long pieces of wire from each wing, and twisted each one a couple of times around the body to anchor it in place. You could shape the ends to form two pairs of legs, and add another length of wire, doubled over in the middle, to form the third set of legs; you would add a tiny loop at each end to form a foot, to complete the butterfly. This would make a nice finish, but in this case I’ve decided to leave out the legs and simply stick the butterfly to my project, as there will not be much room in the frame, and the legs wouldn’t be seen anyway, so I trimmed off the long ends.

After wrapping the wires around the body, the whole thing was far too mobile, and the wings were twisting all over the place, so after trimming the wires short, I ran a little Pinflair glue along the underside of the body, squashing it between the beads to anchor everything, and when it was dry, it was fine. I also superglued the second pair of wings along their edges, underneath the larger wings, to hold them in place.

When I have made wire butterflies in the past, I have looped the ends of the antennae around a tiny bead with my jewellery pliers, but in this case, I decided to repeat the Gallery Glass technique on their tips – just a tiny piece of cellophane, decorated as for the wings. There is no florist’s tape on this wire, and I was hoping that the Gallery Glass will stick OK; the butterfly will be enclosed within the frame so it won’t be subject to any wear and tear, so hopefully it will be OK.

18 Antennae Taped Down Ready for Decorating

The above picture shows the antennae bent into shape, and sellotaped down temporarily onto a piece of paper to anchor them in place, nice and flat against the cellophane. The butterfly needed a bit more support to keep the antennae flat, and in the next picture, you can see it propped up with scraps of mounting board, and I’ve also put some pieces under the cellophane to press it up against the wires. You can see the wet Gallery Glass on the antenna tips, still milky in appearance.

19 Antennae with Wet Gallery Glass

During the drying process, the Gallery Glass did seem to be slipping off the wires a bit, so I scooped it back with a stylus several times, until the Gallery Glass started to set, and after that it seemed to hold OK. I think this goes to prove that using covered wire is definitely better.

After the Gallery Glass had dried and become completely transparent, I removed the sellotape and mounting board props, and trimmed away the excess cellophane from around the wires, and painted and glittered them as I did with the wings. Here is the completed butterfly.

20 Finished Butterfly

Here is a detail of the beaded body, showing the wing attachments. You can see the tiny bead at the tip, with the twisted wire.

21 Beaded Body and Wing Attachments

The next picture is a detail of the finished antennae.

22 Antennae

Finally, here is a picture of the butterfly on a piece of silver mirror board, showing the undersides of the wings reflected; this is how the butterfly will be on the shadow box project, but it will be on a piece of acetate away from the reflective surface so that more of the underside should be visible.

23 Finished Butterfly on Mirrored Background

Please see my upcoming blog posts on our nephew’s wedding present to see how I use this butterfly.

I think this technique produces simply gorgeous results, and I’m so grateful to GardenOfImagination for her excellent 8-part Youtube tutorial on the subject – whether you’re into fairies or not, most people love butterflies! You could also use it to make flower petals, leaves, fish, mobiles, abstract shapes… wherever your imagination leads you!


  1. Oh my, but that butterfly is GORGEOUS!!! I adore the iridescent blues you've used, my all time favourite colour. Keep up the good work!! xx

  2. Holy Moly! These look great. They remind a little of those faux fairies' wings. The whole effect is terrific.


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