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Butterfly Birthday: DIY Party Garland and Floating Decor

August 31, 2011

Hold on to your butterfly wing, I’ve got a few more tips on how to decorate a birthday party for a little one! Day 2 of the discussion includes how I made garland and floating displays for the party.

Before any of this started, I knew I wanted to use a simple, consistent butterfly design throughout. I had drawn quite a few butterflies on a sketch pad to find the right look. I finally picked the image to use, and I drew half of it on a sheet of heavy cardstock. I then cut it out, folded it and cut around it on the other side, so that the butterfly was completely even and symmetrical. You can see my template below in brown.

I used this template as much as possible in two different sizes. I actually folded the colored paper in half so that the top of a larger butterfly would be on a fold, and then I cut out as many smaller butterflies as I could in the remaining space on the sheet. Thanks to my friends Libby and Jen who enjoyed wine (I enjoyed water!) and the movie “The Holiday” one Saturday night, together we cut out alllllll of those pretty butterflies. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Side note… in a project  like this — one that is large-scale and time-intensive — I knew I personally needed a deadline, one that would help me along so that I wasn’t doing everything last minute (I don’t want a repeat of Christmas 2010!).  I knew the girls were coming over to hang out with me on Saturday night, and this meant extra help at the most laborious time. So, it made me push through and create a template. If it had not been for their help, this project would have been so much more frustrating. (Extra thank you to Jen and Libby!!!)

Back to the garland… once we had the butterflies cut out, it was easy to put them on some heavy yarn and glue the bodies together. I used YES paste which I looooove (thanks, Mom) and stuck them on the bright blue yarn that I had already. The yarn was not necessarily my first choice, but I was having a hard time figuring out how the butterflies would stay put, especially if I used fishing line (which you’ll see I used a lot later on). I tested out a couple other ideas (ribbon, rafia, thread) but they all had problems of length, stickability, or durability. I finally settled on the wool yarn and it worked like a dream.

As for the flying butterflies, I chose to whip out my old sewing skills and use a very fat needle to thread fishing line through a hole in the middle of the butterfly. Just like you would when sewing a button, for example, I tied a knot at the end of the fishing line and poked the needle through the body of the butterfly. Worked perfectly.


I then took the other end of the line and tied it to a wooden stick I had at home. (Thankfully, I had about 8-10 sticks from other projects.) I attached 5-6 dangling butterflies at varying lengths to each stick. Then, on the day of the party, I put the stick on each windowsill of the party room. It looks small in this picture, but for all the windows to have them ended up being super fun.

Finally (and I don’t have a good picture of this), I took large purple, pink and blue (party color scheme) poster boards and cut out very large butterflies using my original template.  I hung each from a ceiling fan’s light bulbs using fishing line and turned the fans on low. It looked like the large paper butterflies were flying in the wind! It was awesome.

Overall, I was so happy to do this project for my cute niece Olivia for her first birthday. I love lending my time as gifts for others, and this one was such a fun present to work on!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    August 31, 2011 4:53 pm

    You are so creative, Kate. You haven’t mentioned Olivia’s reaction to all the flying butterflies. What did she do when she walked in the room the first time? What were other responses? I’ll bet they were in awe.

  2. Stu permalink
    August 31, 2011 5:44 pm

    Well, Livie (who’s not yet walking) was way more interested in all of the people than the decorations, which she probably didn’t even see.

    Everyone else loved all of Kate’s handiwork, though.

  3. Jan permalink
    September 1, 2011 10:44 pm

    Ahhhhh! Love LOve LOVe LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Casey Robert permalink
    September 6, 2011 1:13 pm

    I love love love butterflies for a little girl! I did a “flowers & butterflies” theme for Lauren’s first birthday as well. Of course, that was last year, but I still love the theme, and I’d totally repeat it if she ever gave me the chance! I’ll have to dig up some pics and send them your way – I also did giant butterflies “landing” on things, and made a wreath for the door – I even decorated special curtains! Overboard? Maybe…


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