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Vintage Butterfly Magnets

Turn boring brass butterflies into works of art using wallpaper. These Vintage Butterfly Magnets look just like the ones your grandma loved. Crafts made from recycled materials allow you to turn old forgotten items into something unexpected. If you're looking for recycled craft ideas but don't want to dip into your discards, this is the perfect project. In fact, a simple trick to your attic can lead to a creative explosion. If you don't have butterflies on hand, pick up a few from a thrift store. You can even branch out and use another brass object - let your imagination be your guide.

Primary TechniqueGreen Crafting

Intermediate

Materials:

  • Brass butterflies
  • Mod Podge (matte)
  • Vintage wallpaper, sheet music, wrapping paper, or scrapbook paper of your choice
  • Sponge brush or paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Super strong magnets (at the craft stores you can find them in a package of 8)
  • E-6000 glue
  • Spray paint (optional)

 

Instructions:

  1. To prepare your butterflies, take some wire cutters and snip them off the branch if they are attached to one.  If your butterlfies have a detachable body, like mine, gently bend the metal tabs and remove the body.
     
  2. I like to spray paint the undersides to give them a finished look.  If you wish to paint your butterflies, coat the undersides and let dry.
     
  3. Lay the butterfly and the little piece you removed from the body on your paper of choice, and trace around them with a sharp pencil.


     
  4. Cut out your paper.  I like to end up with three separate pieces, so when cutting the paper, I cut the wings apart at the juncture where they attach to the body.  There might be some guess work involved here, because you won't be able to trace completely around the wings.
     
  5. Coat the back of the paper with Mod Podge, and apply the paper to your brass pieces.


     
  6. Smooth the paper with your fingers.  Once the paper is firmly attached, topcoat with Mod Podge.


     
  7. Once dry, you can snip the edges with scissors if there is any paper overhang.  An emery board can also be used if you want very smooth edges.
     
  8. Re-attach the body to the wings, then flip over and glue a magnet to the underside.  A small glob of E-6000 will create a strong bond.  Leave the butterflies to dry overnight.

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We used to stick the brass butterflies all over the walls and decorate our home with them that way. I never thought about the possibilities of covering them with something to get a whole new design. I love that you can use fabric, vinyl, wallpaper, and many other mediums. We did something once with glue and pieces of paper bags that would give these butterflies a more weathered look that would fit into my style perfectly.

This craft gave me the idea to help my preschoolers in my home daycare make butterfly magnets for Mother's Day. I'll let them punch out paper butterflies on scrapbooking paper and then we'll stick a piece of adhesive backed magnet on the back.

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