Butterfly Paintings — Lessons in Symmetry

Like most 5 year old girls, Emily adores butterflies. Today we painted butterflies and I introduced the concept of symmetry. To make your own butterfly painting, start with a sheet of paper, and fold it in half. 

Draw half of a butterfly, as shown. I used watercolor markers (just $2.50 for a pack of 8 at Blick Art Store!), but oil pastels work really well for this part. Fold the paper in half and press down firmly to make an imprint on the other side of the paper. Trace the outline, so you now have a full butterfly that is perfectly symmetrical.
Invite your child to paint on one side of the butterfly. A bingo marker works very well for this! 
Fold again and press firmly one more time. The big reveal……..
I would have stopped here, but Emily asked to fill in the rest of the butterfly with watercolor markers. I didn’t stop her.
Happy painting!


  1. A beautiful job! You and your daughter have a lot of talent.

  2. Clemencia says

    thanks so much for the idea, I have to try this with my daughter 🙂

  3. Jennifer says

    Neat idea…we are very into butterflies & painting around here, so what a fun way to introduce a new concept! Thanks!

  4. Jennifer says

    I’ve never heard of watercolor markers. Your daughter made a beautiful picture with them. I will have to find some of these markers for myself.

  5. @ Ivy — Thank you, that is so sweet!

    @ Clemencia — You’re welcome, and I would love to hear about it. I bet she would love it!

    @ Jennifer — You’re welcome! Have fun!!

    @ Jennifer — I had never seen them either, but I think they work better than watercolor pencils and they were very affordable. They were with the kids art stuff at Blick Art Supply. I had fun with them too!

  6. Great post and beautiful butterflies!! This will be our project today!! Loved it!

  7. Sharinskishe says

    Wonderful idea~ good for babysitting too. I will have to show this to my daughter who is 11 and beginning to babysit. She’s taken her babysitting class and CPR. Now she needs to build up a creative fun kit for the kids to enjoy.

    Thanks for a wonderful idea.

  8. love this hands on art lesson that also easily teaches math