How to Make a Butterfly Template: Easy DIY Paper Craft

As someone who does a lot of crafting, I'm always making my own templates so I can quickly repeat a design to make paper and fabric embellishments for handmade cards, scrapbooks, pennant banners and bunting, stencils, felt plush items and more.

Learn how to make a butterfly template yourself with this craft tutorial. Yes you can get paper cutting machines now that can cut templates for you. I do have both a Sizzix and an electronic cutter but it doesn't beat making your own unique cardboard templates from scratch. 

Butterflies are a favorite design element and here's how I make them with lots of different tips enclosed. They are pretty easy and fun to make. Get the paper and scissors ready!

Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated. 

Learn Quickly How to Make a Butterfly Template for Your Craft Projects: Loads of Great Tips Enclosed

Templates made from a thick card can last for years and years if stored properly and they don't take up much space. I've got some which date back past the year 2000 which I still use.

They're easy to store in a clear sleeved binder such as a scrapbook zipper binder (I like Crop in Style organizers) where you can organize your butterfly templates and also see them easily as you flip through.

1) Use a Cookie or Dough Cutter to Make Small Butterfly Templates Quickly

I enjoy buying things that I know have multiple uses. As soon as I saw these pretty butterfly cookie cutters, I knew I'd be doing a lot more than just baking with them.

You can get some brilliant cutters now and there are hundreds of Butterfly Cookie Cutters alone. If you've already got one you can use, great. If not then I'm also showing you another method below.

Tips on Choosing Cutters to Draw Around

If you're buying online, be extra aware of the sizing. I look for cutters that I know will make a good size to sit on a greeting card front, for a gift tag and to bake with.

Look for shapes that will be easy for you to cut round time and time again because those make templates that you will enjoy using more. If the cutter has lots of fiddly sections, it may not make a good choice for a template design.

NY Cake Butterfly Plastic CutterButterfly Cookie Cutter Set of 2, Biscuit, Pastry, Fondant Cutter

How to Make a Butterfly Template from a Cutter

This may sound odd but there are a few options here. You can simply draw around the cutter as it is, every time you need a butterfly design or pattern. If you don't tend to use the same pattern more than once, this makes the most sense.

However, if you know you're likely to use it a lot, you can draw around the cutter onto some thick cardstock or cardboard, cut that out and use that as your pattern template. The second option is the one I use.

You Can Alter the Design of the Cookie Cutter

Don't think you have to stick with the design of the cutter. You don't. You can use it to draw around and get the initial shape with but then you can easily alter this shape with your own additions. With the cutter above, you can see in the photo how I have altered the shape of the top butterfly wing to make it even longer and wider.

I drew half of the butterfly over a sheet of paper folded in half so that when it was cut, it would be exactly the same on both sides. Trace round onto thick card and cut to make your pattern template.

2) Butterflies are Easy to Draw Yourself: Here's How

You may well have done this technique as a child where you fold a piece of paper in half to draw out half of a design on one side and then cut out to get a perfectly matching shape on both sides of the fold.

This is such an easy way to create super looking butterflies. Even if you think you're the world's worst at drawing, I bet you can do this with ease.

Here's how this technique is done in case you need a reminder or you haven't used this method before. Follow the numbered steps in the photo.

How to Draw Your Own Butterfly Template

1) Fold a piece of paper in half. It helps if your paper is sized a bit bigger than the finished shape that you're looking for. First draw the middle of the insect's body along the fold, roughly in the middle of the paper. I tend to make the shape of a standard bracket as shown.

2) You need two wing shapes so draw one going up from roughly the center point of the butterfly body and one going down. You can use my drawing to give you an idea of the rough shapes or just look online at drawings and photos of this insect to get ideas.

3) Don't try to be perfect. I work over the lines of the wings until I get them into shapes that I really like the look of. You can see how I altered the wings until I was happy.

4) With the paper still folded, cut out the design. You'll reveal a perfect butterfly. You can now trace around this onto some sturdy cardboard to make a template to re-use again and again. Or, if you don't like it, just start over.

3) Find a Butterfly Design to Print Out and Use as a DIY Template

I love to draw my own designs and patterns to use in my crafting because that way I can get exactly what I'm looking for to work with a particular project. But there are often free versions online for you if you are happy to sift through until you find something suitable for your needs.

The other option is to use a site like which has images that you can freely use. There are photos on there are well as clip art. Search for butterflies, find a picture you like, download it to your computer and print out to a rough size that you want.

You can draw around this picture with a marker pen to get the outline you want for making your own template. Just transfer to a thick card and cut.

If there are certain themes you use a lot with the crafts that you do, whether it's butterflies, flowers, leaves, hearts or some other shape, you might want to consider making your own templates that can be used over and over again for all kinds of projects. I hope you've enjoyed reading my craftymarie article today, thanks for your visit. I look forward to hearing about your favorite projects.

Related Content You Should Also Love:

Pretty Butterfly Embellishments for Card Making and Crafts

More Butterfly Crafts to Enjoy

More on Paper Crafts

Page Last Updated:


  1. Thanks for the tutorial! Now I need to find a cookie cutter.

  2. Hope you find a really nice one. I'm lucky to have a local shop that keep a lot in stock.


Post a Comment

CraftyMarie is a craft themed website by Marie Williams Johnstone. I love to craft in the winter and garden in the summer. I make handmade cards, papercrafts, crochet and seasonal crafts. I enjoy many of the more traditional crafts and hobbies including sewing, embroidery and working with felt and fabric. Thanks for leaving me a comment. Comments do not show up until I approve them. Marie

Articles are accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.