‘Tie-Dye’ Butterfly

It’s spring! Time for a butterfly art project. How about a lesson that delivers perfect symmetry, color and fun in only one 40-minute session?


  • round (basket) coffee filter paper, white (available at the dollar store)
  • Sharpies
  • watercolor markers (we used Crayolas)
  • pencils
  • spray bottle of water


  1. flatten coffee filter
  2. fold filter in half.
  3. use sharpie to draw 1/2 a butterfly on the folded paper.
  4. Trace over all the Sharpie lines again (this helps transfer ink to the other half of the filter paper).
  5. Open the paper. 
  6. Retrace all the faint lines with Sharpie.
  7. Re-fold the paper into its original position.
  8. Color the folded paper using watercolor markers. We used warm and neutral colors for the butterfly, and cool colors for a band around the edge of the paper.
  9. Place folded filter paper on drying rack, colored side facing up.
  10. Spray with water. I try to saturate the paper (note: put some newspaper on the floor under your drying rack to catch the colored drips).
  11. Let dry before removing from rack.

I love the faux tie-dye effect created by the diffused color. I also love the round format. Bonus: coffee filters are available at the dollar store! So this project costs a couple of cents.

Second graders use Sharpie and crayola marker to make symmetric butterflies. Allow one 40 minute session.

Inspiration for the Sharpie/coffee filter/watercolor marker method goes to Kati Oetken at ARTASTIC!

More coffee filter art experiments on this post.

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3 thoughts on “‘Tie-Dye’ Butterfly

    • Hi Miss
      This is the year of the coffee filter! I still have two more projects to post. Stay tuned!

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