Wooden Butterfly Figurine

The last few weeks at work have been hard on me.  With the world adjusting to life in what seems like an endless pandemic, everyone seems stressed.  Working in healthcare has its challenges, but a particularly tough patient had me in tears recently.  It’s funny (or not so funny) how one person can ruin your day.  The anger consumed me so bad that I lost a little bit of my spark.   I have some larger craft projects that I hope to share with you soon, but this weekend I wanted to do a simple project I had on the back burner for a while.  I was glad I took it off the shelf.  I needed to relax and get back into crafting to find my light again.

Henrietta

One thing that brought me joy this August was raising a Monarch caterpillar. Every summer, my sister searches my mother’s milkweed patch for signs of Monarch Butterfly eggs. Monarchs lay their eggs on the under-side of milkweed leaves. Tearing the leaf from the plant, she places them in a jar to hatch. This year, she found several and gave me one to take home. I was terrified to be in charge of this tiny creature, but eager to try. After a couple days, the small white egg hatched and a tiny dark caterpillar emerged.

Baby Henrietta

Every day on my way home from work I stopped at a nearby soccer field.  I knew from when my daughter played soccer years before that this field had lots of milkweed.  I picked the fattest leaf I could find and placed it in the jar.  Slowly, to my great relief, the caterpillar grew and she began to show the yellow and black stripes of a Monarch caterpillar.

We named our little caterpillar Henry/Henrietta, since we weren’t sure if it was a male or a female. As the days went on, everyone in the family took turns watching little Henrietta grow. Then, the morning came when she left her milkweed leaves behind and began to crawl to the top of the enclosure. After nearly two weeks caring for her, it was a little sad to see her hang upside down from the top of the cage, readying her body for a massive transformation. But I knew going into this that she wasn’t mine to keep. I left for work that morning and my daughter texted me a couple hours into my shift. Henrietta was a bright, green chrysalis.

Every morning, instead of searching for milkweed, we checked her enclosure for signs she was ready to hatch.  Finally, after eleven days, the chrysalis turned translucent and her black and orange wings were visible on a sunny, but terribly windy, morning.  Once she was fully emerged, her wings told us she was a female butterfly.  Later that day she finally found the courage to fly into the windy afternoon.  Henrietta clung to a hydrangea leaf as the wind battered her, but finally, she flew out of my view and into the world.

I couldn’t think of a better craft than to make a sparkly butterfly figurine for my shelf. Whenever I go to a craft store, I like to explore their wooden craft section for just this purpose. I picked up the butterfly carving a few months ago. With the Monarch migration in full swing, it’s my way to honor their beautiful wings. It doesn’t hurt that since their wings are black and orange, it fits in perfectly with the Fall.

Supplies: Black, orange and white acrylic paint. Diamond Dotz used: 8002 White, 8001 Black and 8333 Dark Orange. You will also need an embroidery pen and wax to apply the Diamond Dotz.

To start, I painted the figure. You can see from the picture that the piece had designs carved into the wood, but I ignored them. You can go the further step of filling the lines with wood fill to make the wood smooth, but since I was planning to cover the piece in Diamond Dotz I didn’t bother.

Using a picture of a Monarch Butterfly as my guide, I drew the patterns of the wings with a pencil. To make the wings as identical as I could, I used a piece of tissue paper and traced the pattern on one side of the wing. Carefully, so as not to rip the tissue paper, I traced the pattern on both sides of the tissue paper so that the image would transfer onto the wood.

The last part of the painting was adding the white dots of the Monarch’s wings. Once that was done, the piece was ready for some sparkle. Using Aleene’s Tacky Glue, I applied a thick layer of the glue all over the front of the piece. The glue goes on white, but once it is ready it will appear translucent. It takes about one to two hours for the glue to settle. Then it’s time to add some sparkle!

Don’t worry, it will dry translucent, I promise!

To apply the Diamond Dotz, I used what they call an embroidery pen.  To help pick up the gems, I also recommend purchasing wax pads or pots.  Simply dip the embroidery pen into the wax and then you’re ready to go.  Whenever I want to add Diamond Dotz to a project I’m painting, I always go to the craft store (I prefer JoAnn Fabrics because I find they have a great variety of gem colors) and pick the paint out first and then head over to the display of Diamond Dotz.  This is the best way I have found to match the gems with the paint.

I love Diamond Dotz.  It’s such an easy and fun way to add some sparkle to a painting project.  And if you’ve seen my other crafts, I love sparkle.  The great thing about the tacky glue is that if you place a gem incorrectly, you can pry it off and try again.  Since I drew the pattern of the wings free-hand, I found I had to fix a few gems so they looked just right.  With such a small project, I was able to get all the gems on in one afternoon while watching football.

We all must find what brings us joy in life. For me, my joy is in crafting and writing. The world is a tough place to be right now, but if you know what brings you happiness, try to find time to do it, even if it’s for just a few minutes a day. And definitely don’t let anyone take your passion away. Happy crafting!

Safe travels, Henrietta!

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