Crafting Origami Butterflies: 20 Easy Steps

Origami, the art of folding paper into intricate and beautiful designs, has captivated the hearts of craft enthusiasts for generations. Among the myriad of origami creations, the origami butterfly stands out as a symbol of grace and transformation. In this guide, we'll take you through 20 simple and enjoyable steps to create your own origami butterfly masterpiece. Whether you're a novice or an experienced origami enthusiast, these step-by-step instructions will help you craft elegant paper butterflies that can adorn your handmade cards, scrapbook pages, or simply add a touch of beauty to your space.

video courtesy of Red Ted Art

Materials You'll Need

Before we delve into the world of origami butterflies, gather the following materials:

  1. Origami paper (colored, patterned, or plain)
  2. A flat surface to fold on
  3. Patience and enthusiasm

Choose Your Origami Paper

To create an origami butterfly, start by selecting your desired origami paper. Traditional origami paper comes in various sizes and patterns, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your project. You can also use unique options like washi paper, scrapbook paper, or even old book pages for a creative twist.

Once you have your desired origami paper, let's start crafting your butterfly. If your paper is not already square, make sure to cut it into a perfect square before beginning. The size of the square will determine the size of your butterfly, so consider where you plan to display your finished piece. To start, place the square with the color or pattern you want for your butterfly facing down. The white or plain side should be facing up. Ensure the workspace is clean and flat to allow for precision in your folds. Remember, origami is a delicate art form, each fold matters.

Prepare a Square Piece

If you're using rectangular origami paper, fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle. Make sure the edges align precisely and then trim off the excess paper. Unfold the triangle to reveal a perfect square – the ideal foundation for your origami butterfly.

Now that you have prepared your square piece of paper, we will embark on the first few folds. Fold your square paper diagonally, aligning the edges perfectly to form a triangle. Make sure the fold is crisp - you can do this by running a ruler or a blunt-edged tool along the fold. Then, unfold the triangle back into a square. You should have a crease running diagonally across. Repeat the process for the other two corners. When you unfold the paper, you will have two intersecting lines forming an 'X'. These creases will guide the subsequent steps as you venture deeper into the world of origami butterflies.

Basic Origami Folds

Origami is all about mastering a few basic folds that serve as building blocks for more complex creations. The valley fold and mountain fold are two fundamental techniques. A valley fold creates a "V" shape with the paper, while a mountain fold forms an "A" shape. Mastering these folds will be invaluable throughout your origami journey.

To create the butterfly body, start by folding the square paper in half vertically, so it forms a rectangle. Then, fold it again in half horizontally. When you unfold it, you will have a smaller square divided into four smaller squares by the creases. Now, fold the paper diagonally as you did in the previous steps. When you unfold it, you will have a creased square, divided into eight smaller triangles. These intricate folds will form the basis of your butterfly's body, preparing you for the next stage of the transformation - creating the butterfly's wings.

Make an Easy Origami Butterfly

Now, let's dive into creating an easy origami butterfly. Begin by folding the square paper in half horizontally and then unfold it. Next, fold the paper in half vertically and unfold it again. These creases will serve as guides for the upcoming folds.

Take the upper left corner and fold it diagonally to the center point, aligning with the crease line. Repeat this step for the remaining three corners. When done correctly, you will have an even smaller square with the folded corners meeting at the center. Make sure that all your folds are sharp and precise. Now, flip your paper so that the folded corners are underneath. This forms the basic structure of your origami butterfly. Next, fold the square in half (bringing the lower point up to the top point), creating a triangle. This forms the body of your butterfly, and the next folds will create its wings.

Fold the Top Edges

Bring the top edges of the square down to the center crease, creating a triangle shape at the top. This fold will form the butterfly's wings.

To create the top set of wings, take the upper layer of both sides of the triangle and fold them upward. Make sure these folds align with the center crease and the edges of these folds meet at the top point. This forms the top set of wings for your butterfly. Make your folds crisp and sharp for smooth wings. You should now have a structure that resembles an 'X'.

Fold the Left and Right Sides

Fold the left and right sides of the triangle in towards the center, aligning them with the creases created in the previous step. This fold forms the body of the butterfly.

Creating the lower set of wings requires a similar process. Take the lower layers of both sides of the triangle and fold them upward, aligning with the center crease. Ensure the edges of these folds meet at the bottom point. This forms the lower set of wings for your butterfly. Remember to make the folds crisp and sharp so that the wings hold their shape well. You now have a structure that resembles a butterfly. The final step in crafting your butterfly is to create its body.

Create the Butterfly's Body

Fold the top point of the triangle down, slightly below the bottom edge of the folded wings. This fold will create the butterfly's body.

To form the body of the butterfly, start by folding the top point of the triangle downwards, stopping just below the edge of the lower set of wings. This step gives a distinct shape to your butterfly's body. Now, turn your paper around and fold the lower point upwards, crossing over the body we just created. This forms the head of the butterfly. For the final touch, fold the head downwards again, creating a small crease that distinguishes the head from the body. Voila! You now have a completed origami butterfly. Practice these steps regularly, and soon you will be able to create a swarm of colorful origami butterflies with ease.

Unfold the Wings

Gently unfold the wings of the origami butterfly, revealing the delicate shape taking form. You'll notice the symmetry and elegance emerging as you unfold.

Now that you have mastered the art of creating an origami butterfly, you can experiment with different sizes and colors of paper to add variety to your swarm of butterflies. You can also try adding embellishments such as glitter or small beads to bring out the beauty of your creations. These origami butterflies can be used as decorative elements for your home, gifts, or even as part of a DIY project. Remember, the key to perfecting origami is practice and precision. So continue folding, and soon you'll have a plethora of these magnificent creatures fluttering around your space.

Add Details to the Wings

To add a touch of realism to your butterfly, make small mountain folds along the edges of the wings. These folds mimic the delicate texture found on the wings of real butterflies.

Origami butterflies make excellent props for parties, photography, and room décor. They can be hung from the ceiling, placed on walls, or even used as centerpieces for your table settings. They also make lovely gifts, especially when crafted from beautiful scrapbook paper or pages from old books. The possibilities are endless, and the best part is that they can be made with simple materials and a little time. Just let your creativity soar as high as your new origami butterflies.

Flip and Fold

Flip the paper over and fold the top right corner towards the center, creating a diagonal fold that aligns with the center crease. Repeat this step on the other side.

Unleash your imagination by experimenting with different types of folds and techniques. Try creating butterflies of different shapes and sizes, or even combine them to create a captivating wall mural. You could also involve your kids or friends in your origami sessions, making it a fun and interactive activity. Remember, origami is not just about the end result, but also about the joy and mindfulness of the folding process. Happy folding!

Fold the Bottom Edge

Fold the bottom edge of the paper up, creating a slight fold that forms the butterfly's tail.

Origami, with its precise folds and intricate designs, not only serves as an enjoyable hobby but also as a tool for enhancing focus and concentration. Whether you are crafting a delicate butterfly or any other intricate model, the process necessitates patience and meticulous attention to detail. This, in turn, can help in developing fine motor skills and promoting a sense of calm. Moreover, origami is an activity that transcends age — making it a perfect pastime for both children and adults alike. From improving spatial thinking to fostering creativity, the benefits of origami extend far beyond the aesthetic appeal of the finished product.

Shape the Wings

Gently shape the wings by curving them upwards, giving your origami butterfly a lifelike appearance.

Origami also serves as a wonderful medium for facilitating communication and bonding. Making origami butterflies together can be a fun-filled activity for family gatherings or friendly get-togethers. It encourages teamwork, as individuals can learn from each other, exchange ideas, and assist in perfecting the folds. Furthermore, the versatility of these butterflies allows for infinite customization. They can be made more elaborate with the addition of patterns, colors, or even by incorporating messages or wishes on the wings. Charming and inspiring, origami butterflies truly embody the magic of transformation and the beauty of nature's designs.

Learn How to Make Origami Butterflies from Video Tutorials

If visual learning is more your style, there are numerous video tutorials available online that guide you through each step of creating origami butterflies. Watching an expert's hands at work can provide valuable insights and make the process even more enjoyable.

Start exploring the world of origami butterflies today and experience the joy of seeing a piece of paper transform into a work of art. You will soon find that the process is not just about creating something beautiful, but it's also a way to express yourself, to relax, and even to connect with others. So why wait? Grab some paper, and start your origami journey now. You might just find that it's the creative outlet you've been looking for.

Create Multiple Origami Butterflies

Once you've mastered the basic origami butterfly, don't stop there! Experiment with different sizes, colors, and patterns to craft a stunning collection of origami butterflies for various projects.

Whether it's a community art project, a school assignment, or a simple home decoration, these origami butterflies can add a touch of whimsy to any setting. Consider crafting a large origami butterfly to use as a standalone piece, or create a series of smaller ones to form an impressive display. The intricacies of each fold, the vibrancy of the colors, and the uniqueness of each design will certainly catch the eye and spark conversations. The art of origami is an amazing way to bring beauty, creativity, and imagination to life.

Incorporate Origami Butterflies into Your Crafts

Origami butterflies can be used to enhance a wide range of crafts. Add them to handmade cards, scrapbook pages, or even frame them as standalone pieces of art.

Integrating origami butterflies into your DIY projects not only adds a unique, personal touch but also brings an element of 3D artistry to your work. For example, you could create a charming mobile for a child's room, a festive garland for a party, or even integrate them into your floral arrangements. The butterflies, with their vivid hues and intricate folds, can even be used to accentuate gift packages, making your presents even more special. Remember, the beauty of origami lies in its flexibility – there are no boundaries to what you can create. So go ahead, embrace the art of paper folding, and let origami butterflies bring a flutter of creativity and joy to your crafting adventures.

Make Larger Butterflies

If you're feeling ambitious, try using larger squares of origami paper to create bigger butterflies. The process remains the same, but the resulting butterflies will have a more striking presence.

Larger origami butterflies are excellent for creating impactful displays and can be a unique addition to events like weddings or parties. They can be hung from the ceiling, or even used as a creative centerpiece. These bigger butterflies, with their grandeur and intricacy, can also serve as an engaging educational tool for children, making them understand the nuances of symmetry, geometry, and fine motor control. So, don't hold back! Explore the joy of making larger origami butterflies and let them flutter their way into your crafts, decor, and learning experiences.

Make Smaller Butterflies

On the other hand, if you're looking to create dainty origami butterflies, start with smaller squares of origami paper. The intricate folds will result in a charming and delicate paper butterfly.

These miniature origami butterflies can be used in a variety of ways to add a touch of elegance to your creations. You can use them to embellish greeting cards, jewelry, hair accessories, or even create a delicate butterfly-themed bookmark. Despite their small size, these tiny butterflies can make a big impact on your craft projects. Furthermore, they can be a fun and challenging task for seasoned origami enthusiasts looking to hone their skills further. Indeed, the world of small scale origami offers a delightful journey of precision and intricacy, adding a magical charm to your everyday crafts.

Origami Butterfly Crafts for Younger Kids

Origami butterfly crafts can be a fantastic activity for younger kids to enjoy. Simplify the steps and provide larger squares of origami paper for an age-appropriate and enjoyable crafting experience.

Children, with their innate curiosity and creativity, can derive immense joy and learning from the process of making origami butterflies. As they fold the paper, matching corners and edges, they engage in hands-on learning of basic geometry, symmetry and precision. The activity also helps in enhancing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Above all, the joy of witnessing a simple piece of paper magically transform into a beautiful butterfly can instill a sense of achievement and boost their self-confidence. So, it's time to unfold the fun, creativity, and learning with origami butterfly crafts for your little ones. Get started today!

Origami Butterfly Crafts for Older Kids

For older kids, challenge their folding skills by introducing them to more intricate origami butterfly designs. This can be a rewarding and engaging project that fosters creativity and patience.

Origami offers older children a unique blend of art and geometry, requiring both precision and creativity. As they navigate through the intricate folds and patterns, they not only enhance their fine motor skills but also develop a keen attention to detail and patience. The process can be both relaxing and enriching, proving to be a perfect blend of mindfulness and cognitive exercise. It even fosters problem-solving and spatial reasoning skills as they interpret the instructions and envision the steps in their mind. Furthermore, experimenting with different origami butterfly designs enables them to express their creativity and individuality, making each creation truly unique. Indeed, the world of origami butterflies can provide a captivating artistic journey for older kids, opening doors to endless creativity, learning, and fun.

Hang Your Origami Butterflies

Once you've created a collection of origami butterflies, consider hanging them from strings or threads to create a captivating decoration for your room. Their delicate forms and vibrant colors will bring a touch of nature indoors.

Hanging origami butterflies can create a dreamy and whimsical ambiance. You can create a stunning origami butterfly chandelier, or string them across your windows to create a fluttering curtain. The graceful movement of these paper butterflies, when caught in a gentle breeze, can be truly mesmerising. You can also attach them to a ring to create a vibrant mobile for a nursery room. The beautiful play of light and shadow, as they turn and twist, will make the space come alive. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination. So go ahead, and let these origami butterflies take flight in your home, adding a dash of magic and charm to your décor.


Origami butterflies are a testament to the beauty that can be achieved through the simple act of folding paper. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced origami enthusiast, creating these delicate creatures can be a deeply satisfying experience. With each fold and crease, you'll find yourself immersed in the art of origami, transforming a humble square piece of paper into a stunning work of craft. So gather your materials, follow the step-by-step instructions, and enjoy making your own origami butterflies – a timeless craft that captures the essence of elegance and transformation.

Annabel Buser