Friday, September 16, 2011

B is for Butterfly - Monoprint Monarchs

I got this fabulous idea for making butterflies with folded paper monoprints from Art Project Girl.
It was SO easy. I used these microwave dishes (below) for paint - orange in one side, yellow in the other. (This dish is partially washed. My 4th and 5th graders love to wash dishes during lunchtime or during aftercare.)
The kids started painting a "B" on the right side of their papers with yellow, then filling it in and painting it again with some orange (same fat brush), folding and printing after each time they added paint. The yellow just really brightened up the orange and the kids loved it. After that, they used a smaller brush and some slightly watered down black tempera (in another dish), and they retraced the "B" and added designs, printing again after each addition. We (obviously) reinforced the meaning of the word "symmetry", which is currently on my Vocabulary board.
The kids will cut the butterflies out in their next art class and I think we'll be sponge-painting skies to glue them on, so they can fly to their valley in Mexico. Maybe we'll give them some branches to rest on, too. This lesson was/is particularly timely, because the 1st graders are currently learning about monarchs in their classrooms and are waiting to see a chrysalis hatch. Next week they will be going on a field trip to the Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center to visit the butterfly garden.

Interestingly enough, the kids told me that the butterflies should have white spots on them and I said no. But I just looked at monarch pics and they kids were (of course) right; there are white spots on the black on the wings. So I think we'll take a Q-tip and paint some white spots when we glue them on the skies. And the kids want to add eyes, too, so it may have to be wiggle eyes. I hope the wiggle eyes don't ruin the look.

Thanks, Erica, for a terrific lesson.


  1. Sometimes the simplest projects render the best results. Love these butterflies! I'm going to have to "pin" this lesson Phyl. Thanks!

  2. Love the student results so far. It sounds like you have a fine plan for the finishing touches. I love monarchs!

  3. I LOVE that your 1st grader knew and remembered about the white spots. Not surprising that they would be right there with that little detail to share with you!!

  4. I feel super honored to have a lesson featured on Dragon! So glad you like it Phyl. And glad the kids did too:)

    They are great.

    Whenever I do this folded monoprint concept in the beginning of the year I find the first graders folding their paper all year long! Lost in translation I guess. So that's the only reason I wait until the spring.

  5. Phyl,

    Love the butterflies! Am so bummed that I was forced to discard all of my microwave dishes during the"Great Storage Room Purge of 2011" by my !#*#!%!principal.........

  6. I feel for you, Pat. I don't think my principal has EVER been in my storage room and I think she's actually only been in my room once, ever, for an observation. I think my room and I scare her. Anyhow I have zillions of those dishes, all shapes and sizes, and I use them for paint-mixing palettes, for paint especially if we are sponge-painting, for gesso, for sorting, for a "boat" to transport small clay projects, and so so so much more. (A sweet bus driver in our school brings me bags full of them - she must eat one Lean Cuisine every day!) When they get nasty I toss them without a moment of guilt, especially since I know more will be coming. How about I mail you some when your principal's back is turned? (Ha Ha)

  7. Cool! I just had a monarch chrysalis at school. It hatched, Kinders named her "Dotty", and I released her after school!

  8. Love this idea! I'll be trying it soon!! Thanks!