How to Make a Butterfly Costume

Three Parts:Making the SuitMaking WingsMaking Antennae

A butterfly costume can be both flashy and practical. You can make the costume to fit almost any weather. Using these guidelines, you can make durable butterfly wings that can be worn comfortably and used again and again.

Part 1
Making the Suit

  1. 1
    Look for types of butterflies in a book at the library or on an Internet search engine. Type in “butterfly” and click on the “Images” tab to see a wide-variety of butterfly color combinations.
  2. 2
    Choose a type of butterfly with colors that you want to emulate. You can also choose any colors you like and make a customized butterfly design.
  3. 3
    Look at the main color in the wings. That will be the color of your costume. Common colors include brown, tan, black and blue.
  4. 4
    Assess what the weather will be like when you wear the costume. If it is for Halloween, you may want to find a sweat suit in the color of the body. If it is spring, opt for a pair of tights and a ballet leotard in matching colors.

Part 2
Making Wings

  1. 1
    Purchase one yard (0.9m) of polyurethane foam. Buy one and a half yards (1.4m) of felt in the background color of your costume.
  2. 2
    Buy additional colors of felt in the colors you would like to use for wing accents. You need 1/4 yard (0.2m) of the largest accent color and eight by 10 inches (20.3 to 25.4cm) of two or three other colors.
  3. 3
    Print out the wing template.[1] You can also hand draw your wings.
  4. 4
    Trace the wing template onto your main felt color with a fabric pen or chalk. Flip the wing in the center, like it is a mirror image. Continue tracing your outline, without tracing a line in the middle.
    • Repeat, tracing another symmetrical wing in the same color of felt. You will use these two pieces as the front and back of your wing.
  5. 5
    Trace two wing shapes into the polyurethane foam. The foam will make the wings stiff when you wear them. Trace half of the wing, flip it over in the center and trace the other half, just as you did with the felt.
  6. 6
    Cut out the wing shapes in the felt and the foam. Cut down the center of one piece of foam and one piece of felt. This is how you will turn the wings right side out after you are done sewing them.
  7. 7
    Cut out smaller butterfly markings from the template. Trace them onto different colors of felt. Remember that you will need four sets of markings in the same colors, so that the butterfly wings look symmetrical.
  8. 8
    Pin one set of markings on one large piece of felt. Pin the other set on the other piece of felt. Topstitch the markings to the felt wing with your sewing machine or a needle and thread.
  9. 9
    Stack the wings as follows: whole polyurethane wing, whole decorated felt wing (face up), cut decorated felt wing, face down, cut polyurethane wing. Pin them together at the edges.
  10. 10
    Sew around the perimeter with needle and thread or a sewing machine. Make sure you use thread that matches your main felt color. Turn the wings inside out.
    • Sew the center section together by hand or with a sewing machine.
  11. 11
    Attach elastic straps vertically near the center section of the wing. They will fit around your armpits. Each strap should be 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38cm) long, depending upon the size of the person wearing the wings.[2]

Part 3
Making Antennae

  1. 1
    Buy a headband and pipe cleaners in colors matching your costume.
  2. 2
    Wrap pipe cleaners around the top of the headband. Curl them by wrapping them around your finger.
  3. 3
    Attach pom poms to the ends of the pipe cleaners with craft glue.


  • You can make wings out of clothes hangers and nylons. Stretch four clothes hangers into the four sections of the wing. Connect them in the center with wire. Stretch matching nylons over each section. Then, glue felt pieces onto the nylons. Wrap with elastic straps and sew them to the center section of the wings.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweat suit/leotard and tights
  • 1 (0.9m) polyurethane foam
  • 1 1/2 (1.4m) yards colored felt
  • 1 yard (0.9m) of felt in different colors
  • Scissors
  • Printer
  • Butterfly wing template
  • Chalk/fabric pen
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Pins
  • Elastic
  • Headband
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms
  • Craft glue

Article Info

Categories: Costumes | Animal Costumes