Maple Seed Butterfly Art

I had been planning on making some art work using a bunch of helicopters (a.k.a. maple seeds) I had gathered and I knew a butterfly would be the perfect subject.
I picked up an old window at the flea market for $10. I decided on a coral color scheme and created an ombre effect by mixing the paint myself.
I love the way the helicopters look in their natural dried state, so I chose to leave them that way for the outer and inner borders of the butterfly.
Now for the how to's. To create your own maple seed butterfly art you'll need:
1) Maple Seeds (a.k.a. helicopters)
2) Old Window or Framed Glass
3) Craft Paints
4) Glue (I used E-6000)
Spring and fall are the best times to gather maple seeds. After you collect them you'll want to allow them to dry out. You can accelerate the drying process by laying them out in a single layer in a window sill. After a few days they will fade to the desired color.
Decide on a color scheme and buy or mix your paint. If an ombre effect is desired you can start with the darkest paint as your base and then mix in white or cream to lighten the formula each time you paint a new layer.
Draw or print out an outline of a butterfly sized to fit the frame you are using.
Place the drawing beneath the glass, centered within your frame. Begin gluing the helicopters around the outer edge, following the general shape of the outline as shown.
Once you have finished the outline you are ready to start on the second layer.
Glue the second layer, overlapping the first layer and covering the seed pod.
Continue gluing each consecutive layer in the same manner until your butterfly is complete.
Thank you so much for stopping in! Happy creating!

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Tarnished Royalty

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Judi B
    Judi B
    on Nov 24, 2015

    How long did this take to make? What kind of paint did you use?

  • Lori Nordine
    Lori Nordine
    on Aug 7, 2016

    Durability..I am in the process of creating a butterfly the colors you used and this just happens to be one of the colors of my new granddaughter's nursery! I decided instead to put mine in a shadow box. What I'm wondering about is the durability...did you happen to use anything like hairspray to aid in protecting the fragileness of the seeds? Maybe the paint helped also?

    • Tarnished Royalty
      Tarnished Royalty
      on Aug 29, 2016

      Hi Lori, I didn't use any kind of sealer but it probably wouldn't hurt to spray them before gluing them on. The paint definitely helps give them more substance. Happy creating!

  • Kelli
    on Apr 26, 2020

    Do you let flowers dry out completely before you paint them?

Join the conversation

2 of 116 comments
  • CG
    on Dec 8, 2016

    Kim I definitely am interested. Please tell me what you want for them. I want a big amount. gloria

  • Shelly Moore
    Shelly Moore
    on Oct 30, 2020

    Love this Soooo Much!!! I have always called them helicopter seeds too. 😊 I gotta go for a walk now ( with a small bag or two to fill)...... 😉

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